I find the liberal leftist attempts to rework reality to their own liking quite fascinating. Today I offer an article from the UK Independent by columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. She recently appeared on a TV program there called Question Time. I have inserted my own remarks in bold italics.

War or no war, I refuse to be blackmailed
The baying warmongers have not shown a flicker of pity for the dead and dying of Iraq

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
31 March 2003

Now the most vicious of tactics are being used by the pro-war brigades to discredit those of us who still firmly believe – from left to right – that this war is immoral,

Why? You think allowed the regime of Saddam Hussein to continue is moral?

. . . illegal. . .

Illegal according to whom?

. . .and dangerous.

Granted. And how is that relevant?

I got a taste on Question Time last week. As I walked in, people in the front rows were already hissing and hooting to undermine me.

That is generally the purpose of hissing and hooting, yes. It’s called being in front of an audience that doesn’t agree with you, a situation that I’m sure you find quite baffling.

Geoff Hoon got massive applause immediately afterwards. Obviously delighted, he looked 10 years younger suddenly.

This was in London, a city with people of many colours, most against the war.

How do you know that? Did you ask them all?

But here, somehow, we had an almost white audience, various pro-war collectives (you can obviously get block bookings for the programme) – and not a single anti-war Muslim, black or Asian voice.

Which kind of suggests that there are a lot of people in London who are pro-liberation, doesn’t it? Your insinuation that Muslims, blacks, and Asians should all be anti-war is a little peculiar, as well as racist.

Now I think Question Time has become much better since it started to allow more assertive challenges from audience members – the old reverence has gone and an excellent thing too. Panellists should be able to deal with the cut and thrust of hot exchanges. But when it tips over into the Jerry Springer mode the programme loses its stature. I have seen this before when people booed Melanie Phillips and Ann Widdecombe (not my soul sisters), refusing to let them finish their points.

Careful. You’re starting to sound a little whiny. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go on the show.

When this happens it gets to you, and it did to me.

Good.

It didn’t help that Charles Kennedy, who started off well enough, simply shifted his bum around on the fence leaving me alone to put the case against the war.

It’s difficult to present a convincing argument for an irrational cause when you don’t have a bunch of your fellow sycophants backing you up, isn’t it?

In the middle of my very first answer, a Kurdish lady launched herself at me. She says she is a victim of terrible torture, rape, and punishment by Saddam’s inhumane forces. I had already watched her on several recent programmes. I said I was very sorry that she had suffered so much but that I was still anti-war. So she harangued, saying I was “clueless”.

Sounds like you are.

Her husband has emailed me to say that his wife believes “not being willing to get rid of Saddam by any means necessary makes a person a Saddam supporter”. I told her she was emotionally blackmailing me

That’s easier than addressing his point coherently, isn’t it?

and, even though many people were outraged at this, I would say it again. Neither she nor the baying warmongers showed a flicker of pity for the dead and dying of Iraq.

Just as you show not a flicker of pity for the victims of Saddam’s regime, or the thousands and thousands of brutally murdered whose killers are trained and funded by Saddam. And anyway, most of the dead and dying in Iraq currently are enemy combatants, a fact conveniently ignored in the various “body count” statistics.

They were furious, however, that al-Jazeera – which rightly won an Index Against Censorship award last week –

Actually, that award is called the Award for Best Circumvention of Censorship. And al-Jazeera is not exactly an objective, independent media outlet, considering that it’s funded almost entirely by the government of Qatar.

was showing footage of our dead soldiers.

And this does not outrage you? I quote from the Articles of the Geneva Convention, which you, interestingly, have ignored in your tirade:

Article 13

Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.

Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.

Imagine the chief rabbi on a panel being berated by a Palestinian victim of the Israeli army

Inappropriate analogy. The rabbi is not assumed to be in favor of whatever the Israeli government is up to. You, however, stated a firm position for which the Kurdish woman attacked you.

or the US ambassador silenced by the shrieking pain of parents whose sons have been caged in Guantanamo Bay.

The Guantanamo prisoners are not being tortured or inhumanely treated. And I would hope that the ambassador in question would lecture the parents on this fact, and perhaps point out why their son was captured in the first place.

Would people expect these two leading figures to surrender to the emotions, or would they too feel this was unacceptable blackmail?

I would expect them to answer the question, which you did not do, and are not doing now.

The war is not going well.

Naturally not, from your point of view, considering how successful it’s been. We’ve laid siege to Baghdad after only 11 days from the start of the war, have killed fewer civilians than the Watts Riots, and captured thousands of enemy soldiers, possibly killing or severely injuring Saddam and his sons. That sounds pretty good to me.

Most Iraqis have not rebelled and there is no overwhelming welcome for the troops.

Ummm. Ok. If you say so. Personally I saw it on live TV, but what the hell.

Allies are losing soldiers for an unjustified war; mounting civilian casualties will soar when they really raze Baghdad.

Raze Baghdad? Why would we do that? We’ve been launching JDAMs at the city for over a week now and we’ve killed a grand total of about 100 civilians. They still have electricity and running water for Pete’s sake. It’s the most accurate military strike in history.

They have not won the hearts and minds of millions around the world.

Would you like to introduce any evidence to that effect?

This is a war by the US for the sinister cabal influencing the US government. . .

*spits tea onto the monitor* AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! *ahem* Sorry. You were serious, weren’t you? Why don’t you just use the phrase “Imperialist aggressors” and get it over with?

. . .and the rest be damned.

Let’s see, 50 countries on our side now. 193 countries in the world. You do the math.

The action remains illegal, and condemned by the world’s statesmen, including Mandela.

And this would be the same Nelson Mandela who on 1/30/03 said, and I quote: “They (Bush and Blair) do not care. Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man?”

The same Nelson Mandela who has also stated:

“All that (President Bush) wants is Iraqi oil….because Iraq produces 64 percent of the oil in the world. What Bush wants is to get hold of that oil.”

This in spite of the fact that Iraq only accounts for about 5% of the world’s oil, total. Even CNN admitted that.

Mandela is a Communist. He wrote a manuscript entitled “How to Be a Good Communist” (no, I’m not making that up), in which he stated, “Under a Communist government, South Africa will become a land of milk and honey.”

Of Castro and Cuba, Mandela stated: “There’s one thing where that country stands out head and shoulders above the rest. That is in its love for human rights and liberty.”

Of Moammar Qaddafi, Mandela praised his “commitment to the fight for peace and human rights in the world.”

The pro-war side show no understanding that now Saddam will kill thousands more because we have unleashed chaos and he can always blame these deaths on our forces.

Not after we’re done killing his ass, he won’t.

They make dishonest assertions that “all Iraqis” want this war. Some do and some don’t, but few are begging “yes please kill me and my babies so I can be free and thank you so much for that bag of flour and American flag”.

*rolls eyes* It wouldn’t be a leftist screed without some good old-fashioned hyperbole, would it?

Why should they trust and love us after years of betrayal and sanctions which enabled Saddam to do his worst against his people?

A good question. One might even wonder why people like you never raised a stink about it before.

Where were these pro-war people when we were trying to highlight the suffering of Iraqis?

That’s an interesting bit of revisionist history, considering that the anti-war left was recently (and still is) arguing that Iraq is some kind of utopia and that the US is a murdering bully.

We could have armed the various Iraqi opposition groups, but we did not do so because we don’t want a truly independent Iraq.

Um, we ARE arming the opposition. We’re providing them with intelligence, too, and have been for years. Strangely enough, it’s kinda tough for a small group of resistors to topple a regime that controls large amounts of artillery, tanks, planes, and nerve gas.

When 5,000 young Iraqi exiles go back from Jordan to fight against the invasion, when enemies of Saddam say they see this as the new colonialism, we should take heed.

They’re just upset now that they’ve figured out that we’re not going to liberate their country for them and then hand the reins over to them and leave.

Most Arabs are not brainless dupes who can be bought off even when they are suffering immeasurably.

Never said they were.

Many of us who have taken a public stand against the war are now being demonised – in print, through private briefings and other means. John Reid is terrorising the BBC for being anti-war. I am being blacked and blocked – but since they can’t say I am a worthless peacenik (I will always be grateful that the US took action against Milosevic) they say I am dangerous.

Freedom of speech does not protect you from the disagreement of others.

Last night I dreamt I was in the asylum in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Alastair Campbell coming at me with a syringe. Like I said, it is getting to me.

GOOD!

But when the going gets tough the tough must keep talking – and I must do so with less obvious frustration than I did on Question Time.

Oh, I don’t know. It’s fun to watch the liberal left squirm.

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk

Just in case you feel like sending her some comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

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