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The Iraq War Takes a Hammering


In moves that will likely make wingnuts foam at the mouth for ages, raging incandescently all over the gaff, Iraq took a pretty brutal hammering over the past few days. By this I don't mean the country, which has been getting hammered for nearly two years now. I mean the war as an abstract, as an entity which exists for consumption along the Beltway, through Westminster and across the opinion pages and blogs.

The war which is an idea, containing legality, ideology, intention and other such concepts. It is this war which refuses to die for the regimes on both sides of the atlantic. There have been a few events on both sides of the water from less likely sources than usual. The anti-war crowd are taking a breather and protest has moved closer to the bone with establishment types taking a tilt at what is being portrayed as a farcical betrayal of the Iraqi people.

First comes the revelations in the Guardian by ex-British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, that the process by which war was entered into was not exposed to the rigour of questioning and exploration one might expect from Tony Blair. While Christopher supported the war, the case he makes regarding Tony's inability to ask questions or make demands of the effort do a great deal of damage to the idea of the Iraq War. The abstract is done a disservice by the lack of foresight and preparation invested in the run-up. SO the debate rumbles on at a time when Blair could do with not being dragged back for his six-monthly defence of his decision to go to war, not incidentally the execution merely the decision (thus the argument over Iraq abstract).

Doubtless the book will be a great insight into personality politics but the verdict of such an overtly establishment man, pro-war and well connected could do a great deal of damage with opinion makers.

The confirmation that rumbles exist in the jungle, comes from a report in salon.com on the Democrats increasing competence at tackling the issue. They feel that they have some more evidence to suggest the evidence deployed in the build up to war was false, or at least qualified, yet tacken as truth to the people. As it related to a link between Saddam and Al-Qaida one can gather it is a rather important piece of document and yet more boosting energy for the Democrats.

Still, one does get the impression as I argued earlier that we are firmly into the era of two seperate wars taking place at the moment. There is the one which sees 20,000-100,000 Iraqis dead, 2,000+ U.S. soldiers dead and so on, it is the part of the plan where all attention should be, the efforts to democratise, stabilise and better the country. Yet it really doesnt seem to be working out as planned in that war.

The second war is the abstract war, as it seems to necessarily be when it is engaged with outside of Iraq. It is the war in idea, where argument is not so much rooted in the world and looking to the ground per se but examining the causes, strategy and other instruments of war. Perhaps Im wrong again but it is a rather stark dichotomy in dealing with Iraq. The war on paper refuses to die as an issue, while it may be kept alive by the war in the world it seems to be the former which is more politically damaging yet the latter which is so much more deadly.


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