William Shawcross

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George Orwell is usually a footsure guide across political battlegrounds. In late 1943, when the tide had turned in the Allies’ favor, he wrote about postwar trials. Oddly, he advocated Hitler and Mussolini slipping away. His verdict for them would not be death unless the Germans and Italians themselves carried out summary executions (as they eventually did in Mussolini’s case).

He wanted “no martyrizing, no St. Helena business.” Above all, he disdained the idea of a “solemn hypocritical ‘trial of war criminals,’ with all the slow cruel pageantry of the law, which after a lapse of time has so strange a way of focusing a romantic light on the accused and turning a scoundrel into a hero.”…  Seguir leyendo »

The weekend's elections in Iraq were a huge success for the Iraqi people. The remarkably peaceful day of voting on Saturday - and the interim results - give good reason to hope Iraq really is on the way to building a decent society.

These provincial elections were held in 14 of the country's 18 provinces (Kurdistan will hold separate elections, and the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk was deemed "too hard" at present). This was the first post-Saddam election that the Iraqis handled themselves. Iraqi soldiers protected the polling stations. It was also the first election to have international observers in all 712 constituencies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Some opponents of the Iraq war are toying with the idea of American defeat. A number of them are simply predicting it, while others advocate measures that would make it more likely. Lending intellectual respectability to all this is an argument that takes a strange comfort from the outcome of the Vietnam War. The defeat of the American enterprise in Indochina, it is said, turned out not to be as bad as expected. The United States recovered, and no lasting price was paid.

We beg to differ. Many years ago, the two of us clashed sharply over the wisdom and morality of American policy in Indochina, especially in Cambodia.…  Seguir leyendo »