Corbyn is wrongly labelled a pacifist by the Tories and the media, but his opposition to unnecessary war without end is in stark contrast to Theresa May's endless warmongering
Which war is it that the media think Jeremy Corbyn should have supported since World War Two? Was it the Korean war, a US-led intervention which led to the death of around two and a half million people, the carve-up of the country and eventually the frightening stand-off that threatens a new war today? 100,000 mainly conscripted British troops were sent to fight in this fiasco of whom over 1,000 died. It was so horrific that many historians regard it as being one of the key reasons for Labour losing the 1951 general election.
Perhaps it was the Suez intervention in which Britain fought a colonial rearguard action against the Egyptian nationalist government of Abdel Nasser. Britain was humiliated and the Tory Prime Minister Anthony Eden had to resign after lying to parliament amongst other things.
Or maybe it was the US’s war in Vietnam war in which they massacred up to two million people, bombed two countries to pieces and eventually had to withdraw in disarray. Vietnam was so unpopular in Britain – 71% of the British population opposed it - that even the Tory Party could only give verbal support to the American government.
More likely it was the Falklands War, which even the Daily Mail called ’short sharp and very nasty’. 258 British Troops were killed, 775 wounded and hundreds of others psychologically damaged in a battle for a few square miles of barren land 8,000 miles from Britain, but still ‘ours’ apparently and well worth the toll in human life and happiness. Apart from the death and destruction – a total of nearly 800 dead. The war achieved nothing but is widely believed to have played a role in Thatcher’s election victory in 1983.
Perhaps it was Clinton and Blair’s bombing in Kosovo, which despite being painted as a humanitarian success, led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, accelerated ethnic cleansing and the deepened divisions and dependency on the West that plague the Balkans to this day.
Surely it can’t be any of the cycle of wars that we are involved in now? The centrepieces of the War on Terror, the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, are almost universally regarded as catastrophic, causing almost unimaginable carnage, failed states and deep bitterness against the West. Fierce fighting continues in all three countries, sixteen years later in the case of Afghanistan. Associated interventions in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and beyond have been equally disastrous.
It is a strange world in which Jeremy Corbyn’s consistent and courageous opposition to these string of disasters is portrayed by the media as a point of vulnerability. Surely the real issue is that the party of government supported every one of these adventures and that the current Prime Minister has voted or argued for every one of them since she has been in parliament.
And this is no academic question of record. Despite confusingly saying on her Trump love-in trip to Washington that “the days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over”, she applauded Trump’s missile attack on Assad in Syria, congratulated him on his MOAB bomb drop in Afghanistan and is keen to get British forces involved in an attack on Assad post election.
Surely the question any half way thinking journalist should be asking is, are there any wars since World War Two that Theresa May would have opposed?
Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
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