"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Old Lie

Harold Evans pens some drivel for the Irish Times and the Guardian. Read it here.

Dear Alan and Geraldine,

Harold Evans repeats the 'old lie' in his celebration of Joe Rosenthal's iconic picture of February 23rd 1945 in Saturday's Irish Times (via the Guardian Service). He reiterates the nonsensical rhetoric of those in power in order to glorify the sacrifice of those forced, through economic necessity and blind faith in their government, to put their bodies in the firing line.

He divides Iraq's conflict, quite conveniently, into two distinct parts. On the side of good he finds 'the coalition of the willing', on the side of evil he imagines 'the enemies of freedom'. Yet the war's 'great evil' was captured long ago, what now exists is a country suffocating under foreign occupation. And as with any occupation, the occupied tend to steadily lose faith in their right to 'choose their own destiny' the longer they are occupied.

If we are to accept, as Mr. Evans wills us to, that the coalition in Iraq epitomise 'freedom' then a recent BBC report detailing the findings of the Multi-national Force - Iraq backs up that assertion. The 'enemy', Iraq's Insurgency, primarily targets coalition forces. The victims of these attacks are also victims of the of the act of aggression that brought about that insurgency, these dead soldiers are victims of their own governments foreign policies.

Yet there is no credible reason to believe his assertion, Iraq has been ravaged by foreign forces since 2003. In complete contradiction to Mr. Evans' contention, many of the coalition's crimes against Iraq's people have not and will never face public scrutiny. And if we really have the "free press and an independent judiciary, vigilant for any breach of the constitution and reputation" to which Mr. Evans attests why is it that the blatant crime, the supreme international crime, the 'search for WMDs' itself will never face judgement in the courts of justice?

Only weeks ago, quietly whispered revelations emanating from the corridors of freedom in Washington now cast doubt on what sort of destiny the occupiers intend leaving in Iraq; "Senior administration officials have acknowledged .. that they are considering alternatives other than democracy." History resonates so predictably.

The gallantry of the soldier has not been besmirched by 'the few who dishonour their service and their country' though this of course has tarred many with the same brush. It has been the cynical deception of the gallant by their leaders that has sullied he names of those who go to war.

Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

"Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country."

Yours sincerely,

[alan.rusbridger@guardian.co.uk, gkennedy@irish-times.ie]