At OpenDemocracy there's a response by Eli Lake to Sasha Abramsky's piece that I linked to recently. Lake begins by recalling statements from certain well-known figures, like John Pilger, George Galloway and Arundhati Roy, in support of the Iraqi so-called resistance, and then goes on to make some more general points:
For progressives to rejoin the serious discussion about this big war, they must return to their paleo-liberal roots. There was a time when the left chose to defend democrats abroad out of the conviction that the freedoms they enjoyed applied universally. Today the prevailing wisdom is that these fights are worth fighting only if approved by the United Nations Security Council. It's time to abandon this multilateral fetish and return to the robust vision of the international volunteers who defended the Spanish Republic against General Franco. Imagine what George Orwell would say if someone questioned his Homage to Catalonia because the League of Nations in 1937 issued a ban on volunteer partisans.That's one view (via Tooting Station). Here's another, from the lead editorial in today's Guardian:
Progressives cannot remain neutral in the war for Iraq. While it is true that the coalition and its allied militias have committed atrocities, it is also true that the caliphate-ists and the fascists seek perpetual atrocity. One side is fighting for elections, a constitution (however flawed) and federalism. The other side is fighting for the obliteration of those things. The choice is between (Jalal) Talabani and the Taliban – and Talabani is losing. This makes it all the more urgent for paleo-progressives to seek the unconditional surrender of this vile insurgency on whose behalf Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Tariq Ali, George Galloway have spent the war agitating.
People who opposed the war in Iraq will find it hard to stomach attempts to present the referendum as a triumph. If the vote does any good, it will be more by good luck and war weariness than good planning. Yet what matters is trying to ensure that something workable - and legitimate - emerges from under the bloodstained rubble. It is possible to see a benign outcome if violence can be contained - admittedly a very big if - and if there is a big turnout in December's elections. That could see the start of something approaching normal democratic politics for a country that has been cruelly torn apart by the way its dictator was overthrown. Today's ballots offer some hope that the bombings may eventually end.Four observations on this. (1) What 'people who opposed the war in Iraq' might find hard or easy to stomach isn't of great moment, when you think about it, in the context of the future of Iraq and its people. (2) One could hope that the result of today's referendum might be, even if less than a triumph, an achievement; and that would be rather good in the circumstances. (3) The phrase 'cruelly torn apart by the way its dictator was overthrown' invites the thought of how cruelly the country referred to was held together by the dictator referred to, and also the thought that an alternative way of overthrowing him was not on offer in early 2003, only more cruel 'holding together' - as would have been the result if the view of those who opposed the war, including the Guardian, had prevailed. (4) The paragraph as a whole is a nice illustration of the anti-war system of accounting, which some of us who favoured the liberation of Iraq find hard to stomach (once stomachs is what you're talking): everything bad that has happened since the war is a result of the war; anything good that has happened is... why, something else entirely. But there are people who are capable of seeing the trick here, of seeing that the phrase 'the way its dictator was overthrown' includes the phrase 'its dictator was overthrown'.
[See now also my Iraqi referendum roundup.]