Friday, March 25, 2011
The Liberal Defence of Murder posted by Richard SeymourA friendly reminder from Verso:
By RICHARD SEYMOUR
Published October 2008
“Imperialist intervention, strenghtening the former regime elements and the most retrograde components of the revolt, was the worst thing to have happened to the Libyan revolution.”
As British and American planes begin bombing another Arab country, now is the time to revisit THE LIBERAL DEFENCE OF MURDER, Richard Seymour’s searing critique of the doctrine of ‘liberal interventionism’.
Richard Seymour blogs at Lenin’s Tomb - http://leninology.blogspot.com/.. You can read his blog posts on Libya there. See also this recent piece on the GUARDIAN website:
In THE LIBERAL DEFENCE OF MURDER, Richard Seymour takes apart the mechanisms employed by liberals to justify the violence of this past decade, and shows us how appeals to the public to support war for ‘humanitarian’ reasons can often result in disastrous consequences.
Seymour examines the arguments of a range of left and liberal commentators, from Christopher Hitchens and Nick Cohen to Susan Sontag and Thomas Friedman, and provides a powerful indictment of their support for the Iraq war. He charts how such commentators represented American military power as an ally of progress rather than its enemy and were instrumental in mobilising public support for a misguided and illegal war.
Seymour also tackles the arguments of the ‘pro-war Left’ and demonstrates how they readily equated radical Islam with totalitarianism and refused to acknowledge the broader, and more complex, geopolitical climate that surrounded the attacks of 9/11.
Tracing colonial exploits in the nineteenth century and war mongering in the twentieth and twenty-first, Seymour shows how liberalism, a doctrine that appears to emphasise human equality and universalism, has often been implicated in violent systems of domination and exploitation.
Seymourexcavates the origins of liberal apologies for empire and tracks their development over three centuries, on both sides of the Atlantic, thereby providing an essential account of the many wars that have come to define the contemporary political landscape.
Praise for THE LIBERAL DEFENCE OF MURDER:
“A great deal of damning material on the apologists of recent illegalities” Philippe Sands, GUARDIAN
“A powerful counter-blast against the monstrous regiment of ‘useful idiots’” THE TIMES
“A powerful critique of ‘humanitarian intervention’ and of those liberal intellectuals who support it.” INDEPENDENT
“An excellent antidote to the propagandists of the crisis of our times.” INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
“Essential reading” Owen Hatherley, NEW STATESMAN
“Among those who share responsibility for the carnage and chaos in the Gulf are the useful idiots who gave the war intellectual cover and attempted to lend it a liberal imprimatur. The more belligerent they sounded the more bankrupt they became; the more strident their voice the more craven their position. As the war they have supported degrades into a murderous mess, Richard Seymour expertly traces their descent from humanitarian intervention to blatant islamophobia.” – Gary Younge
“Indispensable ... Seymour brilliantly uncovers the pre-history and modern reality of the so-called 'pro-war Left.'” – China Mieville
Richard Seymour runs the popular Lenin’s Tomb blog, which comments on the War on Terror, Islamophobia and neoliberalism and has developed a cult following since it was founded in 2001. He also writes for other publications, including THE GUARDIAN. He is the author of several books, including THE LIBERAL DEFENCE OF MURDER and THE MEANING OF DAVID CAMERON.