The Cowards Of The Right

Paul Lowe
Pte. Paul Lowe, murdered by Bush and Blair

Relatives of the three Black Watch soldiers killed in Iraq have lashed out at the government’s decision to send them into a more dangerous zone.

The younger brother of Private Paul Lowe, 19, a Black Watch soldier himself who only recently returned from Basra, said his “brother, comrade and friend” had died in a war over “oil and money” and demanded his regiment return home.

Private Scott McArdle’s uncle condemned Tony Blair and George Bush for sending the troops into a “death trap”.
(Source: The Guardian)

I saw Craig Lowe speaking about his brother’s death on TV. He was fighting back tears, outraged that he’d never see his brother again. And for what? This is a pretty exact quote:

We think Bush is an an arsehole for starting a war over nothing, trying to get money and oil. That’s what Paul thought.
I think they should just get the boys out of there now. If not we’re going to lose a lot more than this.
(Source: The Mirror)

If you look at any of the comments on news articles or have a stronger stomach and can face Neocon websites, you’ll find them full of blustering blowhards. Everywhere you’ll see people, mostly men, calling anyone who’s demanding the withdrawal of Western troops from Iraq ‘disloyal’ and accusing them of not supporting the troops. Whether these right-wing nutters are British or American, the tenor is the same: forward into Fallujah! Anyone against war is a terrorist sympathiser! Antiwar protesters are cowards!

These people are entirely correct: I am a coward.

I avoid fistfights, I try to avoid disagreements with my friends and neighbours. I believe the most desirable way to sort out a difference is by talking, not brawling. Yes, if someone threatened me or my family, broke into my house, I would defend myself and, if necessary, kill them. I’m not a pacifist: I’d take someone else’s life if they threatened mine.

But I would never ask someone else to die for me.

Look at all the armchair generals laying out their strategy for the slaughter of Fallujah. They’re typing away from the comfort of their homes, while the US and UK troops are actually out there, getting killed every single day. And killing more Iraqi civilians. I want the bloodbath to stop. Yes, I don’t want any more Iraqi lives to be lost but I also don’t want one more US or UK soldier to be killed either.

That’s how I support the British troops in Iraq: I want them to live. I want them to come home to their families, alive and in one piece. Anyone who claims to support them by insisting they stay in the bloody deathtrap of Iraq has a unique definition of “support.” How can you support someone by sending them to their death? “You’ve got my support, mate, now get out there and die for Bush! We’re proud of you!”

The British troops in Iraq are not their fighting to protect Britain, they’re not destroying WMDs aimed at us as Blair claimed, they’re not even there to protect democracy. As Paul Lowe understood, they’re fighting Bush’s war for oil. And it’s obvious that the other families of Black Watch soldiers understand this too:

Nan Boyd, mother

I have spoken with my son a short time ago and they are very close friends of his. He is absolutely gutted tonight. If MPs had sons out there fighting they would soon bring them home. They just don’t care any more. God Bless every one of the lads out there and may God bring the rest of them home safe.
(Source: The Independent)

So, the next time you’re talking to some right-wing moron and they start the bullshit about “I support our troops” ask them this: if they support “our lads” so much, what are they doing over here?

If they believe in Bush’s War so much, why don’t they swap places with an American or British soldier, so that solider can go home? Why aren’t they out there fighting instead of just flapping their mouths? Tell them to go and enlist or shut the fuck up.

Or do they prefer, like Bush and Blair, to let other people’s children fight and die for their political beliefs?

Different Fireworks

Fallujah grief

Tonight has been full of booms and whistles, electric flashes and echoing, stuttering reports. A typical Bonfire Night. As I was driving to Long Eaton earlier on, the road was lit up in saturated bursts, rockets exploding over Acorn Way.

I was warm in my car, a hot meal in my fat belly, feeling safe and snug.

Now, at just coming up to 12.30am, most of the fireworks have died off. They’re over for another year.

But in Fallujah, their fireworks are just about to intensify. The US military has been pounding this civilian city for months, trying to kill any resistance to the US occupation and their puppet government. Of course, the US government claims that any bombing has been targeted at known “insurgent” hideouts. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the US occupation of Iraq is an insurgent. Which means that most Iraqis are insurgents and therefore, in a twisted way, the US military is targeting insurgents when it kills unarmed civilians cowering in their wrecked, cracked city.

Now, the US “liberators” are gathering their huge array of bombs and missiles in a new offensive against Fallujah.

It’s no coincidence that this offensive is taking place now. The election is over, if the attack goes badly (which in US terms only means excessive US casualties) you can’t take your vote back, can you? Bush waited rather than have shots of bodybags on the eve of an election. Some would call that politically shrewd, I’d just call it evil.

Here’s what life’s like in Fallujah:

When I hear bombs falling around my neighbourhood, I keep thinking – any moment now, I could be killed.
It is worst during the night, when the bombardment is most intense.
If a big bomb lands somewhere nearby, you often hear crying and wailing afterwards.
It is a very strange feeling because in between the screaming, there is the sound of more missiles flying.
That is when I think – I could be next.
Another sound you hear during the bombing is that of prayers. People pray loudly because they are so scared.
Sometimes, you hear people say quite unusual things – they improvise, making up their own prayers.
(Source: BBC News)

Do you remember how the Iraq invasion was sold to the world? Apart from the hunt for non-existent WMDs (now conveniently sidelined by Bush and Blair), it was sold as a liberation. The Iraqi people would pour onto the streets, welcoming the gum-chewing GIs. Happy Iraqi kids, smiling and giggling at their brave Western friends!

Use your eyes. Read the reports. Is that how it is?

All this talk of gangs of insurgents – if the Iraqi resistance truly was a handful of extremists, surely the best-equipped, best-trained military in the world could have beaten them by now? What you actually have in Iraq is an invading, occupying army being fought tooth and nail by the ordinary population.

Every time one of the invaders’ bombs kills an Iraqi, it simultaneously creates an enemy, an Iraqi who will remember the dead and hate the invader forever. And fight them at great personal risk. Can you imagine how terrifying it must be to fight the US military, with their Black Hawks and missiles and laser-guided bombs? And you’ve got perhaps some stolen mortars or an old Soviet bazooka? How desperate and angry must you be to take on the US forces?

There have been at least 100,000 Iraqis murdered by the invading Western forces. How many “insurgents” does that create?

Let’s turn this round…

Imagine if the Soviets had invaded the USA, as a pre-emptive attack. Imagine they’d laid siege to Oklahoma City (roughly the same population as Fallujah pre-siege). Imagine that they’d cut off all the roads in and out, stopping food shipments, everything. And then proceeded to shell it every single day, indiscriminately. Now, would the average American be happy with that? Say someone watched their family get blown to bits by a Soviet rocket attack, would they think, ‘Well, this occupying army is obviously just, I shall go and surrender to their authority.’ Or would she/he grab whatever weapon was available and try to kill as many Commies as they could? Of course, the Soviets would label anyone resisting them “counter-revolutionaries” which is nearly as handy a tag as “insurgent.”

During the fireworks tonight, I was trying to imagine what it must be like to be living in Fallujah now, to hear the continuous sound of the world’s mightiest military bombing your hometown to the ground. I imagined every bang to be a mortar landing nearby, every whoosh to be the trail of a guided missile. And the only choice you have is to leave your home, possibly ending up in a US torture camp, or stay in it and die.

And while you’re hiding in the dark, wondering whether you’re going to die before the food runs out, you can hear the sound of different fireworks in the sky.