Saturday, 26 March 2011

A kind of madness

'It is one of those times when I feel estranged from the country and not comprehending of what we are doing and why everyone is so gung-ho for it all'.

I was so glad to read those words of Rod Liddle in 'The Spectator' today. It is just what I have been feeling since the UN went to war in Libya. I could not understand it, yet no-one seemed to be shocked by it. Even opposition politicians were docile. Apparently only 13 MPs voted against it. 'The Spectator' notes that the moon was very close to the earth last weekend. Perhaps it is all a kind of lunacy.

I understand that Gaddafi is a nasty piece of work and probably a kind of lunatic himself. But then he has been for 40 years. I can understand too that he is cruelly treating the rebels. But - so are the Syrians and the Yemenis. When are French, British and American warplanes going to bomb their armouries? And what of Robert Mugabe who has been brutal not to rebels but to peaceful citizens of Zimbabwe for years?

Why are the UN and Nato and Britain and America so selective in their application of high flown principles?

What hypocritical bilge is William Hague spewing forth as he (who cannot get even a couple of planes off the ground to remove British citizens before the fighting started) talks of this moment as more significant than anything else in recent history, or some such hogwash?

Why do they pretend it is not about 'regime change' when they also speak openly about getting rid of Gaddafi? Why do they have no idea about what they are actually aiming at; or what to do if Gaddafi goes; or if he stays and fights; or if the Arab League decides that after all western planes bombing Arab cities is not such a pretty sight and withdraw their already luke-warm support?

Why does a new Prime Minister, after the debacle of Iraq, decide that in his first year he too must take some supposedly moral high ground and engage in yet another foreign adventure?

If there were not oil at stake, would it be different? Perhaps that is Zimbabwe's problem; it does not mean enough to western economic interests.

Gaddafi is after all an authority ordained by God and though I am enough of a Calvinist to believe in the right of revolution against tyrants, I seriously question the right of other nations to move against a ruler in support of rebels. Say the 250,000 plus in London today turned nasty and made a serious attempt on the seat of government or 10, Downing Street (though I expect Mr Cameron was well away from there) - how long would it be before our government too turned guns on its own people? What do governments do, after all? How will the western powers decide when and when not to support a rebellion? And what succour their action will give to potential rebels in other countries. Perhaps, even their own. Then, indeed, the gung-ho approach in north Africa will come back to haunt them.

'Estranged' is a good word for how I feel about this latest military escapade, whatever sympathy I may have for the subjects of Gaddafi. But then, maybe there are more like me, apart from Rod Liddle.

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