Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Tim Blair reacts to the protests pretty much as I have:
HAVING HAD a couple of days to consider the implications of the massive worldwide street protests and the apparent resurgence of the international Left, here is my response:

What did we find out from these marches? That a lot of people oppose the U.S. attacking Hussein. ...And? Surely we knew this? A large portion of the demonstrators were Islamist sympathizers, Lephtist wingnuts, and others with axes to grind, but I'll grant that quite a few were "regular folks" with good intentions who simply think this war is a bad idea. I'll even grant that some of those actually gave the matter a good deal of thought, and are not just demonstrating their stupid "war is bad" reflex. So what? This war is not an attempt to gain popularity; it's a response to what is seen -- correctly, in my view -- as a strategic necessity. That lots of people oppose it is entirely beside the point. Either it's necessary or it isn't, and if it's necessary, then no amount of large-scale slogan-shouting should stop it.

Jim Henley points out this Jack Straw quote from the thoroughly anti-U.S. Daily Mirror:

The Foreign Secretary acknowledged the sheer size and strength of feeling against a potentially devastating new Gulf war.

He told the BBC: "It was a very, very large demonstration, probably the largest one we've seen in our recent democratic history in London. We have to take account of public opinion."
No, actually, they do not, and anyone who governs this way is not worth his cabinet seat. If you honestly believe the war to be a necessity, then you support it even if it means your own political suicide. If you don't believe going to war is worth losing the next election, then it sure as hell ain't worth the lives of your soldiers. Only fascists with complete control over their press go to war to boost their popularity; for everyone else, it's a grave political risk; attacking Germany, even after its invasion of Poland, was not exactly a popular notion in Britain or France, either.

Which is why, while I am aware of the large-scale opposition to attacking Iraq, I don't really give a damn. It's totally beside the point.

Update: Bush says:

"Size of protest, it's like deciding, 'Well I'm going to decide policy based up on a focus group.' The role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security — in this case — security of the people."


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