so i've been reading nick cohen's 'what's left?'. once i've finished it i might write more but i've some things it's made me think of.
as i read it, there's a lot i agree with, but i do try and read critically and i know i'm easily convinced by text. there's also something deep down that i can't formulate yet that i resent about the book, but hopefully if i don't listen to my walkman too much i'll be able to drag it up.
something i know i disagree with is his smearing of the anti-globalisation movement - 'they can't even decide on a name' (not a direct quote) being one of his criticisms. they're a diverse, pluralistic bunch. they're protesting at exactly the same kinds of things he's writing about - the failure of western governments to act effectively in times of need. mainly, i just don't think you can make generalisations about 'the anti globalisation movement'. cohen seems to assume that they're one thinking block, and then criticises them when they don't think or act like it. and then criticises the middle class herd instinct. and then criticises people who criticise people both ways.
one thing its reminded me of was my reasons for protesting about the iraq war. cohen begins the book with a long hard look at just how bad saddam was, stuff i never knew. so why was i against removing him from power? well that's the thing isn't it - i wasn't. but i didn't want a war. i guess the question is, what did i want? what was my big idea for getting rid of saddam? as i admitted at the time, i didn't have one. as i said at the time, something had to be done about him. the reason why i went on the anti-war march was because i was so fucking furious at our government. there were clearly no wmds, so that was a lie, despite half the american public at the time believing they had in fact been found, a belief created by suggestion and falsification - i remember enumerable reports saying things like 'we've definitely found evidence in this dump now, we just need to send them away for testing but this looks like it'. it was clearly not a humanitarian mission - the iraqis had been in dire straits since they'd been abandoned after the last gulf war, when instead of taking out saddam, they'd just contained him at the saudi's bequest. if blair had been the pretty straight guy he lied he was, he would have said 'look, right, there's absolutely no reason why we should go into iraq now instead of twenty years ago. but this is the time the americans are doing it, and whatever reason they have for going in, it's going to make iraq a better place because saddam is _that bad_,' i'd have had to say i agreed with him. the only thing is having a villain like saddam means you can get away with still being absolutely terrible, and playing the 'not as bad as the last guy' card, right? so you can go in, and gut the public services, and sell the whole fucking country to your friends' companies and leave it in a state of terror, whoops, people don't thank you. that moment that soldier put an american flag over the statue of saddam's head was terrifying. i remember i said to alex adkins at the time, i know no matter how many people march, it won't change anything, they'll invade iraq. but i wanted blair to know we were watching and we cared and if he was going to do it, he'd better not fuck it up. and they did. depends on who you listen to, as to whether it's better or worse than under saddam, depending on their bias. so we'll not know unless we listen to the iraqis. ourselves.
i'm not going to re-read this and edit it today. so sorry if it's a bit shit.