Churchill had many famous quotes, but in one he put it that it was “better to jaw jaw than to war war”.
John Key meanwhile thinks there is no options between ignoring things and war.
He’s accused “the left” (that hideous amorphous beast, that I’m sure lives around here somewhere) of “hypocrisy” because “they” criticise him for not raising human rights abuses with our trading partners and not having an opinion on apartheid – and then having the temerity not to want to sacrifice Aotearoan lives in a hopeless cause in an oil-rich state.
Phil Goff has pointed out that Key seems unconcerned about atrocities in Saudi Arabia (our friends), so why does Key make such distinctions between oil-rich states on the other side of the world? Surely that’s where the hypocrisy is?
There is no hypocrisy in us here on “the left” wanting our leaders to jaw jaw about human rights problems – and use our new-found clout on the Security Council not to improve our trading possibilities but to angle for those who can’t protect themselves and make the world a better place – and then not wanting to war war in Iraq.
History shows us how many (the Lancet says 100s of thousands) have died because of the last US invasion there. Was that a human rights improvement?
“The left” wanted rid of Saddam, sanctions seemed to be hurting the people they were meant to protect, but is the IS-ridden Iraqi state the improvement the last war promised?
There are some who say those who participated in that war (not us!) have a moral duty to get rid of this hydra they have created, and there is a certain argument there.
What Iraq would look like if, when the US pursued “regime change”, Donald Rumsfeld hadn’t been in charge of the Pentagon – protecting the oil sites & ministry while the rest of Iraq’s people and culture burned and was looted – is an open question. If the US hadn’t split their resources between Afghanistan and Iraq, and had gone in trying to make it better for the common people, they may have been able to improve things, but that’s not what happened.
So yes, something needs done to clean up their mess – but us joining their war, and having no control over it isn’t likely to help. Afghanistan showed how our soldiers were stuck between releasing Taleban to attack them again, or handing them over to US prisons in a move that risked war crimes charges against our troops for the subsequent torture within. Why put our troops in that situation again?
Far better to provide humanitarian aid to those suffering, support diplomatic efforts, and leave the war to those who started this mess – and can take responsibility for their actions.