Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, June 29, 2004
PUTTING A RATIONAL THINKER, like Dr Fouad Ajami, up against sixties hang-over Tariq Ali is Gastropod Adams's idea of a debate.

It means that our host can put on the waist-coat of Elder Statesman, since Ali needs little stroking to sound like our Gastropod, politically speaking. In fact he is our Gastropod, but with a brain where the true Gastropod keeps his stomach.

The subject is the future of Iraq, on which even the New York Times's correspondent John Burns surprises himself with optimism
But it's interesting that the initial reactions, at least, were not protest but celebration, so a very early sign that is encouraging for the new Government in all of this.
But then, Burns had persuaded himself that the Abu Ghraib abuses had denied the US occupation and its project of re-construction of all legitimacy among the Iraqi people.

Tariq Ali doesn't need the assistance of hopeless research skills to demand immediate US withdrawal from Iraq. He has his ideology, and that is above all evidence.

Sure Ali thinks Saddam should have been overthrown, but thirty years ago, not last year.

And not really this year either, since the only way to overthrow a tyrant is from within, "organically". Not such a great idea if it's your organs that are being spread over the floor of the torture chamber.

In any case, Ali knows the Iraqi people, if given a vote today, would throw the US out, and that's what should happen. Just as the 'insurgents' want. The insurgents' program is simply dictated by the injustice of US occupation.

How instant popular democracy is to be achieved is not Ali's problem since he, like all hard leftists pretending to take part in the democratic process, is an impossibilist.

And Allawi is, of course, tainted by his past associations with the CIA. No need to define who is pure enough, and well-enough connected, to take the job in his place.

If your spouse were a domestic Tariq Ali equivalent you'd say he/she was passive-aggressive and call in the counsellor. In Tariq Ali's case, he gets paid large fees for lecture tours to make other hard leftists feel good about themselves.

Just as our Phil agrees that Australian democracy provides no real choices.

Once again Auntie demeans public debate by creating an intellectual equivalence between idiot leftism and policy analysis.