C’est la resistance, meme si ce n’est pas magnifique

An odd quote from Justin on Tim’s blog re Iraq:

To describe beheaders and suicide bombers as ‘resistance’ is repugnant if you ask me.

The French Resistance in WWII, which is the most widely accepted definition of a ‘legitimate’ resistance movement, regularly engaged in suicide missions against – and killed plenty of – German soldiers. French people who worked with the Germans were widely described as – and killed for being – collaborators.

Uncontroversially, the people in Iraq who blow up civilians in market squares are scumbags. But the people who murder occupying soldiers and who murder Iraqis who side with the occupying army are doing what a resistance *does*, whether we’d like to call them one or not.

Yes, I know the UK isn’t Germany in WWII here: we came to Iraq because we believed we could make it better, not out of crazy Conquering The World-ness. But in the eyes of Iraqis, we’re an occupying army and we’re not wanted.

Given that, it’s hard to see how we can avoid classing people who kill British troops as ‘the resistance’, and how we can avoid classing people who work with the British as ‘collaborators’. It would be good if we could tell grieving mothers ‘your son died for a worthy cause‘ rather than ‘your son died because the people of Iraq hated him for occupying their country‘ – but we can’t.

The only solution, rather than pretending that we’re not a reviled occupying army and that the people who kill our soldiers aren’t doing the same as any resistance movement ever, is to get ourselves (and our collaborators, of course) the hell out of there as soon as humanly possible…

Finally: if Britain were occupied by a foreign army who refused to leave despite public opinion – even if the original invasion had been intended for our benefit but heinously failed – would you be willing to join the resistance and kill occupying soldiers? I’d like to think I’d be brave enough to do so.

3 thoughts on “C’est la resistance, meme si ce n’est pas magnifique

  1. Justin says:

    Well, I was referring to those on the left, Galloway et al who use the term to romanticise what the militias and other cutthroats are doing. Like you say, use the term in this context and the mind automatically makes the leap to the Free French. It’s glorification and it’s Unspeak as far as I’m concerned.

    Also, I think you have to look deeper to the various factions that make up this ‘resistance’. To lump them under one umbrella is to assume they’re all working to the same end (beyond the defeat of the coalition, obviously).

    You’re advocating a dispassionate and objective use of language which is very laudable and something I would ordinarly applaud. But you’re just about the only person participating trying to do so. I don’t think many people are going to voluntarily accept a catch-all term for bombers and beheaders.

  2. Justin says:

    Unless it’s ‘scumbags’, obviously.

  3. we came to Iraq because we believed we could make it better

    I’m flummoxed. Almost lost for words. You do realise that Herr Hitler was ‘liberating’ Poland and Czechoslovakia don’t you? For his domestic audience anyway.

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