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Following each of the terrorist attacks of the last few years, including that of two weeks ago in London, George Bush, Tony Blair, and their associated administrations and political parties have roundly criticised the terrible jihad – deliberately mistranslated as ‘Holy war’ – which radicalised Muslim groups have declared against Western society. They conveniently seem to forget that it is not the radical groups which declared the war, but George Bush, when he declared a War on Terror.

According to my dictionary, war is

the waging of armed conflict against an enemy

Conflict. That involves retaliation. It’s a two-way thing. So how can our leaders declare a war, effectively beginning a two-sided conflict, and then condemn any attacks which come their way? They’ve said they are attacking their enemy, the enemy is providing a great deal less retaliation that the force which the coalition is putting forward. Can one imagine Churchill standing up and spouting about how it’s terrible that fifty British citizens should die in the war, when we’ve killed tens of thousands of innocent people in their home countries? Tony Blair and George Bush have announced that this is a war. They have to expect colateral damage on both sides, since that is a product of war. If they weren’t comfortable with that idea – and remain uncomfortable with it – then why declare war in the first place?

This post has been sat in ‘draft’ status for a few days now… Today, I notice that John Pilger has made a not-dissimilar point in his excellent article in this week’s New Statesman:

In 2001, in revenge for the killing of 3,000 people in the twin towers, more than 20,000 Muslims died in the Anglo-American invasion of Afghanistan. This was revealed by Jonathan Steele in the Guardian but never became news, to my knowledge. The attack on Iraq was the Rubicon, making the reprisal against Madrid and the bombing of London entirely predictable: this last “in response to the massacres carried out by Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan”, claimed the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda in Europe. Whether or not the claim was genuine, the reason was. Bush and Blair wanted a “war on terror” and they got it. Omitted from public discussion is that their state terror makes al-Qaeda’s appear minuscule by comparison. More than 100,000 Iraqi men, woman and children have been killed not by suicide bombers, but by the Anglo-American “coalition”, says a peer-reviewed study published in the Lancet, and largely ignored.

In fact, go and read that article – it makes the points rather more eloquently than me, even if I don’t agree with everything he says. Plus, it’ll save me finishing off this post. Go read.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

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