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UK citizens taking part in the US Election


John Simkin
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The result of the US election will affect the lives of millions around the world but those of us outside the 50 states have had no say in it - until now. In a unique experiment, The Guardian has assembled a democratic toolkit to enable people from Basildon to Botswana to campaign in the presidential race.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1325982,00.html

Here are the views of two people from the UK: John Le Carré (novelist) and Richard Dawkins (scientist).

John Le Carré

Maybe there's one good reason - just one - for re-electing George W Bush, and that's to force him to live with the consequences of his appalling actions, and answer for his own lies, rather than wish the job on a Democrat who will then get blamed for his predecessor's follies.

Probably no American president in all history has been so universally hated abroad as George W Bush: for his bullying unilateralism, his dismissal of international treaties, his reckless indifference to the aspirations of other nations and cultures, his contempt for institutions of world government, and above all for misusing the cause of anti-terrorism in order to unleash an illegal war - and now anarchy - upon a country that like too many others around the world was suffering under a hideous dictatorship, but had no hand in 9/11, no weapons of mass destruction, and no record of terrorism except as an ally of the US in a dirty war against Iran.

Is your president a great war leader because he allowed himself to be manipulated by a handful of deluded ideologues? Is Tony Blair a great war leader because he committed Britain's troops, foreign policy and domestic security to the same hare-brained adventure?

You are voting in November. We will vote next year. Yet the outcome in both countries will in large part depend on the same question: how long can the lies last now that the truth has finally been told? The Iraq war was planned long before 9/11. Osama provided the excuse. Iraq paid the price. American kids paid the price. British kids paid the price. Our politicians lied to us.

While Bush was waging his father's war at your expense, he was also ruining your country. He made your rich richer and your poor and unemployed more numerous. He robbed your war veterans of their due and reduced your children's access to education. And he deprived more Americans than ever before of healthcare. Now he's busy cooking the books, burying deficits and calling in contingency funds to fight a war that his advisers promised him he could light and put out like a candle.

Meanwhile, your Patriot Act has swept aside constitutional and civil liberties which took brave Americans 200 years to secure, and were once the envy of a world that now looks on in horror, not just at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, but at what you are doing to yourselves.

But please don't feel isolated from the Europe you twice saved. Give us back the America we loved, and your friends will be waiting for you. And here in Britain, for as long as we have Tony Blair singing the same lies as George Bush, your nightmares will be ours.

Richard Dawkins

Don't be so ashamed of your president: the majority of you didn't vote for him. If Bush is finally elected properly, that will be the time for Americans travelling abroad to simulate a Canadian accent. Please don't let it come to that. Vote against Bin Laden's dream candidate. Vote to send Bush packing.

Before 9/11 gave him his big break - the neo-cons' Pearl Harbor - Bush was written off as an amiable idiot, certain to serve only one term. An idiot he may be, but he is also sly, mendacious and vindictive; and the thuggish ideologues who surround him are dangerous. 9/11 gave America a free gift of goodwill, and it poured in from all around the world. Bush took it as a free gift to the warmongers of his party, a licence to attack an irrelevant country which, however nasty its dictator, had no connection with 9/11. The consequence is that all the worldwide goodwill has vanished. Bush's America is on the way to becoming a pariah state. And Bush's Iraq has become a beacon for terrorists.

In the service of his long-planned war (with its catastrophically unplanned aftermath), Bush not only lied about Iraq being the "enemy" who had attacked the twin towers. With the connivance of the toadying Tony Blair and the spineless Colin Powell, he lied to Congress and the world about weapons of mass destruction. He is now brazenly lying to the American electorate about how "well" things are going under the puppet government. By comparison with this cynical mendacity, the worst that can be said about John Kerry is that he sometimes changes his mind. Well, wouldn't you change your mind if you discovered that the major premise on which you had been persuaded to vote for war was a big fat lie?

Now that all other justifications for the war are known to be lies, the warmongers are thrown back on one, endlessly repeated: the world is a better place without Saddam. No doubt it is. But that's the Tony Martin school of foreign policy [Martin was a householder who shot dead a burglar who had broken into his house in 1999]. It's not how civilised countries, who follow the rule of law, behave. The world would be a better place without George Bush, but that doesn't justify an assassination attempt. The proper way to get rid of that smirking gunslinger is to vote him out.

As the bumper stickers put it, "Re-defeat Bush". But, this time, do it so overwhelmingly that neither his brother's friends in Florida nor his father's friends on the Supreme Court will be able to rig the count. Decent Americans - there are absolutely more intelligent, educated, civilised, cultivated, compassionate people in America than in any other country in the western world - please show your electoral muscle this time around. We in the rest of the world, who sadly cannot vote in the one election that really affects our future, are depending on you. Please don't let us down.

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