Archive for June, 2016

Chilcot: Editors order 60pt Bodoni to hang Blair high. Not because of the Iraq War but because he is Tony Blair

June 28, 2016

christopher_lee180-11

Christopher Lee

30 June 2016

The Chilcot Report on why the UK went to an illegal war with Iraq in 2003, who was responsible for such an act before the war, during the war and after the event is due to be published in London 6 July.

Chilcot is one of the most important Whitehall documents thus far the century. It tells us how we went to a war that still rages because the US-led coalition did not know how to fight such a conflict, did not understand what it was fighting and did not make plans to bring the defeated country to peace.

From the UK position, such an event and such a comprehensive study is likely to be reduced to nothing more gutter Press editing that has one purpose: Hang Blair Out To Dry. Blair is the villain say his opponents and is even a war criminal.

It matters not that everything that has been said publicly about Tony Blair has already been said.  Chilcot will not say anything new.  But so badly is Blair’s reputation that the shabby intellectualism that modern Britain has become will simply throw recycled blame on the same figure.

It is certainly true that much of the British public did not want to go to war.  Public opinion was ignored by Blair.  He talked up false information most noticeably that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction against the West inside 45 minutes. This was untrue. But it was crucial false evident that forced the government lawyers to declare that on balance there should be war whereas until that lie – and it was that – the legal view was the war was illegal without a second UN Resolution of authority.

So Britain went to war illegally.  Most in Whitehall knew that.

As for the weapons of mass destruction, they did not exist.  They were weapons of mass disappearance.  There was not a single weapon found.  But still we did not understand.  Blair went to war because he became heady with the aura of power that was Washington, the White House and Crawford and worse, because he believed as he said, Saddam is a nasty man.

But Chilcot is 2.7million words.  Very little is about Blair. It shows the incompetence of British high military command.  The generals got it wrong.  Made bad decisions. MI6 got it wrong.  The Joint Intelligence Committee not only got it wrong but took part in producing a document of lies that was used as evidence of threat and therefore reason for war.  The lawyers got it right then backed down.  The Foreign Office leadership supported the PM instead of the truth.

There remains a terrible reflection of British society at the highest levels: Literally hundred of people were at fault either by omission or commission. But the spotlight of blame lands on Blair. The departments, ambitions and incompetencies and worse still the lies that took the UK into a war – that even George W Bush was not fussed if we went or not – all for the vanity of chance are listed and castigated true enough and thus Chilcot must be praised.

Chilcot will tell the truth about the others but the editors will write GUILTY BLAIR because they have never forgiven him, not for the war, but for being Tony Blair.

 

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European Cup v Politics. No Winners

June 13, 2016

Christopher Lee - photo

Christopher Lee

Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, Lens

14 June 2016

Wales will beat England  2-1 against tomorrow.  Reason? England cannot score goals but with two obvious exceptions, they have better players. Second version: Wales will win 1-0 (Penalty).  Third version: hooligans will get match cancelled.

Whatsoever the result, England will lose because no one likes the English football team – not even the English because they (the team) have a nasty rich image as people. Paid too much.  Never win much when it matters. We are saying that the only nice England players are the former England players.

We are saying also that Prime Minister David Cameron needs by 23 June England FC to be winning this Europe thing and on their way to the 10 July  final because if they do then the national feel good factor will work for him and people will vote Stay.

We are saying also that Boris, Gove Darling et al need England to be winning this Europe thing by 23 June and on their way to the 10 July final because the national feel good factor will mean the union flag is worn with pride and the people will vote Bye Bye.

We are saying that support can turn elections because a national success turns a result by creating a sense of national ecstasy when a trophy is brought home and a below surface glumness when footballers fail.

The British politicians have always made sporting links to whatever game they play at Westminster and now further afield. The post-war Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee installed a teletext system when he arrived in Downing Street in 1945, not to monitor world events but the latest scores in Victory Test matches between an Australian services eleven and England between May and August 1945.  More modern prime ministers made sure minor decorations were handed out when cricket and rugby teams won international series and bicyclists dot not fall off.

More dramatically, Saddam Hussein’s son Uday had  the Iraqi team tortured when they lost in the Asian Cup in 200o. In 2014 North Korean’s soccer team was arrested and threatened with execution after losing to South Korea. Losing meant the North Korean people – especially the leader – were shamed. If they had won North Korea would have been proved triumphant politically and ideology.

The conclusion is that only sport creates the sense of pride and unity – or destroys it – for a nation state in tender times. From British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, to Tory and Liberal leaders David Cameron and Nick Clegg, to French Presidents Mitterrand, Chirac and even Sarkozy all have invoked the names and spirits of their national sporting sides at the height of bi-lateral relations knowing sporting arena results could not be signs of how international politics would fall.

Could be that is why the American always play among themselves for the World Series events, not taking chances of losing against political as well as sporting rivals.

But the other truth is that the sporting effect (other than America’s) does not survive. A Test Match win followed inside three weeks with MBEs all round and flesh-pressing at Downing Street is followed by a whitewashing in Australia and muttering from the Downing Street PR, what was that all about – apart from when John Major was Prime Minister

The true result has to be quickly taken. In 1970 England failed to qualify for the World Cup four days before Labour (who had basked in England’s 1966 success – four months after Moore’s side won the Jules Rimet) was beaten at the general election.

The political victor, Ted Heath, was glad England had lost because he was told it would make the British people fed up with government.  Heath won.  The Labour minister of sport Denis Howell,  declared on the Sunday of defeat “Everything began to go wrong for Labour for the following Thursday.” Wilson blamed the “disgruntled Match of the Day Millions.”

Could it be that if England look bad in the Qualifications, then Cameron will lose the Stay vote?  Or could another day of disgruntlement work for Boris against those “bloody Europeans”?

Feel the pulse in the only thing that really means much to the English nowadays.  The Beautiful Game. It does not really matter if Wales wins or loses.  They will always be gallant fighters.  The English? No one, other than 25,000 fans, cares a toss. Or is that so? The political strategists who believe Howell and Wilson were right?

As a permanent secretary in Whitehall remarked this week. “We have the Referendum, talks on Syria, the NATO summit the week up to the July the Europeans final, talks with Putin’s lot and a shouting match in the EU about an EU Army, which we do not want. If we should win, we go to all these things as champions.’

The thought of Cameron in a white and three lions T-shirt in Vienna Geneva and Warsaw is something to contemplate. All is to play for.  All could easily slip from grasp. After 1-1 with Russia last weekend, anything is possible when own goals decide the political as well as sporting results.

Give UK Reserves a Proper Job-Blue Berets & Putin

June 6, 2016

christopher_lee180-11

Christopher Lee

6 June 2016, London

The Polish government is recruiting a 35,000 paramilitary force because of tensions with Russia.  The force will be a hybrid military operation largely with civilians ready to deploy if Russia does what it did to the Ukraine.

By this time July, Polish plans will be finalised and announced at the Warsaw summit of heads of NATO governments and a further reinforced Alliance battalion attached to what will be a rotation brigade.

That is the very military position and should knock on the head any half-baked ideas for a European army – an unsustainable concept that would be nothing more than NATO less Canada and the US.

The people who should quickly learn from the Polish idea are the British.

Undoubtedly the British have probably the best, certainly one of the most reliable military systems in Europe. There are two weaknesses: manpower and a failure to build a volunteer reserve – the old Royal Navy Reserve (RNR), Territorial Army (TA) and Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).

The purpose of the new style Polish militia is something needed by the British and a concept that would work.  The concept would be simple:

Any military set-up needs above everything else, an identifiable purpose.  The modern post-Afghanistan war volunteer reserve lacks vision and purpose. Recruiting is no where near the figures that the generals said would be there to reinforce the regular forces, especially the army. Reason? The generals got it wrong living as they do in an utterly outdated belief that if they blow the bugle then well-motivated young people will step forward to the colours.

Two reasons for low numbers: fuller civilian employment and greater employer demands plus the army in particular while not back to the days of driving trucks up and down the M11 as regular and only training has no single and believable purpose.

What would simply work is this: the  reserves need to identify an enemy and have an attractive and not an uncertain role.  Modern young men and women are used to priorities rather than general ideas.

The reserves should be formed in two groups: vocational (medical, engineering etc) and militia.  The militia should be tasked to learn everything there is to know about the Russian operation in Ukraine (as an example), identify and learn off by heart the structure of the Russia militia and regular combinations with weapons systems used, recruiting units, tactics and terms of reference.  In other words go live to identify and get in the mind, the strength and weakness of a potential enemy. The British reserves would become walking encyclopaedias of the potential aggressor. Imagine the senses of achievement and purpose that would bring people in civilian jobs.

There is another but not a lesser role: train the whole of the British army volunteer reserve as UN peacekeepers. Have them identify the job, pre-plan for every country a UN operation is or is likely to occur.  British troops are being sent to South Sudan as UN peacekeepers. No reason why trained reservists should not go.

Neither of the above is to lift the load of the regular forces, although it would have a limited spin-off in that direction. These are major jobs that would give great purpose to the reserves and would have recruits in line down the street.

The main achievement would purpose and identity – something missing in civilian and parts of the military in Britain today where the theme is disestablishment and devolution instead of understood identity of purpose.