Two things in my life recently have got together and spawned a love child that is currently busy setting up its nest in my brain. As Agent Cooper put it, "when 2 separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention!" The disctinctive parents this week are the oft-here-mentioned film The Fog of War, and the currently-ongoing discussion regarding the Butler Report.
The first has allowed me to see a little into the usually-murky minds of Those Who Run The Country, and the second has allowed me to apply this insight to a particular climactic real-world example.
All of which has given me a greater glimpse into the pro-war argument. Not from the point of view of many, in that the short-term, terrorist-hiding abilities of Iraq have been disrupted, and that the Iraqi people are "free" - no, this is a viewpoint that has never sat comfortably with me for some reason that maybe I'll go into at some point.
And I have believed for a long time, and continue to do so, that much of the reason for the war is the safe passage of oil from the middle East to the West. I still simultaneously realise that in order to trade with people (including for oil), you need people that are willing to trade with you - this in itself is a kind of "forced capitalism", and probably inherently leads to more nepotistic practice, rather than a "truly free market" as some would prefer.
But when Tony Blair says that "Iraq, the region, the wider world is a better and safer place without Saddam," I think what he actually means is that he thinks the world is safer because there is now a relatively-small, but extremely high-profile example of the US/UK's poster-child, "democracy" - and with it capitalism. Iraq, like Israel, is a wake-up call to the fanatical religious sections of the world - an emotional appeal to those that, perhaps, some in the West see as "trapped" by religion. Perhaps this is the "freedom" that our leaders speak of? The point of Iraq is to say to the rest of the non-capitalist world, "look, democracy works, capitalism works, and you can be like this too." It is a direct export of our values and our way of life, the path of which has already been laid down by our global communications - our infiltrative, subcultural broadcast of an MTV faith.
This is about long, long, long term changes to the world. In some ways, it is about unity. In others, it is about a different kind of oppression, a much larger, much more co-ordinated ruling, powerful elite. It is an altruistic attitude, but one that imposes itself without any consideration, like a self-righteous, sweeping busybody. I am not sure whether it has confidence in itself, though.
And my understanding of it is now powerful enough to begin challenging my laissez-faire side. I agree to some extent with the view above, but am not certain that its action sare justified. Do you, at the essential times, take a motherly control over others and get them to do things they may not want in order to open their eyes? Or should you let people evolve of their own accord, make their own mistakes, and allow them to ultimately come to some conclusion that is sustainable, and understood - most importantly - by themselves?
I am still quite happy pursuing the latter.