Wednesday, April 12, 2006

He can't help it

I nominate this Harry's Place posting for a special “blame everything anti-war commentators say on racism and naive determinism so we can pretend we're more progressive than them” prize.

Simon Jenkins, you see, ended his column today with the comment:

If ever there was a regime not to goad into seeking nuclear weapons it is Iran. Yet that is precisely what British and American policy is doing. It is completely nuts.

after making the point that “[e]very sabre rattle in Washington must be music to Ahmadinejad's ear”, because it threatened to “heighten nationalist fervour and increase hatred of the west”. This sentiment was paraphrased in a subheading that drew Harry's Place ire.

Marcus sees this as “patronising, infantalising [sic] guff” because it suggests, he claims, that “Muslims have no free will”.

How he reaches this conclusion is perhaps worth considering. He is apparently suggesting that Jenkins's analysis derives from a strange and unstated belief that, on account of being Muslim, Ahmadinejad et al. are incapable of independent action. Somehow Marcus feels able to discard out of hand the idea that Jenkins could simply be applying geopolitical logic, and instead leaps to his own peculiar conclusion.

The reason, of course, is that Harry's Place and other decentists frequently need to divorce cause from effect, because otherwise they might have to explain how, for example, Britain got safer after the Iraq invasion increased terrorist sympathies and activity. In the same way, they're now trying to defend the US's belligerent Iran policy. They also like to pretend that opposition to Western interventionism is racist, because that's one of the few ways they can lay claim to being on the left. Here we have a succinct combination of the two.


Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I found this blog surfing.

I used to be influenced by Hitchens. I figured later unfortunately, that the war he is and the and the pro-war left are talking about, is a different reality than Bush-Blair's war. They are even talking about how civil war is in the left's interest in Iraq.

I'm confused by the overt stupidity, of any Iran invasion.

If they really supported the Kurdish, wouldn't there be an immediate plebiscite to establish Southern Kurdistan.


6:43 pm  
Blogger StuartA said...

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10:58 am  
Blogger StuartA said...

It's an interesting point that you make. The pro-war "left" do seem to imagine something different from the reality in Iraq, and support that instead.

All the brutality and killing in Iraq now are cropped from the picture, because the invasion curtailed Saddam's brutality and killing. The invasion brought, or might bring, nominal democracy, so it's worth supporting, and any negative consequences are annulled by US righteousness, even though the reality for most Iraqis is simply more death and more suffering. This "leftist" commitment to a democratic Iraq is so powerful, it seems, that it overrides the Iraqi people's own desire for the foreign troops to leave.

In the same way, the terrorism, the casualties, the anti-Western feeling, that attacking Iran would cause -- that's apparently also not worth considering -- because supposedly a grand principle must be defended, whatever the actual outcome.

Iraq seems to be an abstract war, not related to actual lives, and judging from the propaganda noises so far they'll take the same approach with Iran.

As you point out, the West's bad faith is amply demonstrated by their attitude to the Kurds, now and in past decades. Yet that simply never figures in the decentist discourse, because, like so much else in Iraq, it would belie their claims to be supporting the Iraqi people.

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