Yesterday, I posted Max's review of Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast. As ever with Max, its a good, solid review, but I know that comments like, "unlike many in the antiwar movement, Palast ... has not staggered down the road of supporting any dictator or theocrat who is against the US" and "I and many people on the left supported the Iraq war because it was essentially the only way of getting rid of Saddam Hussein and giving Iraqis some hope in the first time in thirty-five years" will, understandably, be a red rag to some. I'll hold my tongue for now, but for those who wish RSB book reviews had their own dedicated comments facility, comment here!

Readers Comments

  1. Red rag indeed. He recommends the book because "everything Palast says is backed up by hard fact, source and interview" but doesn't bother to do it himself.

    Which dictator or theocrat does the "antiwar movement" support? How was that "support" manifested?

    Is it so shameful and unforgivable as the kind of support your reviewer expressed for the theocrat in the White House that enabled him to invade an impoverished nation and spark a conflagration that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people?

  2. The unaccountable leadership of the STWC has frequently, belying its true agenda, frequently issued declarations of solidarity with, inter alia, the Iraqi resistance (AKA the throat-slitters of train drivers and trade unionists), the Iranian regime and Kim Jong Il in North Korea (cf. George Galloway's surreal 'I am Spartacus' diatribe). Which is why the support of people like Will Self through to socialists like Mick Rix has gradually flaked away, leaving a rump of cynical and disasterous clapped-out hard leftists who are prepared to see North Koreans starve in the name of 'anti-imperialism'.

    I feel my own stance of being anti-war, anti-STWC for the past three years has largely been vindicated and I'm glad your reviewer has the nouse to see through the my enemy's enemy is my friend tactics of these 'solidarity' merchants. Though I recognise that if you're looking for a quick dig at the White House and its occupants, such a consistent and nuanced approach probably isn't going to work.

  3. For clarification: STWC is the UK anti-war organisation Stop the War Coalition --

  4. "Declarations of solidarity" are hardly physical manifestations of support for terror, which is what the starry-eyed freedom-loving democrats gave to Blair and Bush - i.e. our taxes have paid for mass murder. It's a shame people who claim to be against the invasion and occupation spend most of their time carping about futile declarations of solidarity and quick digs at war criminals. Consistent and nuanced my arse.

    BTW, the Iraqi resistance is much the same as the Afghan resistance of the 80s. They beheaded Soviet soldiers and participated in a destructive war, yet, as John Simpson recalled Margaret Thatcher spent an embarrassingly large proportion of a G-7 news conference in Venice attacking the BBC for calling the mujahideen 'the Afghan resistance' instead of 'freedom fighters' "

    Of course, it shouldn't have been so clear cut then. It shouldn't be now.

  5. Regardless of their actual effect, such declarations are sick in my view and speak volumes about the commitment to democracy and human rights on the part of those who make them. I don't see it as a black/white 'I don't like Bush so I better support the mullahs'. And naturally, Thatcher's foreign policy, albeit grounded in Cold War reality and containment, was to have consequences down the line.

    For the record though, while I didn't support the war, I did wholeheartedly support the ousting of Saddam Hussein and would also like the see all other dictatorships dismantled. As an internationalist there are no no-go areas for me and human rights take precedence over ideological point-scoring, regardless of who makes them.

  6. Jeez, Andrew, there is so much there that I disagree with that I can't (and won't) even begin to respond fully to it (not least the assumption that "democracy" and "human rights" aren't just ideologies -- and that referring to them as you have done isn't itself just point-scoring -- and ones, moreover, that are used to cloak countless abuses).

    Implying that anyone wanted to "keep" Saddam is absurd: the question is why that particular dictator was suddenly demonised and how/why his removal suddenly became so necessary an invasion was required.

  7. "Implying that anyone wanted to "keep" Saddam is absurd"

    Not as 'absurd' as you might think. I take it you're aware of George Galloway's numerous apologias for the regime and current campaign to demand the release of Tariq Aziz? Tony Benn also (both presidents of the STWC).

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