Sunday, June 05, 2005


Come back CND- you are needed

Like most lefty students in the sixties I tended to believe Robert Macnamara was a scheming swivel- eyed son of Satan who was seeking to subdue Asia and embody it into the American Empire. Since then I've seen the remarkable film DVD - the Fog of War - given to me by a friend who bought it for a pound in Malaysia, in which he reflects on how close the world came to oblivion over Cuba and how the Vietnam episode was a symptom of a fundamentally flawed view of foreign relations. Seems like he has either changed totally or we student radicals perceived him imperfectly. As you have probably guessed, I now think the answer lies somewhere in between.

I've just seen him interviewed on BBC 24 hour news and he's been prosletysing his passionate opposition to nuclear proliferation. This, he thinks, is the major problem the world faces, never mind about global warming. The idea that terrorists will soon have nuclear weapons with which to threaten the world, he regards as beyond danger. To hear this eloquent and intellectually brilliant 84 year old, campaigning for the world he must soon leave leaves a deep impression.

He lambasts Bush for pursuing regime change in rogue states, enjoining him to try and understand why such states view the world in the way they do and working from there for a solution. Maybe he's a voice in the wilderness right now but I think MacNamara will have a late career celebrity as a prophetic guardian of the world's future. I do hope so anyway.

CND is not an organisation one hears a good deal about these days. It was an embarrassing badge signifying dubious patriotism for Labour leaders in the eighties and something which Tony Blair did his best to forget or deny. But maybe he should seek out his long lost badge and rediscover some of his campaigning zeal for a cause which is ultimately much more important than regime change in the 'axis of evil'.

Surely Robt MacNamara resigned from governmental posts etc as a protest over what was happening in Vietnam. He withdrew from a fairly prominent position, Secretary of State (from memory) at a time which sought not to embarrass his boss (Johnson) but it was clear he had fundamental differences with the administration over the war. Maybe he has been reasonably consistent!!!!
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