Anti-war march tomorrow


by Sunny
23rd September, 2005 at 1:19 am    

Just in case you don’t know, Stop the War coalition is organising an anti-war march tomorrow, Saturday, 24th Sept, in Hyde Park. Speakers will include Tony Benn (yay!), John Pilger (hmmm…), MCB and MAB speakers (damn!), one Palestinian (wtf!), Gate Gourmet works (eh??) and Bianca Jagger (ok that’s taking the piss). No George Galloway thankfully. Have had too much of him already.

The bigger question is – is there a point? Is the withdrawal of troops a good idea? Yes, the the war was the stupidest decision ever made by Blair, but do we really want people like Al-Zaraqawi taking over or at least trying to? I don’t doubt for a second that the Al-Qaeda honchos there are creating mischief and killing innocent Iraqis to cause chaos and grab some power. I can’t see a better solution than training and aiming the Iraqi police force, and then leaving them.


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  1. Chris — on 23rd September, 2005 at 8:32 am  

    Great parenthetic comments — is this a line-up tailor-made to win over the doubters??1

  2. Chris — on 23rd September, 2005 at 8:33 am  

    Oh yeah…any Irqai speakers at all???

  3. bagrec — on 23rd September, 2005 at 8:58 am  

    Galloway?
    I’m sure they’d have if they could, but he’s still selling his books in America.

  4. krazie — on 23rd September, 2005 at 10:37 am  

    No Galloway?!?!?

    Wonder whats going on there? Any Respect drones out there who would like to comment?

  5. Chris — on 23rd September, 2005 at 11:29 am  

    (Not a Respect drone replies) – he is in US pushing book as bagrec said. On major talk show tonight with Hitchens
    http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/

  6. rizwand — on 23rd September, 2005 at 11:36 am  

    what? the stop the war coalition say recent events show how “urgent the need is to pull the troops out.”

    I am totally against this. …surely it would make things worse.

    Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator but he was a stabilising force. The West can’t simply get rid of him, pull out, and wish them well on the road to democratic paradise. I know the conflict is really bad over there, but what did everyone expect? If we pull out now, an untold number of innocent people will die. We made a mess, its our responsibility to fix it.

    As for training the Iraq police/army they are a shambles. Surely, it will be years before they can pack a real punch.

  7. leon — on 23rd September, 2005 at 12:13 pm  

    “I can’t see a better solution than training and aiming the Iraqi police force, and then leaving them.”

    I can, the UN; hand over Iraq to the UN, make it a UN protectorate (with key Iraqi people, not exiled types returning to make money, overseeing it at the UN) with a plan involving all the various ethnic/religious groups to build their country.

    Seize control of all business’ stolen by US corporations (oil being the main one also revoke any reconstruction contracts), set them up as a trust fund that can sell oil etc and use the money to rebuild the country (yeah idealistically the US/UK should pay every penny for bombing the country but there you go).

    Have UK/US troops replaced by blue capped UN peacekeepers (I’ve seen proposals which state, sensibly, that these troops should be drawn at least in part from Arab countries so you don’t have the sense of an occupying force of white faced soldiers).

    Via the UN oversee the training of the countries police and emergency services etc. Set all this out clearly with a realistic time frame and I reckon the Iraqi people would go for it; we get our troops home, we stop spending our money, terrorism threat drops because of the link to foreign policy is eroded and international law is re-asserted (a very important point I think).

    I know the UN isn’t perfect, I know my view isn’t a detailed plan (and is probably woefully idealistic and naive!) but I rarely see anything like it mentioned in mainstream opinion when Iraq and what to do about it is talked about…

  8. Sunny — on 23rd September, 2005 at 12:36 pm  

    Ok, well I guess that would be better. I do however think the UN can sometimes be enveloped in bureaucracy and, in this case, would not be able to deal with the huge amounts of chaos and terrorist attacks. Having forces from many diff countries means it might become a logistical nightmare to coordinate.

  9. Siddhartha — on 23rd September, 2005 at 1:10 pm  

    Leon, this ‘woefully idealistic and naive’ plan is probably what all the players wished they had embarked on 3 years ago. Beats kicking shit out of the civillian population and then dividing them up on spurious ethnic and religious boundaries to create 3 vassal states, which has always been the US/NeoCon plan.

    Tea and cakewalk anyone?

  10. rizwand — on 23rd September, 2005 at 1:14 pm  

    The UN has succeeded in many places, but I don’t think its right for them to step in and take over. It creates what economists call a ‘free-rider’ problem. That is to say the US can go round starting wars willy nilly, in the knowledge that the UN will be around to clear up the mess.

    Also, if the UN took over, the whole Iraq issue would likely fall off the media radar a lot quicker than if US/UK soldiers were stationed out there. We would forget what we did in Iraq that much sooner…not good.

  11. MCB Watch — on 23rd September, 2005 at 1:40 pm  

    You’re right about “damn” when it comes to the MCB. They are (a) radical, not moderate; (b) have yet to acknowledge that the present problem in Iraq is Muslim-on-Muslim violence. Now Western actions may have caused this mess, but now we’re in it, to continue speaking of Zaraqawi’s mob as “insurgents” or such like is blatant nonsense. Muslims are dying in Iraq at the hand of other, so called “Muslims”.

    http://mcbwatch.blogspot.com/

  12. Siddhartha — on 23rd September, 2005 at 1:59 pm  

    Rizwand: so given the UN has the best apparatus in place for mobilising large-scale humanitraian efforts, you are willing to forego that on the basis of keeping letting the siutaion get worse in order to keep bad news about Iraq in the public consciousness and point-scoring? I thought I was cynical.

  13. leon — on 23rd September, 2005 at 2:14 pm  

    “Ok, well I guess that would be better. I do however think the UN can sometimes be enveloped in bureaucracy and, in this case, would not be able to deal with the huge amounts of chaos and terrorist attacks. Having forces from many diff countries means it might become a logistical nightmare to coordinate.”

    Maybe, i’m not sure how well it’s going but the Kosovo is under UN auspices (I think Lord Ashdown is overseeing for the UN) and it seems to be workable there…

  14. Sunny — on 23rd September, 2005 at 2:55 pm  

    Siddhartha, what gives the impression the UN would be any better at controlling the violence and providing services in Iraq than the USA?

    And who would pay for it? Right now the USA pays for all this because they started it… most developed countries pay pitifully small contributions to the UN… I’m not convinced it will be able to do everything because then it might be hampered by budgetary and logistical constraints.

  15. rizwand — on 23rd September, 2005 at 2:58 pm  

    Siddhartha, thanks for the perspective…I think I have grown super cynical on this issue.

    Still, and I know it can’t be readily quantified, the ‘free rider’ risk may outweigh present humanitarian savings? Also, if the UN were to take a dominant role, I’d expect their resources to be increased pound for pound by the US/UK etc…otherwise you are diverting resources from other life-saving causes.

  16. Siddhartha — on 23rd September, 2005 at 4:32 pm  

    Sunny: The US have so far provided for little or no humanitarian arrangements in Iraq. Their forces are well known to be arrogant, insensitive to local cultures and just plain stupid. How they ever factored in winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis I will never know. As for the Brits, they are considered to be miles ahead of the US at managing local sympathies. But you and I both know that the Brits have a history of pushing wogs around. But given the breakdown of relations between the British forces and the Basra authorities and the local populace, the Brits are going to have hold off on the celebratory noises. So, the old cliché of violence begets violence has never been truer than in Iraq right now.

    Given this status quo, the UNDP have thousands of extremely capable policy makers, strategists and wonks that they have in their employ or acting in the capacity of agencies who are not white (yes that is important), are highly experienced and are career nation-builders. Why can’t these people be brought in to aid Iraq? Instead we have the mercenaries, private sector cowboys and irresponsible corporates out to slice up the lucrative Oil industry that the US have couriered in express.

    As for who is going to pay for it? Well the US and UK will, of course. And they have to start with the two billion dollars that disappeared in Paul Bremer’s watch.

  17. leon — on 23rd September, 2005 at 4:37 pm  

    “And who would pay for it? ”

    As I said, all business (oil being the big one) in Iraq would be siezed and turned into trust funds (overseen by the UN) and the money used to pay for the reconstruction…

  18. Siddhartha — on 23rd September, 2005 at 4:57 pm  

    Sorry, that Paul Bremer and the missing billions link should go here.

  19. inders — on 23rd September, 2005 at 6:43 pm  

    bush told me that the war was over…… ?

  20. leon — on 23rd September, 2005 at 8:11 pm  

    In some ways it’s only just begun.

  21. Sunny — on 23rd September, 2005 at 8:34 pm  

    Hmmm… you may have a point Siddhartha, but then so does Rizwan… Doiesn’t look like the Stop the War coalition is pushing for that though. I can’t really go to a march asking for troops to be pulled out without a back-up plan.

  22. leon — on 23rd September, 2005 at 11:58 pm  

    “I can’t really go to a march asking for troops to be pulled out without a back-up plan.”

    Agree totally, it’s one of the reasons why I wont be going tomorrow. The STWC have really missed an opportunity by not argueing for an alternative to UK/US occupation…

  23. Kulvinder — on 24th September, 2005 at 5:52 am  

    bush told me that the war was over…… ?

    quoted for truth.

  24. Siddhartha — on 24th September, 2005 at 11:28 am  

    Its not just about Iraq, you know. Judging from how the GulfWar2 has gone, I will be marching to protest against the upcoming fuck up of the best laid plans to Invade Iran.

    That and wander around Central London with my kid, learning about democracy, and meet for a few jars with old and new friends. ;-)

  25. leon — on 25th September, 2005 at 1:01 am  

    So, did anyone go? What was it like? I’ve heard the SWP/STWC claim there were 100,000 even though everyone I know that went said there were far far less than that!

  26. StrangelyPsychedelic — on 26th September, 2005 at 3:11 pm  

    The march was interesting – I spent most of my time with my uni Steel band. I doubt the 100,000 claim.
    The numbers that congregated at Hyde Park for the speeches couldnt have topped more than a few thousand. As for the march itself , maybe even around 50k.

    Its good to see the antiwar movement not letting up on the pressure although its quite amusing to see how many other causes have ‘hijacked’ the occassion for trumping their causes. No harm I suppose although it can get a little silly. Im going to front the campaign to “Keep Pluto as a Planet” next year…I mean what the heck…!

  27. Sunny — on 26th September, 2005 at 4:14 pm  

    I’m considering carrying a banner demanding that Goodness Gracious Me return for another series.

  28. Beryl Reid — on 29th September, 2005 at 12:23 am  

    No Kurdish speakers then?

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