“Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber, if there no other casualties, be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?”
According to George Galloway, who was being interviewed in the ‘upmarket’ lads’ mag GQ, such an assassination would be “morally justified” and “entirely logical and explicable” — and “morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq”. As so often with Galloway, the first words to pop into my head were “Where do you start”?
The most bizarre aspect of all this is the implication that Galloway thinks that the mass slaughter carried out by the Coalition in Iraq is morally justified, or would be if it was in revenge for some other atrocity. But what the tangle he has got himself into is indicative of a more general moral and political confusion.
Later in the interview, Galloway states that he opposes the assassination of Blair for fear that it would bring down heightened repression in both Britain and Iraq. Everything is seen in tactical, technical terms. The implication is that, if it were not for the unfortunate side effects, the removal of Blair by a suicide bomber would be a victory in the struggle for freedom.
Socialists, while we are generally concerned for human life, are not particularly concerned for Blair’s. But the kind of people who carry out suicide bombings “in revenge” for the Iraq war are fascistic reactionaries who would also “take revenge” on us if they could — since what they really object to is not imperialism, but the whole of the modern, secular world. And in fact only such jihadist lunatics would consider assassinating the British prime minister. This is not Tsarist Russia, in which the assassination of government officials by revolutionary populists was a misguided but certainly “explicable” response to vicious and pervasive repression.
Galloway’s comments are part of his general fondness for Islamic fundamentalism, as well as his tendency to see things in terms of great leaders and not mass struggle from below.
Perhaps the assassination of Galloway would be justified? Just as Blair gave the order for the bombing and invasion of Iraq, Galloway covered up for and justified the butchery of Saddam Hussein’s regime for almost a decade.