Saturday, August 04, 2012

I Hate The War

Pravda becomes the latest to carry Felicity Arbuthnot's "Iraq: Britian's War Against Truth" calling out the refusal of the government to release the contents of the conversation then-Prime Minister Tony blair had with Bully Boy Bush on the eve of the Iraq War.  Excerpt:

The refusal by the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to disclose documents integral to the decision to join the US in invading, occupying, destroying and dismantling the entire civil authority and infrastructure of the very State of Iraq, follows their Labour predecessors, the invasion's co-architects.

The Iraq Inquiry findings under Sir John Chilcot's Chairmanship will now be delayed for over another year.

Sir John and his distinguished team will at least have learned one thing that lesser mortals ascertained long ago: When it comes to dodging, diving, weaving and circumventing the truth, no one does it better than top British politicians of all political hues.

On Friday (the 27th of July 2012) the Guardian noted, "The Foreign Office (FCO) is appealing against a Judge's ruling that extracts of a conversation between Tony Blair and George W. Bush days before the invasion of Iraq must be disclosed," adding "The FCO has now sought leave to appeal against the decision with an "Upper Tribunal" made up of more senior Judges ..." (i)

This related to the vital papers of the Cabinet discussions under Tony Blair's Premiership, between March 13th-17th, 2003. The Iraq invasion began on the 19th-20th of March (depending on geographic region).

The documents had been ordered released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) due to the dogged persistence, through legal channels, of Stephen Plowdon of The Nonviolent Radical Party, an NGO with Consultative Status at the UN Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) since 1995.

March 12, 2003, Blair and Bush spoke on the phone.  A transcript of the conversation exists.  Supposedly the topic is how then-President of France Jacques Chirac was refusing to support a second UN resolution.  (There was no UN resolution for the Iraq War, only for inspections.  Months after the illegal war started, there would be a resolution governing the occupation.)   Rajeev Syal (Guardian) explained, "Blair and Bush are believed to have talked on 12 March 2003 about the possibility of military action in Iraq without a promised second UN security council resolution backing such action. Blair has since repeatedly blamed Chirac for the failure to get a second resolution."

 As noted in the "About the Inquiry" at the Iraq Inquiry website, the inquiry was announced by then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the goal was to "identify lessons that can be learned from the Iraq conflict."  Committee Chair John Chilcot is quoted stating:

Our terms of reference are very broad, but the essential points, as set out by the Prime Minister and agreed by the House of Commons, are that this is an Inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors. It will consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath. We will therefore be considering the UK's involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned. Those lessons will help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country.
The Inquiry and the British government are both now jokes.  The Inquiry will likely never overcome this decision to censor the government -- a decision that they didn't support but that will still be attached to them.  And the government's a joke and an embarrassment -- especially the Liberal Democrats.

Tony Blair (and Gordon Brown) represented the Labour Party (actually "New Labour" which, in the US, is a lot like the DLC).  When Gordon Brown couldn't shake the shame of Blair and Labour lost the prime minister post, the Conservative Party emerged as leaders as they formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.  So the UK is now ruled by a combination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.  The Conservative Party's David Cameron is Prime Minister (has been since May 2010) and the Deputy Prime Minister is Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg.

As Deputy Prime Minister, Clegg has backed the decision not to release the transcript.

This is a far cry from November 2009 when Nick Clegg was just an MP and leader of the Liberal Democrats.  Back then, as the BBC reported in real time, Nick Clegg was concerned about information getting out, advocating for it being released.

How on earth are we, and is the whole country, going to hear about the full truth of the decisions leading up to the invasion of Iraq if the inquiry is being suffocated on day one by his government's shameful culture of secrecy?

That's Clegg speaking in November 2009.   Back then, he insisted that Chilcot's Inquiry must be "able to reveal the full truth about the decisions leading up to the invasion of Iraq. "

Pravda, for years a joke in the West, is now able to laugh -- and encourage its readers to laugh -- at the state of transparency in the British government.  That alone is worth remarking on.

However, the larger lesson is that politicians -- in every country (including the US) -- rarely mean a damn thing they say.  They don't speak truth as a rule.  They open their mouths solely to advance whatever the day's rhetoric is that will make them look better and their opponent look petty.  So if they're out of power when a war starts, they're against that war.  But if they get into power, they'll go along with that war.  Gladly.  They'll even help cover up the crimes.

England's the one caught with their pants down today but that paragraphs describes the US government as well.  (It's true of all governments.)

And that's why war never ends.  People use it as a political football and toss it around and play with it.  The ones elected, the bulk of them, are never really opposed to war, to starting them or continuing them.  Why would they be, so far removed as the bulk of them are from the battlefield.

There's a great deal of talk about bringing back the draft in the US which I don't support.  The draft didn't end the war in Vietnam or Korea.  That's a fallacy and it's what the impotent grab onto when they can deal with reality ("We bring back the draft and the streets will be flooded with protests!" No.  Didn't happen that way at all.)  But if that day ever come where conscription is reintroduced in the US, someone should ensure that the Senate and the House have to send a percentage of their members to that ongoing war.  They want a war, then fine, send 30% of the members of the House and the Senate off to battle in this war they support.  Not cushy jobs, not safe ones.  The kind where they're exposed to the roadside bombings, where they're out on patrol.

And maybe when the Congress realizes their own asses will be on the line, they'll beging to take the issue of war a lot more serioulsy than they have in the last few decades.

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!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

The e-mail address for this site is