Skip navigation

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO THE GUARDIAN ON AN ARTICLE SUGGESTING WHAT GALLIPOLI TEACHES US ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR

Gallipoli was a terrible blunder, a pet project of the same Winston Churchill who gave the world more than his fair share of arrogant ideas and barbarities, including, later, the first mass bombings of German cities, well before Hitler’s bombings.

Churchill was always an advocate of imperialism and plenty of “backbone in war” stuff, and he was fond of referring to Germans as “Huns.”

Yet his is a seemingly benign and heroic figure in history. You can’t help emotionally responding to some of his eloquent speeches and old news photos even now.

Chamberlain, a genuinely decent man in many respects who wanted to avoid a repeat of the Western Front’s unbelievable horror just 20 years later, comes down to us as a somewhat disreputable figure, in no small measure because of the contempt heaped upon him by Churchill.

The word appeasement was used and has since become a favorite insult from the ignorant Right Wing which virtually always wants war and more war.

Of course the entire set of horrors and issues around the Second World War wouldn’t exist had not Britain entered the completely pointless First World War, one its chief cheerleaders for doing so being Churchill. The only outcome of a German victory in 1914 would have been a European Continent dominated by Germany, which is exactly what we have anyway today. But Churchill’s love of British imperialism could not stand the thought of that.

I shouldn’t say “the only outcome” because the other result, an even larger one, of Germany’s success in 1914 would have been no Hitler, no World War II, no invasion of Russia with 27 million killed, and no Holocaust.

People are so easily swayed by emotional words and appealing faces, and they lose the rational aspect of their minds to the rhetoric and backstage lever-pulling of men like Churchill. Democratic politics frequently yields to the superficial charm and secret deadliness of psychopathic personalities. Witness the recent examples of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Tony Blair – all with their smiles and murders and plots possessing varying degrees of psychopathy, to a certainty.

The smarmy Tony Blair years later dedicated all his talents to making an illegal and unnecessary invasion, which we now know killed a million people, seem reasonable and morally right.

He was rewarded afterwards by immense wealth, having served the interests of immensely wealthy people, while the poor people of Iraq were left a disgusting mess of broken infrastructure, no reliable water and power, poisons and explosives everywhere, millions of refugees, no jobs, no hopes, and constant ripples of violence.

Large parts of our people still respond like murderous chimps thumping their chests at the right words put in their ears by the establishment through figures like Churchill and Blair.

I don’t see the author’s suggestions as helpful, and I don’t see any corrective for the foreseeable future. The ugly system we have works for those with power and influence, and it will keep right on working. Only the most fundamental changes in our political institutions offer any hope, and that only far into the future, if ever.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: