War has been inevitable for some time, but its timing has been unclear until today. As I write this, MPs are voting on whether to support the government’s position to support president Bush’s unilateral and illegal invasion. Despite massive opposition by the British public, it looks unlikely that our elected representatives will take much notice of this fact.
We (the public) also keep being told that regardless of our opposition and protests before the war, we must support the government and British forces once they head into battle. Is this right? I’m not sure. If I was opposed to the war beforehand, why should I suddenly flip over to back the government and rah-rah for the troops?
(Update: the votes are in. 217 MPs voted for the amendment, 396 voted against. Current estimate is that 139 Labout MPs voted against the government. I’ve emailed my MP, Nigel Griffiths, to see which way he voted.)
On the one hand, I would like to see my position that this war is a really bad idea vindicated. I’m confident that no matter what happens over the next couple of weeks, history will bear this out. But a faster way for this to become apparent would be for America and Britain to be handed a bloody nose on the field of battle.
On the other hand, one of the reasons I am so opposed to the war is that so many people are going to die as a direct consequence of it. Regardless of Saddam Hussein’s human rights abuses, and general wickedness, it’s our governments that are giving the orders for people to be killed. The best way to minimise these casualties would be not to go to war at all. Failing that, there are likely to be fewer people dead if the war is fought effectively by British and American troops, and is over quickly.
So I either secretly wish for bloodshed and a hairy furball of a conflict, or I wish for an outcome that will leave George Bush vindicated and smirking in the short term. I find both options quite distasteful.