Air-kissing the terrorists - call it Luvvies Actually
OSAMA Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda pose us with the same moral problem as Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in September 1939. Do we line up behind the only two leaders ready to resist these reactionaries, George W Bush and Tony Blair? Or do we appease a gang of political criminals who hate the modern world, whether it be in Bali or Baghdad, in America or in Morocco?
Already the Irish public intellectuals have given their answer. Like their grandfathers in 1939 they are going to stand on the sidelines, treat the fight against terrorism as a spectator sport, and if not quite leaving their armchairs to support the IRA, they are certainly going to parrot its Second World War propaganda and argue that America and Britain are the real aggressors.
But this time around instead of being in thrall to German fascists the Irish pundits are in thrall to British left luvvies. You will never hear an anti-Bush party line on RTE that has not already been aired on the BBC. Most anti-Bush abuse does not come from working-class mouths. It comes in the cut-glass accents of the upper-class Trot, from a Tony Benn, a Vanessa Redgrave or a Glenda Jackson, gripped by colonial guilt. But if the Irish luvvies take their general line from Islington Trots, they take their particular political pathologies about America and Britain in the Middle East from Robert Fisk.
Last Friday, in an article about the Turkish atrocity, he argued that the Al-Qaeda attacks are the price America and Britain are paying for Israel and Iraq. Fisk himself seemed to feel there might be a logical, if not a moral, lacuna in that lunatic argument because he defensively added: "And of course merely to point out that the British are now paying the price for George Bush's infantile attempt to re-shape the Middle East in Israel's favour will attract the usual venom."
Far from wanting to pour venom on Fisk, I think he does us a favour by being so forthright. For my money his analysis of Middle East politics is a first cousin to believing that aliens take away people in flying saucers. Because Fisk feeds the big BBC-RTE lie that links Al-Qaeda's attacks to Israel or Iraq - although Al-Qaeda would welcome neither a secular Palestinian state, nor a secular democracy in Iraq. Al-Qaeda's aim is not the extinction of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state, but the extinction of the Enlightenment (especially in modernising Muslim countries) and the establishment of a Taliban-style tyranny in any state it can control. These aims long ante-date the war in Iraq. Every expert agrees that the attacks on the Twin Towers were planned when Bill Clinton was President - indeed, he issued a solemn warning about Al-Qaeda just before he left office. Al-Qaeda would have carried out the attacks it planned while Clinton was in the White House or if Al Gore had been elected.
By the grace of God he wasn't because Gore would have gone waffling around the United Nations until Osama bin Laden was convinced, like Hitler before him, that America had a soft gut, that the first-line fighter for the Western world would throw in the towel if given another few good punches. Luckily for the free world, George W Bush won by a whisker. That close shave means that America has a President in place, who, like Lincoln and Roosevelt before him, is ready to fight slavers and fascists to a finish. Like them too, Bush had to be economical with the truth so as to push a pacifist people into a war they didn't want to fight, but needed to fight.
Lincoln sold a war against slavery as a war for the Union. Roosevelt rushed America into war against the Nazis, although Hitler did not pose any immediate threat to the USA. Likewise Bush and Blair had to waffle about weapons of mass destruction because their countries were sunk in comfortable pacificism and couldn't see that Saddam Hussein, a proven political criminal, could cause havoc in the Middle East. Anyone watching the twits tearing down Bush's statue in Trafalgar Square - beneath a statue of Nelson who died fighting Napoleon's tyranny - would know why the Iraq war had to be sold hard. The twits said they were demonstrating against the war in Iraq.
Against a war which deposed a tyrant whose thugs are now waging a war to restore repression.
Were they also demonstrating against Bush's new and noble foreign policy to foster democracy at any cost?
Against his decision to break with the corrupt "elites" who had been cultivated by his father? Against his intention to hand Iraq back to the Iraqis? Against his stark and sombre support for a Palestinian State? No matter. Because the luvvies' attempt to paint Bush as a thick Texan has backfired badly. Showing iron integrity the anti-war Independent accepted that he was no fool.
As Mary Dejevksy asked on its front page: "Where was the tongue-tied Texan? For aPresident who made his reputation as a tongue-tied buffoon with a fine line in malapropisms, this was a bravura performance."Bush's brilliant speeches, delivered with a deadpan sensitivity, have put pressure on the Bowling for Columbine lobby.
His honesty and determination came across on television andappeals to the decent majorityin Britain and Ireland who are afraid of Al-Qaeda and well aware that the luvvies are delinquents with double standards. Because if Fidel Castro, who hates Cuban homosexuals, or Robert Mugabe, who hates black democrats, arrived in London the left luvvies would respectively cheer the first and ignore the second. But they treat Bush, who has fought two wars against two repressiveregimes, as some kind of Texanterrorist.
What a good comic movie it would make.
Hugh Grant, a decent middle-class Brit who is secretly glad Saddam is gone, has to fake anti-Bush feelings or lose the love of Deirdre from Dundalk, a cultural studies student whose mother (played by Glenda Jackson with a bad Irish accent) exorcises her colonial guilt and celebrates her Celticism in the final scene by impaling herself on the gates of Buckingham Palace.
Call it Luvvies Actually .