Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Hate The War

Britain's most senior military officer at the time of the invasion of Iraq told the Chilcot inquiry he repeatedly asked Tony Blair for an assurance that the war would be lawful and was emphatically assured the aim was never "regime change".
In striking contrast to previous evidence about the former prime minister's war aims, Admiral Lord Boyce said : "Our policy absolutely and specifically was not regime change".
Blair's closest advisers, including Sir David Manning have told the inquiry that the former prime minister assured President George Bush he was willing to undertake regime change. Lord Turnbull, cabinet secretary at the time, described Blair as a "regime changer".

The above is from Richard Norton-Taylor's "Iraq war inquiry: Top admiral told 'regime change not the goal' by Blair" (Guardian). I don't share his take. I actually think Boyce's testimony - -which Norton-Taylor accurately captures -- if true serves as a further indictment against Blair because it does against what Blair testified to last Friday. But I've had a different take for two weeks now as to what's emerged from the Iraq Inquiry. I could be completely wrong and don't dispute that. But the picture that's emerged for me is backed up by Boyce.

I'd hoped to discuss that in Monday's snaphot but, all week long, there was no time. And that's the topic of tonight's entry. Not what I hope to get to now or Monday in a snapshot, but all the things.

The price of oil has changed, an e-mail informs me, and we didn't note that in a snapshot.

Nope. Didn't. Didn't have time to. And I think the change may actually be the increase per barrel that Iraq saw which led to a larger inflow of cash than they'd planned for. I don't believe the e-mailer was actually writing about a week's fluctuation in prices. (I could be wrong.) I also didn't note the issue of Baghdad getting electricity from Kirkuk though there were developments there. Or a statement of solidarity with Iraqi Christians. There were -- and always are -- a huge number of things that don't get noted.

That's why it's called a "snapshot" and not "Iraq Encyclopedia."

Ideally, we're going with themes that pop up repeatedly -- whether it's violence or political or whatever -- because that's where the patterns are. Variations take place but not any real change if you follow the patterns.

Of the stories I've noted we missed and including the price of oil or the fact that oil prices ended up higher and Iraq ended up bringing in more money, there's not a one of them I really think we needed this week. I do think the issue of what the president and vice presidents are doing with regards to deputies are a story but that's just not emerging in the US media and I've seen conflicting reports in the Arab media. For that reason, I've played kick the can with that story.

And, back to the Iraq Inquiry, it's the patterns that stand out. There are consistent patterns in the testimonies -- not just of the last two weeks. That may mean I'm right in my conclusions regarding what the testimony has said, that may mean I'm wrong. And Richard Norton-Taylor disagreeing doesn't make me think, "I must be right." But there is a pattern and one aspect of it involves the factions Tony Blair created and the way he fractured himself to get what he wanted. That's there in the Cabinet members who lie for him, it's there in the ones who refuse to and it's especially there in the people who were out of the loop.

So if you're following the Inquiry, think about that and we'll turn it into a little parlor game in terms of my conclusions. (And, when I'm dictating that in a snapshot, in case I forget to stress it, remember this is my hypothesis. I will argue it convincingly, but it's just my opinion, it's speculation.) And if you want a clue: He wasn't a poodle.

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 week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4439. Tonight it is [PDF format warning] still 4439. And that's 18 deaths since 'combat operations' allegedly ended.

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