John Harris has a go at What’s Left? in today’s Guardian. They key quote is: ‘many people have rightly concentrated on getting to the bottom of the deceit and ineptitude that made the war such a catastrophe, while most of the big British trade unions have, for example, got down to work with sister Iraqi organisations’. So they have, but I wonder if he knew that before he read the book and wonder how many Labour Friends of Iraq meetings he has been to.
If he hasn’t made a committment, and I hope he has, then the best analysis of his behaviour comes from the review by the anti-war Paul Anderson I link to below.
“Cohen’s central thesis is absolutely to the point. Most opponents of the war who did not share the “revolutionary defeatism” of Galloway and the SWP or the reactionary politics of their Islamist allies turned a blind eye to them. They certainly did nothing to distance themselves publicly – let alone anything to seize leadership of the anti-war movement.
And since 2003 the obsession of most people on the non-Leninist left who opposed the war – I know there are honourable exceptions – has simply been to get their own back on George Bush and Tony Blair for starting it. For the parochial self-righteous left, the important thing about the growing sectarian strife in Iraq is not that it threatens to turn into a full-scale civil war that then engulfs the whole Middle East. It is that it shows Bush and Blair were wrong three years ago — just as we said they were. Pinning the blame on Bush and Blair and demonstrating we were right matters more than working out how best to support the Iraqi people against the murderous militias terrorising their country. It’s comfortable collective political narcissism, no more.”