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Silence of The Hawks

As The Humanitarian Crisis In Iraq Goes From Bad To Worse, The War Propagandists Are Turning To More Trivial Matters.

Neil Clark

The International Red Cross warned this week that the humanitarian crisis in Iraq is getting even worse. At the same, time a major academic study by the Oxford Research Group concludes that the illegal US/UK invasion has "spawned new terror" in the region. In the light of the latest damning evidence of the consequences of the invasion, what has been the reaction of the lap-top bombadiers who five years ago so energetically propagandised for war? I've been trawling the web to find out.

Melanie Phillips, the "moralist" who condemns teenage youths for smashing up bus shelters but not coalition forces for smashing up Iraq, makes no mention of either report on her website this week.

Ditto William Shawcross and Nick Cohen, self-appointed scourge of the anti-war left.

David Aaronovitch has kept his silence too (perhaps he's in training for another London marathon), as has Andrew Roberts, the "talented historian" who argued that we could equate sanctions-devastated Iraq (including its non-existent air force and its Dad's Army) with Nazi Germany at its peak.

Harry's Place, favourite watering hole of "pro-liberation left" prefers to discuss road rage, school history syllabuses and union-made hoodies.

Daniel Finkelstein of The Times has discovered an interest in mediums.

Stephen Pollard informs us that he's been reading Norman Lebrecht's Maestros and Madness: The Secret Life and Shameful Death of the Classical Record Industry. The Daily Telegraph's 'Neo' Con Coughlin, who regaled us with tales of Saddam's deadly armoury, has turned his attention to Russian bear-baiting.

Across the pond, Andrew Sullivan opines about shopping bags, while David 'Axis of Evil' Frum tells us about his grandfather.

Mark Steyn, who once accused anti-war demonstrators of having blood on their hands, focuses on the trial of his old mentor, Conrad Black.

Down Under, Tim Blair, who in 2004 ridiculed claims that the future in Iraq was "frightening", shares his thoughts on Alaskan sea otters.

From all these people, not a single word about either the International Red Cross or the Oxford Research Group reports. How very different it was four years ago! On the day that Saddam's statue toppled in Baghdad, the neo-cons couldn't wait to brag about the "success" of the war they had so enthusiastically supported. This was William Shawcross, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

April 9 - Liberation Day! What a wonderful, magnificent, emotional occasion - one that will live in legend like the fall of the Bastille, V-E Day or the fall of the Berlin Wall. Watching the tearing down of Saddam Hussein's towering statue in Baghdad was a true Ozymandias moment. All those smart Europeans who ridiculed George Bush and denigrated his idea that there was actually a better future for the Iraqi people - they will now have to think again."

Really, William? Since the illegal invasion, an estimated 600,000 people have lost their lives in Iraq. Twice as many people have died in Iraq in the last four years as were killed in the previous 23 years under Saddam. The only people who need to "think again" are not those "smart Europeans" who opposed the war, but those far from "smart" people who faithfully parroted - for whatever reasons - the official US/UK propaganda.

Forget mediums, shopping bags and union-made hoodies: it's apologies that we really want.

Neil Clark is a UK-based journalist, blogger and writer. A regular contributor to the Guardian, the Times, the New Statesman and the Spectator, his work has also appeared in publications as diverse as The American Conservative, Pravda, the Morning Star and the Racing Post.

© 2007 The Guardian

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