"We believe the bourgeoisie will never surrender power peacefully to the proletariat, so yes we do advocate a violent struggle by the masses as the only way to bring about a workers state" was his standard text book reply.
"But innocent people will be killed in your violent struggle too, won't they?" was the question that he could not answer.
Or when I once asked an SWP member selling his Socialist Worker outside a tube station, "Who should have removed Saddam or the Taliban?"
"It should be the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan" was his confident reply.
"But sometimes dictatorships are so brutal that people need outside help. Look at Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the people of Cambodia had no chance against the Khmer Rouge. If it wasn't because of the Vietnamese, the killings by the Khmer Rouge would have continued. Yes lots of innocent people did die in the invasion of Cambodia by Vietnam. Yes it took many years for peace and stability to come back to the country, but overall it was better to remove Pol Pot."
I waited for his answer but after a moment of silence, embarrassingly all he could say was
"That was before I was born, I don't know enough about that."
Today the killing of innocent people in Iraq is not because of the US or UK troops. Innocent people are dying in Iraq because of the ruthless militias and their infiltration into the Iraqi security forces. According to the Economist, "The Mahdi Army, in particular, is thought to be responsible for most of the killing around Baghdad, which in turn—according to American officers—accounts for some 90% of the violence nationwide".
The Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, is obviously in cahoots with the brutal Mahdi Army leaders. He is holding back the troops from taking on the Mahdi Army, and he has made the US troops set free captured Mahdi Army leaders. Peaceniks please note that the Mahdi Army drills holes into innocent people. Ordinary people are so frightened of the dentist's drill even after an injection, now imagine the terror caused by a real masonry drill without any injection, into the bones of your body! Thats what the Mahdi Army do!
But the violence and the killing of the innocent people is not just limited to the Mahdi army, there are other groups too. There is one regional power however that pulls the strings and supports ALL of these militia groups. The objective of this regional power is to prevent democracy and stability in Iraq. Why? Because a prosperous democratic neighbour will motivate the Iranian people too.
I always detest hypocrisy, so while objecting to the killing of innocent people is always a noble cause, it should not matter who is doing it. If peaceniks march and demonstrate against those who are funding the brutal sectarian militias in Iraq, I will join them. But will we ever see the likes of Brian Haw have a protest outside the Iranian embassy in London? I doubt it very much. As usual these protesters are not even handed when it comes for caring for the lives of the innocent people.