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Politics - The Irish left - Groups - voteoutffpd.com exchange


voteoutffpd.com exchange, Feb-Mar 2005


Noel Walsh of the now-vanished voteoutffpd.com (or here) posed a set of questions to me.

I appreciate rational debate. Here are my answers.



His questions

Here are his questions:

Questions for Mr Humphry :
1. If the US / UK etc are intent on spreading democracy peacefully why do they retain their veto on the UN SC & why did they reinstall a pro-US monarchy in Kuwait after liberating it from Iraq ?
2. If Saddam was such a threat to world peace, why did the US etc support him through the 8 year long Iraq - Iran war ?
2. Why does he bunch the war on Iraq with the war on "Islamofascists" when it already had a secular though dictatorial gov't ?
3. If the war on Iraq was so logical / scientific / laser-guided why does the US govn't not know how many Iraqis they killed ?
4.  Why does he think countries that have not used nuclear WMD ever are more of a threat than the one that has ?
5. Why is voteoutffpd.com grouped in his "Anti-America, anti-NATO"  section ?  This is an anti-FFPD site. Its pro Americans such as Michael Moore and pro the idea of NATO as a mutual defence pact, not as a tool for invading Yugoslavia and other non-NATO member states.Countries only use nuclear weapons as offensive, not defensive weapons which shows the real aim of NATO.
6. Would he support an invasion by Germany say of some other country based on the premise of WMDs and continue to support them when its obvious there were no WMD ?
7. If the invasion of Iraq was really about democracy why did't GW Bush just use that reason instead of the WMD line when trying to build a coalition ?
8. Why does he hold up Israel as a beacon of democracy in the middle East ? Palestine had 600 international observers including an exUS president at Arafat's election in '96 but some people do not accept the result Hopefully his successor will do better, but Israel, democratic or not is unlikely to cease it's land-grabbing war with a democratic Palestine and return to UN defined ( i.e. not Hamas defined)  1947 borders anytime soon.



My reply


> Questions for Mr Humphry :
> 1. If the US / UK etc are intent on spreading democracy peacefully why
> do they retain their veto on the UN SC 

Not sure I understand the question. I don't support the UN, and neither do the thinkers and writers in "my" camp. Neither really does the US administration.

> & why did they reinstall a
> pro-US monarchy in Kuwait after liberating it from Iraq ?

Good point. This is "realpolitik" - supporting friendly dictators in pursuit of a "higher" goal. America and the west have a long and dishonourable history of this kind of thing. The worst example of all was the alliance with the genocidal monster Stalin in World War 2.

The defining feature of the neo-conservatives is that they can't stand this kind of thing (supporting friendly dictators). They want to spread democracy everywhere, (1) because it's good, and (2) because it's good for security. Realpolitik failed - it led to 9/11. As Bush put it in 2003: "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export. ... Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East."

In summary, I'm a neo-conservative like Paul Wolfowitz. I'm not a "realpolitik" conservative like Colin Powell.

So if you think the monarchy in Kuwait should have been deposed, I'm with you. I remember supporting the first Gulf War, but being horrified that the first Bush restored the Kuwaiti regime. They also failed to depose Saddam. The war was a disaster in many ways. The second Bush has made up for his father's failures. I'm a fan of the second Bush, not the first.


> 2. If Saddam was such a threat to world peace, why did the US etc
> support him through the 8 year long Iraq - Iran war ?

Well first of all, US/UK support for Saddam in the past has been greatly exaggerated. Saddam was mainly armed by the other 3 members of the UN Security Council - France, Russia and China. If you want a conspiracy theory that might actually be true, this (arms and oil deals) goes a long way towards explaining why these 3 countries opposed the Iraq War.

But yes, at one time the US and UK gave some support to Saddam. The reason again was "realpolitik" - he was fighting Iran.

Isn't it magnificent that they have abandoned this strategy and deposed him?


> 2. Why does he bunch the war on Iraq with the war on "Islamofascists"
> when it already had a secular though dictatorial gov't ?

You may as well ask why "secular" Saddam paid Islamist suicide bombers in Palestine. You may as well ask why atheist North Korea and Islamist Iran have an alliance to share WMD and missile technology.

The fact is tyrannies often ally with each other against the common enemy of free democracies.

In the War on Islamism, the entire Middle East needs to be reformed - Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for a start - if the threat of anti-western terrorism is ever to recede. All these countries need to be transformed into democracies. Iraq just seemed like a good place to start. It still does.


> 3. If the war on Iraq was so logical / scientific / laser-guided why
> does the US govn't not know how many Iraqis they killed ?

I agree with you here. I think we do need to know how many Iraqi civilians were killed accidentally. I'm not in favour of war in all situations. War often saves lives compared with peace, but not always. We need to know the exact stats on how many innocent lives are lost. Lives of war combatants and post-war insurgents don't count. They shouldn't have been fighting in the first place.

We do need to know how many innocent Iraqi civilians were killed accidentally by the allies. I've never seen a body count that did not have an anti-US agenda, though. Maybe the new Iraqi government will be the people to finally tell us the accurate figures.


> 4.  Why does he think countries that have not used nuclear WMD
> ever are more of a threat than the one that has ?

It's not that they have WMDs. It's the fact that they're not democracies.

I've no problem with the possession by democracies of nuclear weapons. It's their ownership by non-democracies that is the problem.

Democracies do not go to war with each other. Democracies do not threaten the world. Tyrannies do.


> 5. Why is voteoutffpd.com grouped in his "Anti-America, anti-NATO"
>  section ?  

Because your site is anti-America and anti-NATO, as can be seen by just reading this page alone.

> This is an anti-FFPD site. Its pro Americans such
> as Michael Moore

Michael Moore is one of the most anti-American people on earth. He is an inspiration to anti-American killers the world over.

> and pro the idea of NATO as a mutual defence pact, not
> as a tool for invading Yugoslavia and other non-NATO member
> states.Countries only use nuclear weapons as offensive, not defensive
> weapons which shows the real aim of NATO.

So you were opposed to stopping Milosevic? Genocide in Europe is none of our business and we should look the other way?

> 6. Would he support an invasion by Germany say of some other country
> based on the premise of WMDs and continue to support them when its
> obvious there were no WMD ?

First, the War on Iraq was not about WMDs. It was about changing the Middle East, as the neo-cons said endlessly at the time. Just read the National Review at the time.

The WMD issue was just the legalism used to try to get the UN on board, since the UN won't care about spreading democracy, but it might care about legalisms like UN resolutions. In the end, that didn't work.

I don't really care that Saddam's WMD program was (to our surprise) inactive. Getting rid of dictators is just a good thing.

If you're asking me would I support Germany, say, getting rid of dictators around the world that it didn't like, the answer is yes I would.


> 7. If the invasion of Iraq was really about democracy why did't GW Bush
> just use that reason instead of the WMD line when trying to build a
> coalition ?

Good point. I agree.

The short answer is the UN wouldn't have been interested. Saddam is a dictator? So what? The UN is full of dictators. It has no problem with them.

The long answer is that the neo-cons are annoyed that Bush and Blair went on about WMDs so much, and did not make the case for changing the Middle East. It achieved nothing (the UN didn't come on board) and it alienated potential allies. I blame Colin Powell. Had Paul Wolfowitz been Secretary of State, the case for democracy and freedom would surely have been made.


> 8. Why does he hold up Israel as a beacon of democracy in the middle
> East ? 

Em, because it's a democracy. And the Middle East is full of non-democracies.

Haven't you noticed that Israel has opposition parties, regular elections, regular changes of government, coalitions, a free press that regularly attacks the government, a supreme court that regularly overrules the government, and so on. These things barely exist in the Middle East. It also has human rights for minorities like gays and atheists, and so on.

If you think Israel is not much better than the countries that surround it, maybe you would like to take The challenge.


> Palestine had 600 international observers including an exUS
> president

Yeah, but that was Jimmy Carter. He will believe anything a tyrant like Castro, Arafat or Kim Jong Il tells him.

> at Arafat's election in '96 but some people
> do not accept the result

Odd how Arafat was "elected" in 1996 and then held no more elections isn't it? Israel has been through a whole load of elections and changes of government since then (also here). Strange how the Palestinians haven't.

Quick quiz. Who was Arafat's main rival in 1996? How come no one heard of her before then? How come no one has heard of her since?

What happened to her party? Surely she was the head of a thriving opposition party? Surely an opposition party has been opposing Arafat in parliament for all of these years? I'm sure the parliamentary opposition and their leader must be easy to name.

Back to reality. Arafat was a dictator. He did not tolerate parliamentary opposition. He was never elected in a free election, with opposition parties and a free press.

If you think Arafat was elected, then you are somewhat naive I'm afraid. Do you believe Mugabe was elected?


> Hopefully his successor will do better, but
> Israel, democratic or not is unlikely to cease it's land-grabbing war
> with a democratic Palestine and return to UN defined ( i.e. not Hamas
> defined)  1947 borders anytime soon.

First, if the Arabs had tolerated the 1947 borders at the time, and not tried to destroy Israel, then Israel would be within the 1947 borders now. Maybe the Arabs shouldn't have tried to destroy Israel, do you agree? If all they wanted was the 1947 borders, then why didn't they accept that at the time?

And how can Israel trust that that is all they want now, and is not just a stepping stone for the ultimate aim which still is the destruction of Israel.

Secondly, Israel has repeatedly signalled its willingness to return to something not too far off the 1947 borders, if it will not be attacked. To show its good faith, it allowed the PLO return from exile and set up a terrorist state on its border. It received the intifada as an answer. Unlike in Northern Ireland, the Israelis trying to make peace led to a massive increase in deaths. Peace increased the death toll. Whereas war (raids like Jenin, targeted assassinations) and security (the wall) have massively reduced the death toll recently. War and security is clearly the way forward for the moment.

The fact is that until the Palestinians change - abandon Islamofascism and hate-filled anti-semitism, and adopt the principles of democracy, human rights, free speech and freedom of religion - there will be no solution to the Middle East conflict. All Israel can do is build a wall and wait for the Palestinians to change. Maybe the wave of change coming out of Iraq will hit the Palestinians eventually. There have been some encouraging signs recently.

And why should Israel have to return to the exact 1947 borders anyway? They weren't laid down by God. I see no reason why the border can't be negotiated, rather than determined in advance. Why should the 400,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza have to be ethnically cleansed, and all their work destroyed? Why should people want to make those territories Judenrein, and turned into yet another Arab tyranny where Jews cannot live? It seems to me perfectly reasonable for Israel to keep some of the West Bank and Gaza in a final settlement.


The root cause of the Middle East conflict

Finally, I would say you're missing the whole cause of the Middle East conflict. The root cause of the conflict is simply that Arabs in 1947 could not accept the existence of a dhimmi state, especially one in which dhimmis would rule over some Muslims.

The root cause of the Middle East conflict is that the Arab states are not democracies, and do not accept the equality of all humans - including dhimmis and infidels like me.

This has not changed. But it may someday. The Iraqi election - and now the Lebanese "people power" revolution - may be the start of the great Arab revolution that will finally bring a wave of democracy to the Middle East. Or do you think Arabs will go on living under tyrannies forever?


The solution to the Middle East conflict

Let me just re-visit this sentence:

> Israel .. is unlikely to cease it's land-grabbing war
> with a democratic Palestine .. anytime soon.

This is the core of the issue. You apparently think Palestine is "democratic".

If Palestine actually was democratic (parliamentary opposition, free elections, regular changes of government, free press, free speech, human rights, freedom of religion), there would be no conflict. If the Arab states had been democratic in 1947, there never would have been any conflict.

The solution to the Middle East conflict is to change Palestine and the Arab states into democracies. There is no other solution that will actually work.



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