QUOTE: Johann Hari:

"But at least the shrugging Tories who dismiss Iraqi democracy as a joke are being honest. They freely admit they aren't too bothered about the Iraqi people. They put the British state interest (or their narrow interpretation of it) first, second and third. What's the excuse of the progressives, who purport to care about people irrespective of their nationality or race?

One friend of mine who campaigns for a Palestinian state and votes Green recently confessed: "I hope Iraq remains in chaos. It's more important that Bush loses the election and Blair is ditched than that Iraq goes right." Much of the left has simply written off Iraqi democracy in this way, seeing it as a proxy for other political fights. Yet inside Iraq, it is trade unions - usually seen as allies of the left - who are emerging as bulwarks of a peaceful, stable Iraq, just as they did in post- war Europe.

Here is a small illustration: two months ago Moqtada Sadr, the de facto leader of the Shia uprising, was leading his Army of Mehdi towards Nasiriyah . They stumbled across an aluminium plant and ordered the staff to evacuate, but the workers would not leave. Their trade union, the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq, issued a statement saying their workers "refuse to evacuate their workplaces and turn them into battlefields".

The union rejected "the two poles of terrorism in Iraq" - the armed militias and the occupying forces - and insisted on a transition to a democratic Iraq. Here we have ordinary Iraqis refusing to allow yet another war to disrupt their lives, and they are greeted with total silence from progressive Brits."

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