April 14, 2007

Britain the abuser

I mentioned using a dial connection before. Maybe it was in the comments. That's not a good excuse for catching up with yesterday's letters in the Guardian today but it's the only one I've got. Here's a chap called Mark Curtis (Author of Web of Deceit and Unpeople) berating Oxfam's Barbara Stocking for her claim that Britain's foreign policy was mostly benign until the "misadventure [woops!] in Iraq."
I was interested to see Oxfam director Barbara Stocking (The world before Iraq, April 11) claiming that the UK "arguably pursued a relatively successful foreign policy until the misadventure in Iraq". Britain illegally bombed Iraq in 1998, was the chief apologist for Russia's bloody onslaught against Chechnya in 1999, increased the export of military equipment to Israel as it reinvaded the West Bank in 2001, armed Indonesia as it attacked Aceh province in 2003, took legal action to prevent the Chagossians returning to their homeland on Diego Garcia and continued to support some of the world's most brutal governments in Colombia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere - to name some of Labour's shocking policies that could fill this page.

It is therefore intriguing to suggest that the government has "championed" the responsibility to protect civilians from war crimes. It wasn't so much that the UK "failed to press Israel" to halt its attack on Lebanon but that it in effect supported the invasion. The notion that Britain should hold others to account for human rights abuses is surely right, but the fact is that Britain is all too often the abuser.
Well put that man! If you hadn't read it already I hope it was worth the wait.

More on Oxfam coming up!

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