March 29, 2003

NELSON ASCHER WRITES:

I don’t know how the antiwar Europeans will react to Anglo-American-Australian victory, but one thing is sure: they won’t identify with it and from this to a feeling of also having been defeated is just a small step. Their sense of impotence after so many protests might be overwhelming. I wouldn’t be too surprised at seeing the Western European psyche beginning [to] resemble, in many significant ways, the Arab one.

Worrisomely plausible: the same mix of entitlement, infatuation with an imagined grand history, and impotent fecklessness in the present. It fits well with this column by Steven Glover in which we learn:

A friend of mine said to me the other day that he hoped lots of Americans were killed because the United States would be brought down a peg or two. I suspect there are many people, otherwise decent and enlightened, who would like this war to be prolonged and bloody. They may even in a twisted sort of way want lots of Iraqi civilians to be killed because their deaths will vindicate the anti-war arguments. If we did not care about our reputations, if we did not in our silly, selfish way wish always to be shown to be right, we would all ardently hope for the war to be ended as soon as possible with as few deaths as possible, and with Saddam Hussein safely under lock and key. This is, in truth, what every person and every journalist should wish for, whatever their opinions on the war. But I am not sure it is what the Daily Mirror or John Pilger or the (admittedly brilliant) Robert Fisk of the Independent wants. One feels that, whatever happens, they and their sometimes less openly anti-war colleagues in the media will continue to say that the war is not going as well as the allies expected, and they will declare a successful outcome to be deeply unsatisfactory. The war will go on in the newspaper columns and on the airwaves long after the last shot has been fired, as journalists fight to show that they were right.

As Iain Murray comments: “It is saddening to think that these people probably think they are behaving ‘ethically’. They aren’t, and this needs to be pointed out time and time again.”

Indeed it does. Even in Tennessee.