Finally some sense from the Left

[quote] A pub on the Euston Road in London was the venue for a document that has caused quite a stir in political circles in Britain and the United States. The document, called the Euston Manifesto, was drawn up in a series of meetings at O’Neill’s, opposite the British Library and not far from Euston station. It is set for a public launch on 25 May (not at the pub), but it has already been published and extensively discussed on the internet, where it had its origins. It was drafted by a veteran left-wing academic, Norman Geras, professor emeritus in politics at Manchester University. Geras runs his own blogsite called normblog. “We wanted to declare support for values that are being compromised,” he told me.
"We did not want a socialist document but one which would appeal to others who are liberal and democrats. "For example, it is quite regular to read about terrorism that ‘Yes, putting bombs on buses is bad, but you need to understand it’. “The word ‘understand’ has two meanings. It means to explain and to condone - and that ‘but’ often tends to condone the act.”

‘Clarion call’

The manifesto offers a way for “democrats and progressives” to navigate through the minefields of blanket anti-Americanism and anti-globalisation, to support democracy and oppose terrorism without having to join the ranks of American neo-conservatives. Nevertheless, a leading American neo-con, Bill Kristol, has welcomed the manifesto and said: “We hope that this clarion call from overseas might contribute to a rebirth of political courage and moral clarity on the American left as well.” Is Norman Geras embarrassed at such support? It seems not. The authors say their manifesto is not just for socialists. “I am not troubled by what Kristol said. We are not tainted by this. He has a right as a democratic citizen to his view. This is not a left or right document,” he said.

Christopher Hitchens, once on the far left of the British political scene, and now an ardent supporter in the US of the Iraq war and opposer of Islamic-inspired terrorism has said he might sign it. “It prefers those who vote in Iraq and Afghanistan to those who put bombs in mosques and schools and hospitals,” he has said. The manifesto has prompted a lively debate and, incidentally, shows the power of the internet as a new forum for ideas. The Euston Manifesto declares that it is: “For a renewal of Progressive Politics.” “We propose here a fresh political alignment,” it says.

The titles of its 15 paragraphs give an idea of the kind of re-alignment it seeks:

It is “for democracy”, it offers “no apology for tyranny”, it calls for the benefits of globalisation to be spread in “development for freedom”, it “opposes anti-Americanism”, wants a “two state solution” between Israel and Palestine, warns of anti-Semitism, and is “united against terror.”

It condemns “terrorism inspired by Islamist ideology" as a "menace that has to be fought and not excused.”

About the United States it says: "We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking."

Solidarity with Iraqis

In a list of “elaborations”, it adds that the events of 11 September 2001 were not “America’s deserved comeuppance, but an act of mass murder.”

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are “roundly condemned” but it accuses “many on the left” of double standards by criticising democracies while keeping silent about worse abuses by others.

The manifesto promises “a fresh political alignment”

It deals with Iraq by acknowledging that the founding supporters were divided about the invasion, but adds that the task now is to “put in place in Iraq a democratic political order”.

Norman Geras said: "I supported the war and still do but others opposed it. But we should all now be in solidarity with the Iraqi people and those trying to create a democratic society.

“As for the United States, we identified a way of thinking among some that whatever America does must be wrong. That is their starting assumption. We don’t see it that way.”

I asked him if he thought this was basically a “Blairite” document (Bill Kristol declared that the manifesto showed that Tony Blair “is not alone”).

Geras replied: “This is not an endorsement of New Labour or the third way.”


I couldn’t agree more with this statement, and most of what was written in that article. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was and would be the cause of many more deaths in Iraq.

The problem is how the US administration handled it. They initially were granted permission by the UN to use military force but then, trying to get more support for their cause, waited around until the UN decided that it wasn’t the time. Now you can say all you want about the UN scandals and failures but IMO the world needs such an organization to monitor every country’s actions. With the support of the UN it would have been a whole lot easier for other leaders to sell this thing to the public.

The second mistake was not to send enough manpower to do the job. It has been argued on this forum that East Timor, Bosnia, and Kosovo became dependant on foreign peacekeepers, well it appears the Iraqis will have no such worries. The US government, due to mounting public pressure, is already beginning to unveil exit strategies. Meanwhile[quote]Blast kills 16 at Falluja recruiting office (03.05.2006)
Insurgents embarked on deadly attacks across Iraq on Wednesday, killing 16 people at a police recruitment center in Falluja, an American civilian contractor near Nasiriya and a police officer in Baquba. [/quote]

How are the Iraqis to maintain the peace by themselves when there is no protection for soldiers and police to be trained. And I’m guessing the number of people wanting to join up for these jobs are dropping as fast as Bush’s poll numbers. I have been following politics for a very short time and like all subjects, the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. Feel free to correct anything I write that is not accurate as I am curious and always open to accept a new view. I am not a military analyst and of course there is no proof other than my word, but I did predict Iraq to be in this very situation before the war started.

It is good that the left is taking a small step toward the right, now if the right would only follow suit, something positive may be attained.

In his own weird way, Fred just did.


It’s an oversimplification to characterize U.S. policy in the Middle East as a Left versus Right issue. The two most prominent left-liberal leaders in the U.S. and Britain, Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair, have been as hawkish as the Bush administration in the Middle East while many British conservatives have consistently criticized Blair’s support of the neoconservative agenda.

Some sense from the right in Britain:

"The Conservative leadership candidate’s speech to the Foreign Press Association on terrorism and security

Thursday September 1, 2005

The disastrous decision to invade Iraq has made Britain a more dangerous place. The war did not create the danger of Islamic terrorism in this country, which had been growing internationally even before the tragedy of the attacks on 9/11. However the decision by the UK government to become the leading ally of President Bush in the Iraq debacle has made Britain one of the foremost targets for Islamic extremists.

Personally I would have accepted that increased risk as the price of going to war if I had believed that we were driven to go to war for a just cause and a British national interest that could be pursued in no other way. I reject the notion that fear of terrorist reprisals should ever deter a British government from pursuing an honourable and necessary cause. I had previously supported every war embarked upon by a British government of whatever party throughout my parliamentary career.

This was not such a case. The reasons given to parliament for joining the invasion were bogus. Bush’s real purpose of installing quite quickly a pro-western democracy in Baghdad, with the support of a grateful liberated population, has proved to be a sad illusion. The dangers of the invasion providing recruits and impetus to terrorist extremists were clear before the war. . . ."

Moral clarity? A manifesto written by a pub group? Power of the internet? Simple minded propoganda geared to gaining the support of the intellectually challenged? Same bullshit different day?

Um… yes… ah… since it … er… is the …ah left that was against the war in Iraq to remove Saddam… um… how does one … er… deal with similar demands to deal with Rwanda and Darfur… er… um…

I would have thought that would have been right up your alley…

Ask the Deaniacs…

How is it simple-minded? intellectually challenged? Um… er… given the lack of knowledge about certain issues displayed by a certain, er, poster… um… this um… perhaps is not… um the battle you want to be fighting surely?

Thanks for bringing balance back to the sense being displayed by “some” on the left.

Um… yes… ah… since it … er… is the …ah left that was against the war in Iraq to remove Saddam… um… how does one … er… deal with similar demands to deal with Rwanda and Darfur… er… um…[/quote]

Here’s someone else who was all for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, unlike those feckless leftists:

“'Imam [Khomeini] said that Saddam [Hussein] must go, and that he would be humiliated in a way that was unprecedented. And what do you see today? A man who, 10 years ago, spoke as proudly as if he would live for eternity is today chained by the feet, and is now being tried in his own country…”
– Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

[quote]Here’s someone else who was all for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, unlike those feckless leftists:

“'Imam [Khomeini] said that Saddam [Hussein] must go, and that he would be humiliated in a way that was unprecedented. And what do you see today? A man who, 10 years ago, spoke as proudly as if he would live for eternity is today chained by the feet, and is now being tried in his own country…”
– Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad[/quote]

Well Spook, it’s like this. Removing Hitler was a good thing even though Stalin benefited. Removing Saddam is a good thing even though Iran benefited. Removing the mullahs in Iran will be a good thing even though the Jews, er Israelis benefit… See how it works…

Granted I’m not the philosophical genius that you are but from my admittedly simple point of view it would seem that “moral clarity” would manifest itself in the real world of actual human beings and would therefore be based on a more or less accurate understanding of reality.

For example, while it may seem that ousting Sadam was an act based on “moral clarity” that notion becomes somewhat less obvious when it becomes apparent that nobody had a clue what to do with the country after it was liberated and thousands of people have died and/or been made homeless as a consequence.

Then again maybe they did know what would happen and the mess you see now in Iraq was all part of the plan to start a fight that would likely last generations, as a handsome profit maiking plan sort of deal. Give the arms manufacturers a tax break and send the poor kids off to die in the desert.

Moral? Clarity?

Funny, I still don’t see it.


Seemed? I don’t think that seemed is appropriate here. Either it was a moral act or it was not. Was it good that Saddam was taken out? Almost all Iraqis say yes. Almost all of Iraq’s neighbors say yes. So we can say that it was a moral act.

so it is apparently less obvious or obviously more apparent?

So how does that change the morality of the original act? This is where the left frequently gets tripped up. It quite frankly cannot act ever because any action that it may take may in fact result in the death or injury of hurt feelings of someone. This is why the peace protesters were so vacuously confused about what this was all about. It all boils down to nihilism and the absolute moral petrification of the body politic. No one can and should ever act but then again…

That seems to be the general consensus on the left, but I think that overall you must remember the two pre-eminent goals: 1. To remove Saddam and 2. To ensure that Iraq was not a threat to its neighbors and 3. (to a lesser extent) determine once and for all whether he had, could have or was thinking and plotting to have wmds. Those three goals have been accomplished. To a lesser extent other goals have been accomplished as well, though these were not the main objectives. Namely, Saddam’s murderous reign was ended. Yes, people died during the war and in the subsequent insurgency/terrorism/crime spree. Now, who do you determine morally is most guilty for those deaths?

I will ignore this but highlight it as it lends understanding to the state of your mind.

More of the same tired, paranoid, conspiracy-addled views that have made the left essentially unelectable.

For removing Saddam yes. It was possesses both morality and clarity. The man was one of the most vicious thugs in the world. If the Left cannot even support his removal then it has indeed reached a very sad state of affairs. But this was long ago known to me.

It is not funny. It is sad and believe me when I tell you we all get it. We all understand that you don’t see this. That is what is so tragic. This is where the problem has emerged in its most “apparent and obvious” fashion. The left essentially cannot act even when something as grostesque as Saddam Hussein was involved. This is why you have apologists for Castro and Che, mumbled rumblings about we should/shoud not be targeting North Korea. I really shudder to wonder if many of you actually live your personal lives in such a state of moral turpitude as well. Very very not funny.

I repeat this for your benefit. It pretty much sums up the situation, ethically speaking. Perhaps you can get it this time.

As far as it goes this is correct.

:laughing: What I meant was that the accuracy of the notion becomes less apparent. Thanks for that. It isn’t often anybody nails me on one of my many blunders.

So how does that change the morality of the original act? This is where the left frequently gets tripped up. It quite frankly cannot act ever because any action that it may take may in fact result in the death or injury of hurt feelings of someone. This is why the peace protesters were so vacuously confused about what this was all about. It all boils down to nihilism and the absolute moral petrification of the body politic. No one can and should ever act but then again…[/quote]

Here you’ve lost it. If the liberation and subsequent restructuring leads to an increase in the population’s well being then the invasion will perhaps be judged, ultimately, as an act of moral clarity. If there follows decades of sectarian violence or civil war then the judgement might not be so clear.

A lot of people are making a fortune off this thing. What other consesus should anybody reach?

“People” are still dying. Anybody whose actions contributed to that fact is responsible.

Frankly that is just too stupid to respond to with any effort.

I know what you mean but when did I ever declare myself “left”?

All I am saying is that if the US wanted to institute a regime change in Iraq it should have gone in with enough force at the beginning to, in the words of Collin Powel “assert its will on the country”. Going in half cocked has led to enormous suffering. It was an action lacking in moral clarity for that reason.

The moral turpidity of my personal life, while perhaps interesting to you, is hardly an issue here.

“Moral clarity” in this instance, of course, is a euphemism for moral myopia:

“Focus only on the ends – the removal of a sadistic dictator – and ignore the methods we used to achieve that goal even though they included selective justice, deception, false witness, wanton violence, torture etcetera because the ends justify the means.”

This is child’s play to you isn’t it spook? A casual act of generosity in a neighbourhood of mental midgets?

Is that what really happened? If that were true, we would have removed Saddam, determined that he had no wmds and say ciao to the Iraqis. Good luck with your new life.

That was a very nice byproduct of the whole event and one that should not be lost upon those most concerned with moral clarity.

Hoo boy this is going to be good…

selective? Oh you mean like as in choosing to invade Iraq and Afghanistan but not Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea? Again, I realize that there is an element of simplicity in all or nothing kind of approaches but I thought that was precisely what so many of you hated about George Bush’s you are either with us or against us? Again, anyone want to invade Syria? Iran? North Korea? No need to invade Libya. It coughed up its wmds pretty quickly, eh? Just to agree with Spook though. I think that we shouldn’t be selective in our justice so I would like to agree with him on two points. We should invade Syria and Iran. On this, I am in complete agreement with Spook.

Any proof on this? Still no? After three years nothing? Be sure and let us know when you have proof. Congress will want to see the same as well.

wanton? haha I thought that was usually used to describe wenches but hey? a new meaning? If we were playing scrabble I am sure that would be worth something…

No proof of any such occurred in Guantanamo. There have been allegations. Yes, we all remember the famous examples of torture that were so widely or should I say wantonly condemned in the press. The infamous Koran desecration, er mishandling, er accidental touching. That sure was a big case. Also the incidents in Abu Ghraib were mostly “abuse” not “torture” and those that were responsible have been put on trial and punished. Ironically, this was already being taken care of a year before it was so widely splashed about in the press. The US military has a fine record. It has a good history of policing itself. Things take time. Ironically, it is the left here who does not seem to value constitutional rights, right? I mean the very rights that are supposedly under threat because of the Patriot Act are to be treated willy nilly by the press and left because they are baying for blood? The ironies of these confused moral positions are laughable or they would be if they were not so sad.

Yes, that about covers up all the evils that the US is allegedly perpetrating around the world.

You can repeat that 1,000 times but that does not make any of your allegations true.

Just for the record Fred, repeating lies is precisely your tactic. I think you assume that nobody will go back and read, for example, the Abu Graib thread.

Then please by all means fill us in on the widespread “torture” that was occuring in Abu Ghraib. Seems to me that most of what was uncovered was “abuse” and that it was determined to be local and not systematic. But then again, if I have drawn the wrong conclusions, you know what you can do. Prove me wrong.

Note to moderators: Please do not bother to delete this. I do not care about the lies thing. I give Bob carte blanche to say whatever he likes.

Fred, you can’t give him carte blanche to say what he likes.
But since you’ve already seen this and responded, I’ll stick to this response…

bob: :no-no:

Well, I actually do believe ends can justify means. Has something to do with pragmatism.

That said though … we have not seen the end of all this yet. But to me it looks like the second Iraq War could very well in the end justifying about … zip maybe? I mean, purely if you look at the results of course not “the noble effort” under the aspect of “well meant is the opposite of well done”.

This whole war looks as if cooked up by some well-meaning multi-kulti lefties whining about to help these poooooooor people in Iraq who “all just want to get along”. I mean after this bogus threats of WDMs and Osama Bin Saddam broke away.

Wishful thinking, based on cultural nihilism, assuming “these people are just chaps as us who all want democracy, secularism, equality and apple pie”. And mind me … all that from a “conservative/right” administration.

They can sometimes…

I have always stated that we would be in Iraq for 60 years. So don’t look to me for surprise that this is taking longer than expected.

Well, how do you account for the fact that every Western intelligence agency believed that Saddam had wmds and was a threat. 17 UN resolutions attest to that. Second, the conclusions of the Duelfer report were that Saddam had every intention of restarting his wmd programs once sanctions fell apart.

Again, for me this was primarily about removing Saddam. That was accomplished, 20 percent of my support was to determine once and for all that he did not have wmds. Now, some positive good may come of this. I believe there has been much positive. Kurdistan is booming and that is because Saddam is gone. The Persian Gulf nations and Turkey are also much more secure. Now, that leaves Iran… and to some degree Syria. I believe my views on those two nations are already known.