Monthly Archives: December 2003

Why didn’t Iraq demand weapons inspectors go into America?

Continuing the theme of the week of the UK’s relationship with America. I thought I’d talk today about freedom as it’s being imposed on Iraq.

An interesting paradox this which is going to be interesting to watch. Values are not absolute. And while we would like to think we know what is and isn’t acceptable the variety is actually quite staggering. IN the UK it seems almost impossible that the death penalty will ever come back however in America it is a completely different situation.

How does the international community decide which set of values to impose? Of course it doesn’t. It gives the people democracy and then sits back and waits for democracy to work its magic.

The question is how are a set of people who have been oppressed for years and therefore have a values system that appears to be completely out of whack with my western culture supposed to make the decisions that America wants them to make?

What if the Iraqi people democratically elect a leader who hates America and wants to build Nuclear weapons so that America thinks twice before wondering in to their country again?

Could America justify going in and stopping them? Well they couldn’t claim they were freeing a people from oppression. Except I suppose themselves.

I always expected a move prior to the conflict in Iraq which never materialised. Why didn’t Iraq demand weapons inspectors go into America?

It would have been quite easy to convince the UN that Iraq believed it was under threat from America. That their president who was not elected democratically*, was stockpiling weapons in preparation for an invasion of their county. All of that was true so why weren’t weapons inspectors sent to America?

In the end this sorry state of affairs has resulted in the end of one hateful oppressive regime, lets hope with the American presidential election coming up another one can be toppled.

George W. Bush represents might is right not might for right.

* Whatever you believe about what happened in Florida there is no denying that Al Gore received 539,898 more votes than George W. Bush in the election but only because the American “democracy” doesn’t believe in 1 person 1 vote Bush was elected. Honestly tell me that if you heard this weird system happening in some other country you wouldn’t be thinking that the UN would be going in to demand a recount.

Then does it impinge on their freedom?

Continuing our theme of America this week I feel it’s time to look at one of the most delicate subjects around “Freedom”.

Freedom is one of those things that seems completely simple until you try and explain it. But fear not because here’s a really handy way of explaining it that actually works.

You see the problem is that freedom in a society can’t mean the freedom to do whatever you want. That wouldn’t make any sense. Because if it meant I was free to do anything I could decide to go and blow somebody’s head off (with a gun or just by blowing – you see when you can do anything things can start to get silly). But here’s the problem what about that guy’s right to breathe? Well you could argue that you don’t care about him. But what about your right to breathe?

In the end you’re left with a nice simple workable system. We should be free to do anything as long as it doesn’t impinge on somebody else’s freedom. So freedom of speech should be supported for example as saying something about someone in a way that doesn’t impinge on their right to reply.

But the problem is the grey areas. And this is where a lot of the problems lie. We know the old rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But we also know that this isn’t really true. What if, to take the last example, someone was to say so many hurtful things to someone else that the other person is then unable to function because they are so depressed. Then does it impinge on their freedom? What about celebrities being linked to illegal acts? Have their rights been impinged? Of course they have.

The thing is that, as they say, the devil is in the detail. It’s a perfectly good theory. But it becomes very complicated once real life gets in the way.

You know I think I’ll wait until tomorrow before I tackle the kind of freedom that America wants to impose on Iraq.

Britain is Americas tragically hip dad

This last week there has been a lot of discussion about America and its place in the world. And one of the things that strikes me in relations to this is that a fair few British people hate America. In fact it’s a group of people Britons seem to be allowed to hate with a certain amount of impunity.

The amount of American culture in Britain is huge. The problem is that the British are drawn to its most base and stupid output. We love watching programs where Americans are stupid. Britain behaves, in lots of ways, like the critical parent.

It’s like we’re saying “Oh forget about Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Woody Allen, Tom Wolfe, Thomas Edison etc. You think you’re so smart with your multichannel television and nuclear technology. We don’t care about that America. When you come home we expect you to not swear, to stand up straight, and keep a clean nose.”

Britain is Americas tragically hip dad. We sit here dressed in clothes far too young for us and feel guilty about our need to be cool.

“I can’t believe that Jerry Springer”, we say while employing Trisha and Kilroy. “I can’t believe this President Bush” we say, while employing President Blair.

In the end it’s the classic Laius complex. Laius was Oedipus’ dad. We suffer from a love of America, and a deep sense of guilt about our love for America. It’s easier to hate America than to admit we hate ourselves for loving it.

So this week I think we might attempt a bit of a theme on the subject of America.