Published on Webdiary - Founded and Inspired by Margo Kingston (/cms)

Looking for John Wojdylo: one letter to the past

By Jack Robertson
Created 11/09/2006 - 23:04
Dear John Wojdylo [1],

Where are you, John?

I’m sorry, there must be something wrong with my ears. I can’t hear you.

Where are you now, John?

Where are you on this magnificent fifth anniversary of 9/11, this three year, five month and twenty two day celebration of the invasion, liberation and occupation of Iraq? Where is your childish certitude, your personal abuse of my opposition to that folly? Your braying assertions that I ‘give the green light for dictators’, that to me, 'Iraqis seeking liberty have become an abstraction - [I'm] preoccupied with [my] own concerns, in [my] self-centred world, despite the lip-service [I] pay to noble ideals'. That I am 'clearly imprisoned by the rationalisations inside [my] head, by this self-obsession, and have lost the ability to see the world outside, the world of another person - particularly the world of the Iraqi desiring liberty...' ?

John, where are you?

Where are you, now that it is clear that your and others’ over-heated dilettantism on Iraq has led to the predictable disaster some of us argued it would? Have you wandered off, rendered, by time and setback after setback, bored and impatient and dismissive of the whole thing?  Do you have better things to do these days than worry about the ‘Iraqi desiring liberty?

Pity for them, isn’t it. Pity especially for all the dead and maimed soldiers and civilians, of all nationalities, your invasion has produced. A vexing pity for those still alive and stuck there, who have no choice but to salvage something from the disaster-waiting-to-happen that you and your ilk fatuously couldn’t be bothered thinking through carefully enough – even though we tried to make you – to give any chance of success.

Instead, preferring to waste your time and energy…calling people like me childish names.

Well, I hope that unlike everyone in Iraq, you, at least, are enjoying a safe, prosperous and pleasant life untrammeled by wearisome stuff like politics and war, John. Wherever you may be now. (Where are you now, John?)

If you ever do get nostalgic for those heady pre-invasion days, though, and start to miss the fun you had calling us names, why not take the time to re-read everything I wrote in those days, back before the invasion, when there was a good chance we in the West might win your ‘War on Terror’, at least?

You could and should re-read this [2] and this [3] and this [4] and this [5] and this [6], John. If you are honest, that is.

If not don't bother.

Newer Webdiarists curious about why I rarely post now and can’t much be bothered with rationality and manners when I do might care to browse the past too, to recall how useless serious debate proved then.

Because on this anniversary we need to remember something fundamental: since 9/11, those driving the ‘War on Terror’ – in politics, in media, in business, in what began life as the ‘warblogger-sphere’ especially – have never been interested in rational, polite debate. Those set aquiver with righteous rage by the attacks that day, charged full of John Wojdylo’s brand of blinkered certitude, were not then and are not now remotely interested in having their ‘changed world’ positions tested nor their hardening prejudices challenged nor their fast-closing minds re-opened. If the world was changed by the events of that day, then it was probably changed most of all in this mournful, anti-Enlightened way: it killed rational debate. Read the comments today of the hard-line Webdiary invasion supporters who were commenting back in early 2003. I’ll wager that for most the aggressive tone of their postings has not changed much, no matter how subtly (or otherwise) the arguments in which they apply it may have shifted. Having their certitudes proved utterly unjustified over the Iraq invasion has changed nothing: still those certitudes are unshaken, their tactics unchanged. Still they call us appeasers. Still they accuse of supporting and abetting terrorism, of sticking our heads in the sand, of not caring about the ‘threat’ facing the world. Still they call us anti-American, Israel-hating, objectively pro-terrorist, naive, foolish, off-the-planet...

Where are you, John Wojdylo, by the way? Where are your certitudes now?

If there is one great lie that has characterized these 5th anniversary commemorations, John, it is the way the most aggressive supporters of the invasion have exploited the world's remembrances to try to obfuscate the fact that the act of geo-strategic folly in Iraq was a matter of their deliberate, and loudly opposed, choosing. Today, onto the Conflation Bandwagon they all jump in desperation – pushing the lie that the ‘War on Terror’ was always about Iraq and Iraq was always about the ‘War on Terror’. As it becomes evermore clear that America is being slowly but surely ground to military, economic and diplomatic global irrelevance – not by bin Laden, a flea and a thug and a criminal non-entity (and if not dead then permanently contained), but by Iraq and Iraq alone – on they hop: the Kellys [7],  Bones [8], Gawendas [9],  Sheridans [10], et al, blah blah blah. Desperately claiming that the invasion decision which they had to champion long and hard to sell was a logical, justified, wise and in any case unavoidable extension of the ‘War on Terror’. One only the unserious and the ideological, the blinded by hatred of America, of Israel, of Western civilisation itself, could fail to support. 

John, on this anniversary I’m here to remind you that this re-writing of post-9/11 history is pure bullshit. A simple examination of the arguments had in those days reminds us all that we did not have to and indeed should not have invaded Iraq if we really wanted to win the global fight against terrorism; that many of us argued as much with every ounce of passion and clarity we could muster, at the time; that events have, largely, proved our arguments prescient and yours utterly, disastrously wrong.

Mine, many other Webdiarists’, tens of thousands of others all around the world.

Why is it worth nothing, John? Well, while none of us can change history and we all have to muck in and make the best of things in Iraq and the broader 'War on Terror' from here on…perhaps you and your kind of brayer might at least re-think your certitudes at last. Tone down your hurtful tactics, your 'appeaser' sneering, your accusations that we, not you, are the ones not taking the growing danger of terrorism with sufficent seriousness and maturity and...staying power, especially.

Where are you, John?

The truth is that the vast majority of the world’s Iraq invasion opponents argued against it because we considered it geo-strategically a manifestly stupid thing to do, bound to fail, bound to render the US a fatally encumbered and useless superpower, bound – above all else – to contribute to our losing the very ‘War on Terror’ your side claim to want to win (despite, too, your dumb wrong-footed start in insisting on giving it that adolescent label at all). 

So in the face of the usual cliché onslaught and the evermore desperate casual slanders from the white feather chuckers, John – wherever you are - let’s use today’s 5 year anniversary  to reaffirm that those of us who opposed the 3.5 year-old invasion, liberation and occupation of Iraq support the global campaign to minimise Islamist terrorism very strongly; that it was precisely why we opposed the invasion; precisely why - as Paul Sheehan has apparently only now belatedly discovered [11] - all along we've not wished to grant our mediocre criminal enemies the legitimizing dignity and grandiosity of a term like ‘War’.

We hold such positions not because we don’t want to prevail in your silly Catchprase - but precisely because we do. Or…did. It is, as I have written elsewhere more rudely, probably too late to matter now. It’s almost certainly a foregone conclusion that the catastrophe of the Iraq blunder, so dishonestly linked to 9/11 then and now, will eventually prove to have marked the beginning of the slow demise of Western Civilisation, at least as it has evolved and distorted in our decadent era...

But as I have also said elsewhere, to the world’s six billion in toto this eventually may not prove to have been a completely bad thing, anyway. For one thing, John, a slow and so not oppressive or violent decline in America's 'post-historical' lone superpowerhood might make for a sobering exercise in empathetic humility for the kind of self-centred, arrogant bleeding heart Westerner that you once accused me of being. Or, as I suggested right back, the kind of warmongering Westerner who from the safety of their internet armchair loudly supports ill-planned, faraway military misadventures that kill and maim and destroy Third World innocents, at least partly, I suspected then and still do now, to disguise deep masculine anxieties arising from their office-bound Western effeteness…only to wander quietly off when it all gets a bit complex and messy and bogged down, as real man's wars always do.

So...who knows, John: maybe the both of us arrogant Westerners will benefit in the long run from having our sorry asses whumped by the Sand Niggers.

So...where are you, John? Where is all your Western democratic certitude and personal abuse now? Why not let's go down together, eh?

Happy anniversary, pal. Wishing you were (still) here.

Yours cordially,

Jack Robertson

PS: My brother [12], you may or may not be interested to know, managed to get through his part in your ‘War on Terror’ with only two minor scratches – one a bit of IED shrapnel in the back, the  other a bullet graze under the chin. Recently the Queen of England pinned a DSM on his chest, on the other hand, which is at least some compensation for all the strategically catastrophic chaos and brutality he has helped, at your command, unleash in Iraq. (That’s a paraphrase of his patriotic war on terror-fightin’ description of what we’ve done there, by the way, John, and not my Yank-bashing, Saddam-loving,  ‘pussyfoot [13]’ one.) 

Sleep well, John. Even though arrogant warmongering brats with your short attention span probably don’t deserve to until Iraq is made ordered, safe and peaceful. Which could take your incomptent lot even longer than catching Osama, I'd say. Unless you finally let us grown-ups get a helpful word of advice in for a change.

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