It is a tribute to the power of political blogging that the Times is prepared to devote several column inches to a whingeing reply to this blog. Or perhaps its simply a sign of the intellectual decline of the Times. I am pretty surprised to find even a Murdoch paper publishing this:
Now suppose, that I were to write an article for this paper in which I began by telling readers that Craig Murray was not just wrong and oddly ill-informed, but that he was also – let’s say – a chinless, adulterous, anti-Semitic clown whose vanity and incontinence had led to him damaging those very causes that he claimed to care for so much. My editors wouldn’t have stood for it, and the readers would have thought less of me for it. Yet in several of the more lionised and supposedly political websites that influence some of our journalists, this is exactly the level of debate.
I think I had reached the age of 49 without ever being accused of being anti-semitic. Anybody who even vaguely knows me will find that accusation laughable.
David Aaronovich is confused as to why I would wish to be impolite about him. The answer is quite plain. Supporting the Iraq War, and cheerleading for it, is not a legitimate policy choice. It is complicity in an appalling act of aggression and mass murder. The invasion of another country, resulting in the death of (literally) countless civilians, in order to seize control of natural resources, was an act of hideous criminality. Nazi “Journalists” stood trial at Nuremberg charged with propagandizing for illegal war.
I tend to have rigorously argued political views. I am, for example, strongly against the private finance initiative and other private provision in the NHS. I am opposed to state aid to Northern Rock. On those and other issues, many people have other opinions and I genuinely respect those views and engage with them, much as I may disagree.
But the Iraq war is not like that. Supporting the illegal invasion of other countries is a crime; it is no more legitimate than to argue that “The Yorkshire Ripper Was Right”. It does not surprise me that Aaronovitch and other renegades of the hard left like Phillips and Hitchens have taken this position – ruthlessness and disregard for individuals provide the consistent thread in their odyssey around the unpleasant extremes of politics.
I am afraid, David, that decent people will look down on you the rest of your life. Get used to it.