David Aaronovitch on the white man’s burden

David AaronovitchDavid Aaronovitch explains why the West has a moral obligation to attack Muslim countries in order to bring them the benefits of western civilisation:

“A month ago I was invited to speak at an all-day event on ‘The Clash of Civilisations’ organised by the eccentric half of Ken Livingstone’s personality. Its purpose, as far as I could work out, was to promote cultural relativism by suggesting that anything that looked like telling foreigners what to do was some kind of mad imperialism. So we shouldn’t seek to export democracy, because it wouldn’t work and maybe they didn’t want it anyway, and it would end in a bloodbath or profits for Western companies, whichever you thought was worse….

“Others have argued, more extremely, that in some Islamist cultures women aren’t yearning for the right to education, or to be treated by (male) doctors, or to be anything except shut up in their father’s or husband’s houses…. The Western idea of freedom isn’t everything.

“I am well aware that nothing of the above argument makes what has happened in Iraq the less appalling. Hating the occupiers I could cope with, but I didn’t remotely foresee the insanity – the bloody aimlessness – of blowing up students or day-labourers, with Allah knows what long-term objective in mind. And we in the West can take from that experience the lesson of being careful in the way we intervene, of course. But not – not – that you shouldn’t do it. Not that there shouldn’t be moral foreign policies. Not that we think that democracy, basic human rights or liberty are relative values.”

Times, 27 February 2007

For a critique of Aaronovitch’s article – “for Dave, it appears that the Iranians are dumb chattels, sitting around in leg irons and only capable of being liberated by a passing dashing British warship” – see
Aaronovitch Watch, 27 February 2007