Frankenstein and the Chickenhawks (2003)

ut rhetoric is
better than nothing at all, because it allows the Western anti-war movement to remind its
leaders of what they said, and what they promised. Similarly, the vigilance the movement
promises will be an important force in pressurisng the invading forces on the nature of the
promised democracy in Iraq; and the use of oil revenues for the economic development of the
country rather than paying for the invasion itself; and the nature and beneficiaries of
reconstruction contracts.
The Bush-Blair axis seems to have made no effort to resist the temptation of easy military
victory with few casualties which the technology offers. The anti-war movement also has its
temptations, but these have to be resisted. There is for example that perverse wishful thinking
from the Gulf War, that the invading forces will have a tough time. The inequality in
armaments is far greater this time. The greater temptation is for hoping that from a fascistic
dictatorial regime, a popular anti-colonialist resistance will form. It is not unnatural to want to
see US military power-so frightening in its capability — to be discomforted, but to wish for more
deaths goes against the grain of the movement. Having opposed the war in the first place and
now faced with yet another fait accompli, it is not an ethical question we should be faced with,
but what will have to be resisted is the temptation to want American-British axis to act as
viciously as possible, simply so that we could say with grim relish, “we told you so.” The
abstractions are there to be resisted, and the fewer people killed the better.
The anti-war movement has not stopped ‘the inevitable’ and the opinion polls show that in
Britain too, its support slipped from well-over to well-below 50% in the period between the
demonstration of 16th February and the start of the invasion, just as something similar
happened in the USA a little earlier. Opinion polls reflect a passive form of decision-making,
the problem for the active opposition of the anti-war movement was precisely the drawn-out
nature of the ‘diplomatic process’ accompanied by ‘no decision has yet been taken’. For many
people, February 16th was the first march they had been on, and for many more it was an allday
effort, with coaches coming from Wales and the north of England, starting at dawn and
returning late at night. For most it did not further their careers or the size of a particular
political gropescule. In these circumstances to try and reproduce anything as powerful was
impossible. From then on, the pro-war media made it into a numbers game, just as