Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Hate The War

Britain was not consulted about crucial decisions on Iraq, despite hopes that by contributing so many troops to the invasion it would be able to influence US policy, the Chilcot inquiry heard today. Sir John Sawers, the recently appointed head of MI6 but then a close adviser to Tony Blair, made it clear that the decisions to disband the Iraqi army and dismiss thousands of members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party were taken by the US alone. Britain's military commanders, with 46,000 troops taking part in the invasion, were furious about the decisions. Pressed by inquiry panel members Sir Roderic Lyne, a former top diplomat, and historian Sir Martin Gilbert, Sawers said: "In retrospect it seemed that the decisions were taken in advance in Washington."

The above is from Richard Norton-Taylor's "US did not involve Britain in crucial Iraq decisions, Chilcot inquiry told" (Guardian). First off, those e-mailing about the snapshot, it is "Sawers."
It's mispelled in the snapshot. I'll note that in tomorrow's snapshot. Second, why are we following the Iraq Inquiry and aren't there other things to follow?

That's an issue mainly from visitors but three community members also asked.

The Iraq Inquiry is something that needs to be followed. I'd love to focus on something else. Especially when (like this coming Monday) there are three to five witnesses. That's going to be anywhere from 210 pages of transcript to 280 pages that I'll have to read through before the snapshot can be dictated. And I'll be on the phone asking about certain things being raised in the transcripts. So there are a lot of easier things to cover.

But the US hasn't had an inquiry and today, for example, Sawers offered the most testimony on de-Ba'athification that's been offered thus far. That policy had a huge impact. Sawers was present for it. There are things that if the transcripts were final and signed, I'd be pouncing on. Including a possible slip of the tongue from Sawers today. But they're not final yet, they're rough transcripts.

None of us know what's going to happen from the Inquiry -- in terms of its findings. The others have been white washes and pattern may hold. With that a strong possibility, the only real service that it may provide is getting a few more details out into the public record. That and showing how unfeeling so many behind the war were -- the official who felt he suffered far more than Margaret Hassan's family being only one example.

Some have voiced interest, some have voiced outrage with some of the stuff coming out and some are bored with it I'm sure -- I'm talking about in this community. Far more than the ones who e-mailed to ask today. And I do understand all three positions.

But we're going to cover the public testimonies. That's the decision made (and I made it so be upset with me if you're bored). We miss some stuff as a result, that's fine. I am surprised that the numbers issue didn't become a story this week but maybe people don't pay attention when the outlets reporting are Killeen? Maybe it has to be "NYT" or something similar for people to take notice?

We may grab that issue next week if no one has by then. To three of you who read Arabic and said the translation of the article today was sound, thank you. I'm sure it's sketchy at best and completely off the mark at worst but there wasn't an English langauge story on it and it was just too important not to cover. Most of the time, I'll just leave it out. Maybe refer to it. I don't worry about linking to articles in Spanish and offering a translation because we have enough Spanish speaking members. I did a translation on an Italian article from the Vatican and that was fine. But my Arabic is really spotty and I'd prefer to keep it out of the snapshots when possible. (Outside the snapshots? I really don't care. But they go up everywhere and if there's an error, other community members will get griped out. Ava and I have both, in entries here, over the years done translations on various articles in various languages. And that's fine but if it goes in the snapshot -- because the snapshot is reposted . . .)

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4367. Tonight? 4368.

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