An ethical blank cheque

Richard Drayton, senior lecturer in history at Cambridge University, The Guardian, May 10 2005:

“The ”˜good war’ against Hitler has underwritten 60 years of warmaking. It has become an ethical blank cheque for British and US power. We claim the right to bomb, to maim, to imprison without trial on the basis of direct and implicit appeals to the war against fascism.

“When we fall out with such tyrant friends as Noriega, Milosevic or Saddam we rebrand them as ‘Hitler’. In the ‘good war’ against them, all bad things become forgettable ‘collateral damage’. The devastation of civilian targets in Serbia or Iraq, torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the war crime of collective punishment in Falluja, fade to oblivion as the ‘price of democracy’.”

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