The proposition team was led by Anas Altikriti, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain; Tony Benn, the President of the Stop the War Coalition; and George Galloway MP. Opposing the motion were Charles Skinner, US Embassy; Colonel Tim Collins, Iraq war veteran; and Iain Duncan Smith MP.
The motion’s opponents carried the day by about 210 to 160 votes. IDS used the debate to ridicule the way that the international left (Joe Lieberman and Tony Blair excepted) have retreated from the concepts of international solidarity. He said that it was to the Tory Party’s eternal shame that its leader once dismissed Czechoslovakia’s fate with the "faraway country of which we know little" line. Now it is the left who want to retreat behind their own borders and close their minds to the world outside.
The insularity of the American left was typified by John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election. He complained that George Bush was opening fire stations in Iraq whilst forcing fire stations to shut down in America.
Nothing angered Christopher Hitchens more, however, than the way the left blamed failures to help Katrina-ravanged New Orleans on troop deployments in Iraq. After proving that there had been enough US troops to mount a rescue operation on the Gulf Coast (and that the troops were probably better trained as a result of service in Iraq) he ended his Slate.com article with this attack on the redneck left:
"A favorite trope among those who try to politicize the justified
outrage over New Orleans is the plight of the slum-dwellers and the
dark-skinned, and quite right, too. But it’s highly objectionable to be
told, by those who go on in this way, that we should instantly dump the
Iraqis and Kurds who are fighting for their lives in a slum that could
become another slaughterhouse and plague-spot. There is something
degrading and suspect here—why lavish any of our care and resources on
the wogs? Does this suggestion do anything to diminish xenophobia and
resentment "at home," at just the time and just the place where we
don’t need it? Am I expected to tell a homeless woman in Biloxi that
she has just been ripped off by an Ay-rab? A scuttle from Iraq or from
Afghanistan (where the Kabul-Kandahar highway also took a lot of time
and equipment and manpower to build) would add to the number of
stricken and broken cities in the world, and not reduce it. If
liberalism and humanitarianism do not mean internationalism, they mean
precisely nothing. Shame on those who try to turn the needy and the
victims against each other."