Why I didn't go on the Stop the War march…

Today 750,000 people in the UK converged on London to take part in the “Stop the War” march. And here – if such a thing is possible – is where I try to put into words my reasons for not being one of them.
Pretty much everyone I know from work went on the march. Many other UK webloggers marched too. Friends of mine of every political persuasion were there. But I wasn’t. Why? I keep asking myself what holds me back. Why don’t I feel able to throw myself behind such a huge and popular cause?
It isn’t because I’m a fan of Saddam Hussein. That’s for certain. And it’s not because I believe that the US has no interests in the area that it’s trying to protect. And I know that I find the rhetoric of many pro-war people terrifying – designed to incite fear, hatred and a sense of revenge. And the links between Al Qaeda and Iraq? Speculative at best. We probably have more obvious and stronger links with these organisations. After all, someone worked to keep the USSR out of the Middle East…
In my heart I think the reason I’m not standing up with everyone else against this war is because I think there are two very separate issues that need to be detached from one another and I think I’ve been scared that this march conflates them.
To start off with, I don’t have any reason to be against a “moral” war – if indeed this is one. Indeed, I would not even be against a pragmatic war. We may be have been the ones who put Hussein where he is today, we may have sold him the weapons, we may have propped up his regime, we may have interests in the area – but if he poses a threat, if his regime is bloody and dictatorial, then this makes us more responsible, not less. If anything something should be done because we fouled up so atrociously in the past.
What I am against, and I think it’s something that I share with a good proportion of the people on that march today, is the feeling that the United Nations is an institution that shouldn’t be bullied, dismantled or circumvented. Fundamentally, if I’m against anything here, it’s the rejection of the checks and balances of the international community. If you’re having problems with the way they do things, then you try and change the minds of international community, or you work to change the institution in a way that makes it work more effectively. You don’t get to ignore the law just because no one can stop you breaking it. There’s too much to be lost – a world of stability that we’re still nowhere near, but which we’ve been fighting for over the last six decades. More, even. It’s the noblest goal I can think of. But it has to be a world of stability that we reached through reaching a consensus, and not by imposing our opinions – our values.
I’ve had the news on in the background all day, and a good proportion of the people on these demonstrations don’t seem to be protesting war at all. They just want a war that’s conducted in their name – if it is proven to be necessary – to go through the proper process, to be undertaken as a solemn responsibility of an organisation that represents all the major peoples of the world. That’s all. If I’d known that this morning, I think I might have joined them…