Georgia and Iraq: the price of hypocrisy

This letter of mine has been published in several places:
Dear Editor;
We should oppose war and call for a full peaceful settlement of the Georgia crisis. But at the same time it is pitiful to hear architects and avid backers of the illegal and disasterous war on Iraq (such as George Bush and David Milliband) hypocritically giving Russia stern lectures about respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.
Such double standards are of course not new. Just as Saddam was initially backed by the West, so Putin could never have risen to the heights of power – and tyranny – that he now has without the strong backing of Bush, Blair et al. Our governments have pretended for the last 15 years that Russia is a democracy — while the opposition, independent businesses and the questioning parts of the media were disempowered and in some cases, murdered. Our governments have looked the other way while Russia brutalised and devastated Chechnya.
What Russia is now doing in Georgia is unacceptable. But it is not surprising. And our leaders have lost any moral authority to stand up to it due to their past actions.
Truly, we need a new world order. The leaders who wage war to get their way, whether in The White House, Kremlin – or Downing Street,  need to be thrown out, and a fresh start made: as the world succeeded in accomplishing in 1945 and after, with the United Nations. Will we, the peoples of the world, allow new American-British and Russian empires to exist and grow; or will we say ‘No!’, and insist instead on peace and real democracy as the watchwords of our time?  
Cllr. Rupert Read, prospective Green Party MEP for Eastern Region.

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