Thursday, July 06, 2006

Read all about it: New Zealand peace activist puts British rock singer in coma!

Here's Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, of course. "Most of us" is a reference to the British.

Unlike many continental Europeans, most of us do not rule out war as a means of last resort. We think you sometimes have to fight to defend your way of life, but that you should fight clever, keeping a cool head, a strong grasp on reality and a sense of proportion. We've lived with terrorism for years, and we know you can lick it, especially if we don't overreact and make unnecessary sacrifices of liberty in the name of security - for freedom is its own best defence. Between cheese-eating surrender monkeys and fire-eating war junkies, we look for a middle way. Americans have every cause to be proud on July 4. And on July 7, I'm rather proud to be British.

Ash is making several question-begging assumptions here: The US-led coalition is not fighting cleverly or proportionately or in a well-considered manner; IRA terrorism is comparable to Islamist terrorism; Great Britain "licked" the IRA (in reality, of course, they cut a deal); the US has sacrificed liberty for security; and, most blatant, there is some "middle way" between war and peace in Iraq. Note the turn of phrase: "fire-eating war junkies." Does Ash really believe that the Bush administration is addicted to war?

One point, just to avoid misunderstandings: I agree with Ash that British citizens have a great deal to be proud of, and if I were British I would certainly be proud of it. In fact, I'd make a better Brit than a lot of Brits I know.

For lots of anti-Americanism, read the comments below the article.

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