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to George Monbiot re: "Charter to Intervene"

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joe emersberger

Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: to George Monbiot re: "Charter to Intervene" Reply with quote,3604,1175545,00.html

Mr. Monbiot:

Your recent article,"A Charter to Intervene" made some good points but I disagree with some of it.

You wrote "to document the lies that led to the war and the dangers that arose from it is to answer only half the question. The other half - what should have been done instead? - still hangs above our heads. If we are not to be torn to bits by the hawks - as Harold Pinter was by Kenneth Adelman on Newsnight last week - then we have to provide an answer."

After writing this you discuss a hypothetical situation that clearly doesn't apply to Iraq.

I don't think this question "hangs over our heads". The answer to your question is obvious: End the sanctions that devastated the Iraqi people, halt the flow of arms to the Middle East (which accounts for 40% of the trade). After all, the top arms exporters in the world are the UK and the UK along with various other "civilized" countries. This wasn't tried, or even suggested outside the anti-war movement. Taking the survey's results at face value (I am more scptical than you about their validity but I agree they shouldn't be dismissed) I see no reason to believe that Iraqis would not be better off had these alternatives been tried.

It is striking that the survey you mentioned did not ask Iraqis about polices they might have preferred to foreign invasion to help them overthrow Saddam. Maybe Iraqis didn't believe they could work. Maybe they didn't think the West was civilized enough to try. Maybe both. The polsters should have asked.

But the extent to which people in Iraq, or Egypt or other oppressed nations believe they can take matters into their own hands depends on the success people have elsewhere. The demoralizing effect of imperial interventions in other countries must never be overlooked. When people around the world see Aristide deposed in Haiti, or Chavez nearly deposed in Venezuela, etc... it sends a clear message: "If your government doesn't obey us we will crush it." Preventing immoral interventions in places like Haiti decreases the likelihood that we will be faced with the need for humanitariam intervention. This is a point your article didn't address. I feel it is a very glaring omission.

In fact, the definition of an "immoral internvention" that undermines people's belief in their ability to defy elites should include the economic interventions led by the IMF, World Bank and WTO.


Joe Emersberger
Sat Mar 27, 2004 3:14 pm
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