Posted by: Martin Scherer | 25/02/2011

Not another Iraq?


All the allies need to do is make sure it’s a fair fight and that is all the Libyan freedom fighters are asking for.

A year before his second inauguration G.W Bush said in London that the USA would stand by those who sought their freedom. After decades propping up dictators around the world, that was a seismic shift in US foreign policy. G.W repeated it in his second inauguration speech but he failed to live up to it.

When two boys have a bust up in the playground one does not intervene, but let them sort it out making sure the odds are even and keeping a careful eye they don’t cause permanent damage. Sorry girls if you think that is somewhat harsh, but if you don’t like it come up with an alternative solution. That is what the male of the species does, in every species you can name.

Playground fights nearly always occur because the underdog stands up to the playground bully As long as the fight is fair, the bully will usually be the first to run away, because the bully is always a coward. The underdog wins to become the hero of his mates and respectful of adults who let him prove it.

All the western allies need to do is tell the Libyan military they will blow their toy jets out of the sky if they use them against their own people. I think that is what the allies implied to the Egyptian military. That is what Clinton and Blair did in Kosovo. Milosevic did not believe it nut he crumbled when the allies showed they would.

That is what Regan and Thatcher implied to Gorbechev. “We are going to build star wars, and you will spend so much money trying to imitate that, it will bankrupt you, Mr Gorbechev. You won’t be able to do that and maintain repressive army in eastern Europe so you might as well give into Polish demands now, and if you do we will give you star wars Mr. Gorbechev. The wall fell down.

Star wars never existed. It was a brilliant ploy, as good as the day in WW2 the British dropped a fresh dead body on a European beach with full plans for allied invasion. The allies had no intention of that plan but the Nazis fell for it.

G.W’s failure was to stand in the bloody playground of Iraq trying to hold one little boy at arms length form the other. That solves nothing except to bring the so-called peacemaker into disrepute. Sooner or later the peacemaker feels like clipping one of the boys around the ear. Do that in the big world with guns and sooner or later the peacemaker commits a bloody Sunday. That was the stupid mistake, the British government made for thirty years in Northern Ireland. Trying to hold Catholics and Protestants at arms lengths. The British should have told the Irish, ”Its yours.”, but the British were too proud to do that.

G.W.’s mistake was falling for the old military machine claim – “We can do it”. Oh no you can’t, but boy could they make massive profits in the process. Army boys went to play guns to come home heroes with bits missing. When will we every learn?

America is the leader. The rest of the world knows if America does not agree it will not happen. But America is impotently standing by for fear of ghosts. America’s religious right believe revolution in Arab lands risks Europe flooded by Islamic extremists. Take a look at the BBC’s Panorama programme this week or wait for it to arrive on PBS. I get e-mails from Americans telling me the UK is close to becoming an Islamic state. Besides the offence, does anyone see what nonsense that is? The US is 65% white, but the UK is 85% white. The largest immigrant group into the UK in the last decade is Polish!

This is the Arab spring. An uprising of young westernised Arabs. Half of them gained a western education. They are proud of their ancient heritage. They read the message of peace and love in the Koran, if they read it at all. They justifiable want their freedom. When will we remember we were young once, and we wanted our freedom.

All the West needs to do, is tell the Arab military, “We sold you those weapons. We sold you those weapons for the justified defence of your country, not to use on your own people. Use them on your own people and we will blow them out of the sky.”

Learn to understand and trust the young. They are hungry for life, not death. All they want is a decent meal and the freedom to Twitter on Facebook and sell what they can on Google.



  1. Brilliant analysis. Spot on!

    • The response of many to the original post was understandably similar to yours Boyd.

      Today the British Prime Minster has publicly warned the Libyan authorities, to abide by international law in line with the recent UN declarations. There seems little point in issuing such warnings if one is not prepared to back them up.

  2. Following the UK Prime Minister, Hilliary Clinton now says ‘nothing is off the table’ with regard to Libya. Some gun-ho press now interpret that as the West preparing to invade Libya. I hope not.

    Look back:

    1990 Saddam Hussein was told to get out of the Gulf or face the West. Saddam braved it out and got knocked out

    1995 Milosovec was told stop killing your people or face the west. Milosovec did not believe it and got bombed

    2003 Saddam was told give up mass weapons or west will bomb. He did not believe it and got bombed. OK the peace went wrong.

    2011 Gaddafi is told stop or we will act. Despite their problems, the Arab states have now joined the west in that threat.

    It is interesting to note that the Zimbabwe dictator, Robert Mugabe, has now closed down the internet. There are more cell phones than land-lines in Africa. Mugabe is shivering in his boots and it is time the West told that dictator to go away. Next, North Korea.

    It is not the West’s job to tell another people what form of democracy to adopt, but we cannot claim to be civilised if we trade with countries that abuse basic human rights. It is our moral duty to support those people seeking their freedom. That is what G.W.Bush promised. Finally the West is doing it.

    This is a no brainer. If the West wants new markets and economic recovery, then we need to enable people to have economic freedom.

    The world is changing for the better. The history books are being re-written. Marching into Iraq was not wrong. What was wrong was to go without a plan for peace.

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