The Chilcot Report investigating Tony Blair’s war crimes was released recently, and wow. What an utterly failed attempt at political equivocation it is. Seven years to issue a report on the illegal war the UK spent six years expediting and for what? Will Tony Blair’s crimes, as outlined in detail in the Childot report, be punished? The High Court said there was no crime of aggression in English law under which the former prime minister could be charged. And that’s that.
So, this report’s purpose, then, is to show the world the cowardice of UK politicians. To show the world the bald-faced hypocrisy of the Western World. To ensure the historical record will show that, instead of defending the international laws that emerged after the horror WW2, Chilcot and his staff have eviscerated internaltional law, and in so doing made a mockery of the sacrifice of every British veteran of WW2. Well, piss on the memory of the noblest generation! Let’s Instead waffle and attempt to manufacture a distinction between the willful “deceit” that murdered somewhere around 1 million people, and the lies that killed 1 million. Wow you guys. Newspeak much?
In moral terms, a deceit and a lie are indistinguishable. A 5-year old could see that. If you create a false impression on someone and withhold the truth that would disabuse them from that untruth, how is that different from a lie? You are manipulating people with deception so that you can take advantage of them. That’s called being a dick. The deceptions manufactured were used to prosecute an indefensible war, one with appalling costs and horrific consequences. Over a million dead, an entire country in ruins, a shattered security architecture vulnerable to invasion by ISIS, a generation of hope lost. If we wish to live in a peaceful world, then such evil must be punished and the people responsible made examples of.
The truth is that if the Nuremberg principles applied to Bush and Blair, they would hang. Lucky for them we live in more civilized times. Less principled too.
So, let’s look at some of the evidence that shows Bush, Blair et al conscientiously lied.
What they claimed: Iraq bought centrifuges for enriching uranium to weapons grade.
What they knew: The tubes were “innocuous,” not fit for centrifuges, only for conventional short range rockets.
What they claimed: Saddam was pursuing WMD.
What they knew: Saddam had destroyed his entire program. In fact, by 2003 Iraq was “qualitatively disarmed” and “Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbours.” That was due to a highly successful disarmament regime after the first gulf war but of course Dick Cheney told Hans Blix that the “US was ready to discredit inspections in favour of disarmament.” All efforts were being made to present the world a false narrative of an Iraq which was a grave threat to the world.
What they claimed: Saddam was in league with Al Queda and terrorists.
What they knew: In 2002 there was absolutely no evidence to link Iraq and Al Queda. Later, in 2008, the US Department of Defense issued a report that said the same, 100% contradicting Donald Rumsfeld’s bald-faced lie that the CIA had “bulletproof” evidence of this link.
This list goes on and on and on. The list of items that prove Bush and Blair were fixing “intelligence” around policy is so abundant it shames the Chilcot Report authors.
Not only did Bush and Blair have to lie through their teeth to try and foist this illegal war on the public, they had to pervert democracy to do so. As Noam Chomsky points out, not even the citizens of their allies in the so-called “coalition of the willing,” euphemistically dubbed “New Europe” supported them:
Happily for Washington, former communist countries too joined New Europe. Within them, support for the “United States’ view,” as defined by Powell — namely, war by the “coalition of the willing” without UN authorization — ranged from 4 percent (Macedonia) to 11 percent (Romania).
Support for a war even with a UN mandate was also very low. Latvia’s former foreign minister explained that we have to “salute and shout, ‘Yes sir.’ . . . We have to please America no matter what the cost.”
In brief, in journals that regard democracy as a significant value, headlines would have read that Old Europe in fact included the vast majority of Europeans, East and West, while New Europe consisted of a few leaders who chose to line up (ambiguously) with Washington, disregarding the overwhelming opinion of their own populations.
But actual reporting was mostly scattered and oblique, depicting opposition to the war as a marketing problem for Washington.
Ultimately, US and UK citizens shouldn’t kick themselves too hard. It’s not like yours was the only country where governments completely overrode public opinion to side with the US. The government–and especially mainstream news media–poured enormous resources into manufacturing your acquiescence. Which is why, if ever there is to be a reckoning in the form of trials for US war criminals, those in the media who knowingly supported this war-enabling false narrative should be indicted as accessories..
Could you imagine if the Nuremberg tribunals gave all Nazis a 100% pass because they classified their crimes as “armed international chicanery” instead of a “war of aggression?” Well, that’s what’s happening here. So hats off to you Chilcot et al, you’ve given Hitler a slap on the wrist. You’re heroes!
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