julian barnes on peaceniks and warniks
Whether or not you think writers have a worthwhile perspective on world events, at least they write about it well:
“So, peacenik, you lost. We told you so. Sure, it wasn’t exactly the pushover we’d war-gamed. The Iraqis didn’t rise in rebellion as we promised, the flower-throwing was a little tardy, but that was just because we’d underestimated how terrorised they were. Still, a three-week campaign with a couple of hundred coalition dead; the end approaches, and the Iraqis are dancing on fallen statues. Soon your fellow peaceniks can start trucking in the relief and nation-building can begin. May I hear a squeak of rejoicing?
So, warnik, you think you’ve won? Please consider this. On Monday afternoon your guys thought they had found Saddam in a restaurant. A US plane dropped four very clever 2,000lb bombs on it. The next night, BBC News showed an enormous crater and its correspondent said that no one who might have been there could have got out alive. According to Peter Arnett, the sacked NBC correspondent, the targeted restaurant was still intact, but three neighbouring houses were reduced to rubble instead. According to most people, Saddam escaped. When asked about this, Torie Clarke, the US defence spokeswoman, said crisply: “I don’t think that matters very much. I’m not losing sleep trying to figure out if he was in there.”
This war was not worth a child’s finger by Julian Barnes.