Monday, November 13, 2006

The long war

One Friday night in 2003, whilst "shock and awe" blitzed Bagdhad, I was shouted down in our Constituency Labour Party meeting for saying that the US and Britain could defeat the Iraqi army in a matter of days, in the same way as Israel had defeated Egypt and its allies back in 1967. But Israel was still fighting that war over 35 years later, and the so-called coalition faced the gravest danger of being emeshed in a long drawn out and bloody conflict in Iraq. The parallels, of course, are not entirely co-incidental, as Peter Preston writing in The Guardian says, resolving the Israel-Palestinian situation will not on its own necessarily defeat al-Qaida, but without a resolution to that conflict, peace in that region and beyond will not be possible.
Maybe bringing peace to the Middle East after over half a century of vicious strife wouldn't bring total generation shift, the lessening of a fury, the erasure of hatred. But it would be a beginning, a symbol, a chance to start afresh.