Dead Men Left

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

"By any means necessary"

The tabloid journalist Oliver Kamm, fresh from promoting far-right conspiracy theories, has turned his attention back to the Socialist Workers' Party following the suicide bombing in Baghdad a few days ago. In ghoulish fashion, Kamm uses a large loss of life to sustain his own peculiar obsessions. These compel him to make a truly disgraceful claim of Alex Callinicos, SWP member and professor of politics at York.

He states that Callinicos, the SWP and so (by a conspiratorial leap of faith on Kamm's part) the entire anti-war movement would approve of the bombing in Baghdad. This is absurd, on several levels, and depends on Kamm's peculiar facilities with selective quotation.

"By any means necessary," a position supported by the SWP but not the Stop the War Coalition, means exactly what it says: by any means necessary. This does not include the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians - a point Callinicos makes very clearly, referring to the IRA in the letter Kamm becomes so excited about:

Of course we should condemn the kind of kidnappings and beheadings perpetrated by groups like Zarqawi’s. This is not a new problem. I remember very well the arguments we had in the 1970s with your [Gilbert Achcar's] sometime comrades in the Fourth International in Britain when they campaigned around the slogan ‘Victory to the IRA’ and refused to condemn the Birmingham pub bombings. We have never given ‘unqualified support’ to any national liberation movement.

This seems pretty clear. It is written immediately preceding the paragraph Kamm cites at length, detailing some potentially necessary means that might be used by the Iraqi resistance.

Kamm, naturally, wholly supports the idea of "by any means necessary" when it is his own side fighting. Indeed, as this inept cover for mass murder in Indochina makes plain, he goes much further: unnecessary, sadistic and even counterproductive means are seemingly fine by him.