‘For one day only, I’m a Lib Dem’

‘For one day only, I’m a Lib Dem’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, March 26, 2005

We must take the politics of the anti-war front into the electoral arena

The crucial events that led to the occupation of Iraq by the US and Britain are now classified, proven and documented. Tony Blair and his New Labour cohorts, backed by their Conservative allies, lied without shame to drag a reluctant country to war. A dung-heap of “facts” was manufactured by Alastair Campbell and hurled at television and the print media. Those who questioned them were traduced and harassed. The million and a half who marched to try to prevent the war were ignored. Iraq was occupied. Despite the rushed and half-baked elections, a savage chaos still grips the country. The Archbishop of Canterbury remains silent. After the 2001 election, but well before 9/11, Rowan Williams offered the following advice to the nation: “Without the perspective of religion our whole politics is likely to be in deep trouble.”

The cost of the Iraqi adventure was heavy. According to a team of medical investigators sent by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians died. Torture, encouraged from above, became a fact of life. Perhaps some good liberal apologist for Blair will soon explain how democratic torture is much nicer than authoritarian torture. Perhaps the belligerati could take this further. Ian McEwan’s next novel could sensitively depict dilemmas of a liberal torturer faced with the barbaric Orient. Why not? We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane. read more

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