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« Edward Said | Main | Those Liberal Democrat predictions »

September 29, 2003

Comments

ilana

What about if the question is: "Do you believe we ALWAYS have a moral obligation to free the people of a prison-state from an unspeakable dictatorship?" Although pro-war myself, I think this was the unspoken question worrying many of the more coherent anti-war protesters.

Peter Cuthbertson

Dobson was on Breakfast with Frost yesterday grinning broadly that his government's disgusting plans to discriminate against the children of parents who buy the best education they can for their kids - and therefore leave more unused resources in the state sector for everyone else - were now having to give up their hopes of getting their kids a top class education because they knew that if they did their children would be denied places at the best universities. No amount of contempt is insufficient for a man who can happily persecute middle England in this way and then greet them giving up their aspirations in response as a wonderful sign of egalitarianism.

I was sat in the same train carriage as Dobson last year and asked him for an interview for my local newspaper. He obviously thought the idea of him, an elected politician, giving his views to a member of the public, was a gross infringement. If I'd asked permission to castrate him he couldn't have looked more unnerved.

Guessedworker

Oliver,

International relations are far too complex to admit of any single, guiding rule, moral or otherwise, beyond the national interest. Would you have us declare war on Iran or Saudi Arabia?

Franklin

> Would you have us declare war on Iran or Saudi Arabia?

Let me rephrase that question: if a democratic country declares war on Saudi Arabia with a long term goal to establish democracy there you take to the streets to protest?

warlord

"Do you believe we ALWAYS have a moral obligation to free the people of a prison-state from an unspeakable dictatorship?"
War with every prison-state is obviously not a practical proposition; it is in our own interest to reserve the right to break down the prison doors at a time of our own choosing. Let the dictators worry about the next "Pearl Harbour".

Peter Cuthbertson

I agree with warlord. A dictator's oppression of his own people gives us the right to depose him, but not the obligation. I would certainly oppose an invasion of Saudi Arabia in which British troops were killed if I did not think it served the British national interest. It's all very well for those Saudis who survive the war if they get a better government at the end of the invasion, but why should we be the ones who have to fight and die for their good governace?

As a general rule, we should only attack a country if the gain to the British national interest of removing an enemy regime is greater than the advantage to the British national interest of keeping our own troops safe. The protection of the broader British national interest is not only sufficient justification for war - it is in my view virtually a necessary condition for it, also. If there are exceptions to this rule, they are few.

John Farren

If national interest is the essential consideration, it is also possible to look at things another way. In present circumstances, the removal of morally obnoxious regimes may very often be in the national interest, due to the the social and political effects of autocratic states on entire regions of the world.

Alan Peakall

Since Frank Dobson's record is under examination, I recommend thinking back to January 1993. Four months after Black Wednesday, the December 1992 unemployment figures were due out. When released, they confounded commentators' expectations by remaining just short of the three million mark. Dobson, as opposition employment spokesman, greeted the news in the House of Commons by denouncing the figures as 'a fiddle or a freak'. In fact they proved to mark the start of the downward trend that was sustained through the rest of the decade. Schadenfreude is something most opposition politicians luxuriate in from time to time, but Dobson's frustration at being denied the prey for which he was salivating was egregious.

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