Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Be careful what you wish for, Harold

Pinter demands war crimes trial for Blair

"How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought," [Harold Pinter] said.

"Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the international criminal court of justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the international criminal court of justice ...

"But Tony Blair has ratified the court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the court have his address if they're interested: it is Number 10, Downing Street, London."

Predicting the future is a mug’s game, but I’ll be that mug and predict that the most damaging legacy of the protracted and media-saturating violent aftermath of the Iraq invasion will be the return of to the Anglosphere of Realpolitik in international affairs.

Given the unpopularity of the Iraq invasion and the relentless ferocity of the pounding they’ve received from the Left and the mainsteam media, few politicians following Bush and Blair will want to risk putting ideals and principles of liberal democracy at the forefront of foreign policy.

So we can look forward to plenty of blind eye-turning and two-faced cosying up to exactly the kind of regime to which Amnesty International demands we write cross letters.

Or as most American bloggers might put it: move over Churchill, Chamberlain’s back in town.

Of course, the anti-American Left damns you if you do and damns you if you don’t, so they will be equally critical of Realpolitik. “Saddam was America’s creature!” they cried. But every issue is always easy when all you have to do is criticise and never have to act, which is why it is impossible to take the anti-American left seriously.


martpol said...

Pinter is not exactly the most temperate commentator on war, it has to be said. But once again your fundamental mistake is to lump together the "anti-American Left" as if it as a single mass of unreflective numbskulls.

The left doesn't demand that no international action is not taken. For example, many on the left are (whether they know it or not) actually siding with the U.S. at present on the issue of genocide in Darfur, demanding strong and immediate international intervention.

Unless by "the anti-American left" you simply mean "that portion of the left which bases its beliefs largely on an unthinkingly anti-American stance", which is an unfortunately vocal minority rather than the hub of the left.

Brit said...

I can only play what's put in front of me. If the majority are silent, how can I know what their views are?

Peter Burnet said...


many on the left are (whether they know it or not) actually siding with the U.S. at present...

Perhaps, but the left has this irksome tendency to automatically switch sides the moment they realize that.

Hey, how is that opus you've been promising us coming along?

Brit said...

It is very common to hear the same left-winger attack the US and Britain both for allowing Saddam to exist and for removing him, in consecutive sentences.

Which is ok, so long as you accept that it is just complaining, not criticising.

martpol said...


It's in the pipeline, I promise. The challenge is keeping it down to a length people will be prepared to read...

Harry Eagar said...

Since I have been having a lot to say about ultimate punishments, I'll offer that war crimes trials -- even for people who deserve them -- have not worked out very well.

I did a calculation once (I've forgotten which criminal, though I remember the result vividly) that upon conviction, the punishment for murder worked out to, per murder, about four minutes imprisonment.