Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hans Blix and the Whitewash testimony

Hans Blix's testimony yesterday to the Iraq Inquiry was a joke.

Qualifiers/disclosures. Blix reminds me very much of someone from a neighboring country who married a very good friend of mine. My friend is African-American (the marriage ended awhile back) and the man, like Blix, was Anglo-European. The man (and his family) were highly racist (my opinion and the opinion of many others). When Blix repeatedly cited and spoke of Condi Rice yesterday, I was left with the impression (right or wrong) that something other than Condi's actions were the reason for Blix' distaste. (And this was raised yesterday by a friend with the British press as to why I didn't like Blix, so take that perception into account when considering the opinions I share.)

Still on qualifiers/disclosures, we have never, ever made our case that: Inspections should have continued and that would have prevented the war! We never made that case because Blix is not to be trusted. Not just yesterday, but ever. However, in his testimony, you can certainly find those treads yet again.

Still on qualifications/disclosures, I spent 90 minutes on the phone yesterday asking what was worth praising in the s**t Blix spewed to the Inquiry? I was asked to sleep on it and told I'd probably see it differently in the morning. I slept, I don't see it differently.

But keep all in the above in mind and form your own opinion, don't just go by mine. (But I'm about to express mine and advocate for it, you have been warned.) Check yesterday's snapshot where, except for five sentences, we stuck with his testimony -- with his ludicrous testimony.

The headline from yesterday's testimony should have been "Blix Backs Bush's Argument for the War." That's what he did. From one moment to the next. He is the most inconsistent witness and the peace movement would do well to never make arguments based upon him again. If your argument is that inspections should have continued, you had some support in his statements. But so did George W. Bush. Should inspections have continued? In retrospect, he believes they should have. And in real time? He wanted them to go on through April. At one point in his testimony. He wanted them to go on for months, at another point. He wanted armed inspectors to roam through Iraq for years, he offered at another point.

With his meandering and ever changing opinions, Bush could well argue that what Blix did find (no WMD, no real violations but some small issues) and Blix' refusal to clear Iraq and say they had no WMD, his move was forced.

Was he forced?

Of course not. It's an illegal war. And it's a war of choice. It's in violation of the UN charter and every international law -- including those the US has signed on to.

But if your argument is based on Blix, Bush can shoot back, "Blix supported me!" Because Blix' wishy-washy b.s. does just that.

B-b-b-ut I saw Blix on TV and he was being interviewed and calling Bush and/or Blair out!

You may have but did you notice the lack of consistency or how quickly in the news cycle Blix always walked it back?

An interview he gave was raised in yesterday's hearing. And he had made concrete statements. And they called people (Blair) out. And?

Blix denied the report and went on to deny every piece of writing about him unless he authored it.

That's our 'brave' Hans Blix.

Condi Rice. I'm not a fan of Condi Rice. I'm more than willing to apportion her share of the blame and call her out for it. But there was no President Condi Rice. There was no Secretary of Defense Condi Rice.

So what was Blix' obsession with Condi. She wasn't even Secretary of State then (Colin Powell was). She was Bush's National Security Adviser. She was named more than Rumsfeld (then-Secretary of Defense, mentioned only in passing) and more than in anyone in the administration. Again, take my personal experience shared above into account, I think he has a problem with Rice based on either her gender or her race. He wasn't merely focused on Rice, he was obsessed with Condi. It made no sense.

(When we compile a list of War Criminals, by all means, put Condi on it. But her rank is lower than Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.)

Hans Blix was the white-wash witness and you have to wonder if, in fact, that's why he was called. Hans Blix appeared before the Inquiry and told a pleasing (for British ears) fairytale. "Sleep easy, England, Tony Blair is not a bad person." That's Blix' testimony in a nut shell. The US, apparently led by Condi Rice, controlled everything and pushed the poor British around. The British, Blix insisted, wanted to follow the UN rules. Really? That's in direct contrast to every British official in the legal department. Are we supposed to forget that?

And at one point Blix referenced that opinion in passing.

But it was a runaway train on the railroad and the US was driving while the poor British officials were stuck in the caboose unable to disconnect from the rest of the train.

To call that a fairytale is to put it as nicely as possible.

Hans Blix is a damn liar and he's one of the main reason the illegal war started. That shined through in his testimony. He hedged every statement. No government official would have taken him seriously. (Except for his constant repeating that he believed Iraq had WMD. He repeated that to everyone. And this is our hero? This is who the peace movement wants to support?) He was a joke and he was an idiot.

And it was a damn shame that someone who knew SO DAMN LITTLE was allowed to testify about so much. If you don't get that, you missed his white washing of all crimes. There are no more war crimes today, Blix wanted to insist. The stupid idiot declared that the US back then "was high on military" but "this has changed with Obama." What the hell does that piece of s**t know about what "changed" or didn't "change"? Is he unaware that he's supposed to be testifying only to what he has witnessed. Is he unaware of what's going on in Afghanistan? Or Pakistan? Or what continues in Iraq? "Obama says yes, they will retain the rights to -- they reserve the possibility to take unilateral action but they will try to follow international rules."
If that statement shocks you (page 28 of the testimony, lines 1 through 4), that may be due to the fact that a number of outlets have 'improved' it to make it say something else. Stream the video, that's what he said.

And Blix is praising Barack for that crap? Where's the 'change'? Barack "says yes, they will still retain the right to -- they reserve the possibility to take unilateral action but they will try to follow international rules." That's not a change? That's exactly what Bush said before the Iraq War for months and months.

Blix is a damn liar.

His entire testimony exists to whitewash reality, to insist that the problem was George W. Bush (via Condi Rice) and that, with Bush out of office, the threat is gone.

(Bush's ghost writer should pour over Blix' testimony for the Bush book because that conclusion -- all Bush's fault -- can be set to the side and the ghost writer can emphasize other portions which back up Bush for going into illegal war.)

It's the sort of fairytale that exists to keep people ignorant of their governments' actions and motives. It's the sort of fairytale that reduces everything to a simple cartoon. There was no honesty in the garbage. And, if you were British, you may have been thrilled that sweet and cute Tony Blair really wasn't at fault after all. It was Bush . . . led by Condi.

Jalal Ghazi (New America Media) notes that WikiLeaks' latest revelations echo earlier reports by Arab media:

In many cases, Arab media used testimony by American soldiers themselves to validate their reports about U.S. responsibility for civilian casualties. For example, Al Jazeera English reported on March 15, 2008 that hundreds of U.S. veterans of the war in Iraq say the American military has been covering up widespread civilian killings in Iraq. The soldiers who testified said that there have been routine cover-ups of indiscriminate killings of Iraqi civilians.
Former U.S. Marine Jason Washburn, for example, told Al Jazeera English: "We would carry these weapons and shovels so in case we accidentally shot a civilian we would toss the weapon on the body and we would say that he was an insurgent."
U.S. Army veteran Jason Hurd said, "We would fire indiscriminately and unnecessarily at this building. We never got a body count and we never got a casualty count afterward." He added, "These things happen every day in Iraq."
The veterans also showed videos supporting their claims. The testimony of the U.S. veterans also highlights the mental state of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that may have led to acts of violence against civilians.
Al Jazeera English journalist Omar Chatriwala wrote in a blog (“WikiLeaks vs. the Pentagon") that the WikiLeaks documents are supported by reports from the ground by Al Jazeera English.

In the US yesterday, some members of the House of Representatives voted against continuing to fund the never-ending wars. George Bennett (Palm Beach Post) quotes US Rep Alcee Hastings on his office:

Congressman Hastings joined a majority of his colleagues from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in voting against the supplemental appropriations bill. The Senate version of the bill that the House passed was stripped of critical domestic and CBC priorities (i.e. funding for teachers, police, and fire fighters, Pell Grants, youth summer jobs, TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, and settlement funds for the decades-old discrimination Pigford and Cobell lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Ag).
Furthermore, as it pertains to Afghanistan the Congressman believes that it is past time that we re-examine our strategy in Afghanistan. He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 5015, to require a plan for the safe, orderly, and expeditious redeployment of US Forces from Afghanistan. The legislation was introduced by Congressman Jim McGovern on April 14, 2010.


Unless Americans hold their leaders accountable for their criminal conduct, even if it means the death penalty, future leaders will commit crimes as well, a prominent law school dean warns.
“Unless and until this starts being done, and I stress the need for the gallows when the crime warrants it, we will never be without major crooks, without causers of major disasters, in big business, in government, in economics and in war,” writes Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover and an award-winning essayist.
“Unless and until we start sending the even worse criminal warmongers and torture mongers to the gallows, we will in the long run keep getting more of the same. We will recoil from the disaster only to find ourselves facing a similar economic or warmongering disaster five or ten or twenty years from now,” Velvel wrote.
As to the economic and business side of it, by now nobody needs persuading that one disaster can and does follow another, Velvel says. As for starting wars, “who, if he or she lived through Viet Nam, would have thunk it could happen again, yet (former President George W.) Bush and (former Vice President Dick) Cheney and their fellow mental dwarfs saw to it that it did,” he added.
Velvel noted that “It was the fear of being held to account in courts even though this had never happened before that led the Executive to commission exonerating legal memoranda from the John Yoos and their ilk in the Department of Justice and the Pentagon. For George Bush, Richard Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Henry Kissinger to swing, or even for them to spend years in jail, would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders.”

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