Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Why I am a liberal #2 - The War on Terror


I was asleep when the first of the Twin Towers got hit in 2001. I was working nights that summer and I was asleep, to be woken up by my boyfriend at the time, shaking me awake and telling me that I "better watch this". We all, as I suppose everyone did, for hours watching the events unfold, which I'm sure I don't need to detail again. We didn't know what to think or say, so said very little.  It was the next couple of years, when my fledgling liberal nature started to agitate itself to the edge of the nest and take a look over, and test it's wings.

I'd voted Lib Dem before, but more out of dislike for "the other two" than anything else. 

I probably had more sympathy with Labour, well not that really but I was swept along with the euphoria of 1997, which by 2002, certainly for my generation had settled down to ambivalence - tuition fees, abandoning Assisted Places, sleaze and corruption, New Labour's love affair with the affluent - the critical thinking amongst me and my peers were wondering  "are we SURE they are any better than the last lot?" 

I'm pretty much a pacifist or liberal in the internationalist sense, and I was then as well. So, as I saw Bush and Blair start to build the case for war, and felt in my gut there was something profoundly wrong with what they were doing - the sense of unease only grew when Colin Powell brandished his test tube at the United Nations, when we were suddenly told about the infamous 45 minutes, when Blair seemed so anxious and full of zeal. He seemed desperate to convince us this was the ONLY thing we could do (I never like being presented with just one option), and the implausibility of being attacked by Al-Queda but having to attack Iraq in return.... that I realised how small the individual actually is in our world. 

And there was one party, only one party that opposed the Iraq War. I voted for it whenever I could. I still do. I think I always will.


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