Another prime minister, another war: British imperialism is unable to conduct its business without reaching for missiles and bombs. Much better than wasting money on hospitals and schools or investing in industry.
After Thatcher’s adventure in the Falklands, John Major took us to war in the Gulf for the sake of oil. Then Blair joined in the military dismemberment of Yugoslavia, followed by the (second) Iraq war and Afghanistan. While heroic Japanese workers were fighting to save lives in their devastated country, Cameron received the backing of a supine and cowardly parliament for military action against Libya.
As usual in such interventions, TV and newspapers play up the monstrous character of the “enemy”. Gaddafi, we are told, is a brutal dictator. But if we are to go to war against every brutal dictator, we will have to invade more than half the countries in the world.
Gaddafi’s offence in imperialism’s eyes is not the suppression of democracy but the fact that under him Libya has maintained its independence. It won’t do as it’s told. To imperialism, that’s the biggest crime of all. Hence this ragbag alliance of desperate leaders (Cameron, Sarkozy and of course Obama) and oil-rich dictatorships.
A war for democracy? Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are countries where “one man, one vote” means literally that: only the ruler’s vote really counts. Qatar has not had a national election since 1970 – and even that was only partial; its single (advisory) chamber is appointed by the amir. The UAE holds peculiar elections to its (again, purely advisory) Federal National Council: in the first and so far only “election” in 2006, there were 6,600 voters (82 per cent of them men) – just 1 per cent of the population, and all nominated by the rulers of the seven emirates of the UAE.
Another peculiar aspect: all this to protect a Libyan “opposition” about which no one knows anything – except that it appears to be calling for the return of the monarchy. It would be nice to have an opposition in Britain. Instead of opposing, Labour took the coward’s route, backing the no-fly zone and uniting with Tories and LibDems. They do not speak for Britain.
There were cowards elsewhere, as well. Brazil, China, Russia, India and Germany – countries representing the majority of mankind – did not back the resolution, but their governments abstained in the Security Council. Russia and China could have vetoed the resolution; now they are shedding crocodile tears about the remit being exceeded.
We say no to war, no to intervention. Our struggle for democracy and dignity needs to start at home against this people-hating, bank-loving, war-making government and its friends. ■