I think its good to reaffirm the following aims;
Secularism, Universal Human Rights, Equality, Anti-racism (in all its forms), etc...
For this I congratulate the Eustonites, in generating publicity and discussion about these issues.
I also applaud them for criticising those on the left who use blanket anti-Americanism.
To all of this I can sign up.
What I can't sign up to however is the following;
A dismissal of the criticism of the present system as irrelevant or prejudiced and trying to close down legitimate debate on the root causes of terrorism (particularly in relation to Israel by cheaply dismissing criticism of Israel as anti-semite).
The Eustonites say they are open to debate and believe in historical truth, they should start with a reappraisal of their own culturally relativist assumptions (the dismissal of the 70 invasions and coups organised by the US since 1945).
Saying all this, their pro-war position could be honest if they acknowledged the US's murky motives.
As my dad says;
"Who would the Iraqis rather have ruling them, President Bush or President Saddam?"
It's a pathetic choice but most would probably plum for President Bush, but we cannot pretend this war wasn't about oil (at least in part). More honesty from the pro-war left would win them more support.
As for my position, I think the Iraq War was probably a mistake. In the midst of the current civil war the invasion looks a disaster. Only time will tell if democracy will take hold and prosperity restored to the Iraqis. The US have their 23 permanent bases there as well, which will continue to agitate the whole region, just like the troops based in Saudi did. Just as predicted, anti-western terrorism has been given a tremendous boost by this invasion and continues to benefit Al Qaida recruitment.
Then what about the numerous other brutal dictatorships around the world? Why no action on them? Why single out Iraq and Iran? Saudi Arabia is at least as bad in its human rights abuses and there are many African and Asian regimes that are worse. What about Mugabe? Why the kid gloves with North Korea?
But what about nuclear proliferation in Iran?
Well the US is quite happy to allow the dictatorship in Pakistan (a very unstable undemocratic Islamic state) to have nuclear weapons without any serious consequences. They are also quite happy for Israel to have them despite destabilising the whole region. Also where was the invasion of North Korea?
Let's not have blanket criticism of the US, but also let's not pretend their policies are all hunky dory.