Letters - Letter of the week

The Euston Manifesto is a belated attempt by the Iraq war apologists to relegitimise their "left" credentials (17 April). The reiteration of their efforts to whitewash the invasion - because "the overthrow of the Ba'athist regime was a liberation for the Iraqi people" - is like justifying the predatory activities of the shark because it ate the piranha.

Support for what has been clearly exposed as a modern imperialist attempt to take control of the Middle East cannot be justified on these grounds. It did remove a tyrant who had been enthroned and maintained in office by the self-same forces that have now deposed him. He was valued as a useful anti-communist and counter to Iranian nationalism, but as soon as he challenged US hegemony and the dominance of the dollar, he had to be removed. He was not removed because he was a tyrant or because he violated human rights.

Those of us who are genuinely on the left have always been anti-Saddam and we were taking part in anti-Saddam demonstrations before the Euston Manifesto people became aware of where the Middle East was. We are also against Bush and against US imperialism, but not against the American people - not any more than supporting the Palestinians' human rights makes us anti-Semitic.

The Euston group's generalised dismissal of the "traditional left", not to mention its easy espousal of human rights and democracy, rings hollow in a world where these two are being demolished at an alarming rate in the United States and Britain. Are they sure they met in a pub in London, or was it the ivory tower of self-righteousness located in limboland?

John Green
London W5

This article first appeared in the 24 April 2006 issue of the New Statesman, The real first casualty of war