Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

The war will be won

From William Shawcross

Sir: It is nonsense to suggest, as Michael Wolff tried last week ('The nation wobbles', 2 July), that the war in Iraq is almost lost.

Terrorists are certainly doing their best to destroy the hopes of Iraq. But the resistance to them is strong. Mr Wolff dismisses the fact that eight million people defied the terrorists in January to vote as merely a 'high moment of triumphalism'. So much for the freest election ever held in the Arab world.

He claims that the Sunni 30 per cent of the country who did not vote are now 'supporting an insurgency against both the occupiers and the rest of the nation'. That is untrue. The Sunnis are split. Some have sided with the Sunni terrorists who want to murder the Shia majority of Iraq. Mainstream Sunni leaders have regretted that they did not take part in the election and have asked for fatwas from their clerics instructing Sunnis to vote next time.

Mr Wolff claims that this is one man's war - President Bush's. Rubbish. It is a fight for the future of 25 million people. When it is won, that will be above all because of the courage and sacrifice of American soldiers and the determination of the vast majority of the 25 million Iraqis who do not want to be car-bombed back into tyranny. A little more sympathy and support for them would have been appropriate from Mr Wolff.

William Shawcross

St Mawes, Cornwall

Trust the celebs

From Giles Watson

Sir: The Spectator has recently contained a fair amount of criticism of the Live 8 concert in aid of Africa ('How African leaders spend our money', 25 June). I always welcome a bit of cynicism about the value of pop stars and their inflated egos, but I would like to put in a word to support their efforts.

Of course it can be a bit nauseating to see Geldof and Bono preaching about aid and economics, but, although they are saying nothing new, I think they do have a role to play, however shocking and ridiculous that may sound. The fact is that respect for politicians has fallen so low that people are actually willing to listen to celebrities, or at least look into the issues they raise. Why not? The celebs can't be much worse than the politicians.

To give the current breed of rock stars credit, they seem to be taking the business of political lobbying more seriously than previous generations. Bono, Geldof and Chris Martin seem to have done a fair amount of homework - probably more than most of your readers and certainly more than the Lennons, Jaggers and even Dylans of earlier generations.

Giles Watson

Reading, Berkshire

Latin lover

From John Jenkins

I enjoyed James Buchan's review of Guy Deutscher's The Unfolding of Language (Books, 25 June), particularly his jeu d'esprit at the expense of staider readers. …

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