Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

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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Iraq, Chilcot, IS – Why Blair Is Still On The Run

October 25, 2015

christopher_lee180-11

26 October 2015

London

If Iraq had not happened I wonder how Tony Blair would have rated today? But it did happen and now Mr Blair is having to explain his case all over again – this time on a CNN TV show.

He says to go into Iraq after Saddam Hussein was the toughest decision he had to make. Wrong Mr Blair.

The then US President George W Bush was already going into Iraq.  Mr Blair went along for the ride to glory being overwhelmed by the aura surrounding true power. He would have enjoyed being a US President.

He says he was sorry that the Intelligence that swung his decision to go get Saddam was not so good.  Wrong Mr Blair.

The Intelligence at all levels was enough to tell us that the military threat was non-existent.  Weapons of Mass Disappearance.

He says if they had not gone after Saddam then Iraq would have become the same as Syria is today. Wrong Mr Blair.

Syrians started the Damascus demos because the Arab Spring was running and Syria joined in and Assad had a second rate security operation.

There was no revolution brewing in the Middle East in 2003 and Saddam ran the tightest Sunni security operation anyone had seen.  Only a dead man walking would have tried a demo in Saddam’s Iraq that year.

He says that just maybe IS or Daesh or ISIS may have emerged because of the war in Iraq.  Wrong Mr Blair.

IS emerged not because there was a war but because the coalition pulled out far too soon leaving a state convulsed by revenge politics and no military and security apparatus capable of identifying extremism.  Above all, IS started in Syria, not Iraq.

So what is this all about? It is about the forthcoming preliminary publication of the Chilcot inquiry set up to  look at the who did what and why of the Iraq war. Mr Blair gave evidence and did a good job.  Others who also gave evidence – but contradicted Mr Blair.  That they gave their evidence in a way to protect there own skins is neither here nor there now. Mr Blair is an easy and not much a moving target.

The point is that Mr Blair has already read the Chilcot paragraphs about himself.  He knows the criticisms and by having his people go through the transcripts (the evidence text is on line for anyone to read) he also knows that the general public impression is that the war was bad news and his part in it is condemned by his own people.  That is not Chilcot’s fault.  Most people believed that anyway.

So Mr Blair is going public with his defence anticipating reaction to Chilcot.  Simple as that. It matters not what Chilcot says. In fact most people will never read it. Anyone left who cares wants the Blair Guilty headlines.  We have had them so many times that except for insiders, Chilcot matters not.

You may think Mr Blair is cutting a sad enough figure; then again you may be among those who say he has become a multi millionaire so what’s the problem.  The truth is somewhat deeper.

It is hard to remember sometimes that Mr Blair was not just Iraq.  For example he made his Party electable and since he left office it has never again been so. Tony Blair’s supreme achievement was not teaming up with George W Bush but being a main figure in bringing about a peace settlement in Northern Ireland. There was a string of successes for PM Blair and but for one thing he could today even be on some one’s list of a future Prime Minister returning to rescue a Party that has descended to almost nothing without him. A grand old man of politics. A world statesman.

Instead? Forever in British eyes: Tony Blair is on the run.

Christopher Lee

May 4, 2013

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Iraq: Infant Mortality Up. Killing Up. Why Do The Victors Over Saddam Hussein Look The Other Way?

4 May 2013

Why  don’t many of the UN Security permanent five want to talk about the latest and damning report from Iraq.  They really should read it carefully as it comes from the  United Nation’s own mission in Baghdad.  

Could be of course that it’s a weekend and they want to get away.  That’s good reason to dump anything with an official stamp on the cover.  But given the casualty rate news from that other US led killing ground, Afghanistan these past few days, maybe word from the already forgotten war, Iraq, makes uncomfortable reading. 

The report says that in just last month 712 people were killed in Iraq.  And 595 of them were civilians.  The report says the deaths were caused by “acts of terrorism and of violence” last month, April.

Let’s be sympathetic towards the highly paid and treated diplomats at UN head office – they don’t want to stir trouble. Read the report and even the most look-the-other-way diplomat has to ask questions. The detail is too obvious. Mark that UN figure: 712 people killed.  That’s not an approximate number is it? It’s precise.  They must know something. But the dips don’t want to upset the Iraqi delegation.  But they should, even must, because the Iraqi government is trying to ignore the UN figures.  They say they are not true. The Iraqis are saying it wasn’t 712 killed, it was only 245 killed in April. Oh so the UN got it wrong did it?  No way.  

The UN team has checked out hospitals, mortuary numbers, families and officials and individual reports. In Baghdad alone, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) say that 211 Iraqis perished and 486 were wounded.  Again, very precise figures.  

During the past two weeks alone more than 200 have been killed and a lot of them have been going down in the provinces of Diyala, Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Anbar.  On one day last week, 29 April, at the very least 18 were in southern Iraq, the Shia dominated provinces.

The social and political tensions are obvious in Iraq itself. The Shia-dominated government of prime minister Nouri Maliki is predictably accused by the Sunnis of cutting them out of any benefits of government reforms – such as they are. The Shias were once kept down by the Sunni regime of Saddam Hussein.  The reverse situation now holds. Conflict is and always was inevitable once the Americans pulled out in December 2011.

The British simply ran away – or that’s the way its seen by many in the south.  They handed over responsibility to the militia.  So much for bringing peace and democracy to the Iraqis.  The UN report shows that the consistent rate of killing is greater than it was when Saddam was there.  Another report not talked about at the UN Headquarters says that child mortality is worse than before the US-led intervention in 2003.

Another UN agency says the Millenium Development Goals, the benchmark of post-war benefits, have not been met in key areas, including infant mortality and how many children are being educated.  It makes the obvious point that Iraq is going to need more than ever an educated middle class to run the country.  That is not happening.  Iraq, once the most developed state in the Arab world now has 84 deaths per thousand live births.  Infant mortality is about 32 per cent of those 1000 live births.  Maliki insists that Iraqis are better off than they were under Saddam.  

Maliki’s is a selective judgement that has no relationship to the majority of people working on a simple principle: is my family better cared for and safer.  The answer in too many places is that those families are worse off than they were prior to 2003.

The lesson for the people writing out the notices to quit in Afghanistan are again obvious. Internecine warfare appears with just a year to go before ISAF withdrawal to be inevitable.  The Afghan National Army needs a US led afterguard to  easy them through a transition period of at least five years.  That was not done in Iraq so the Shia-Sunni conflict took off on day one of so-called independent administration.  

Secondly, the US-led coalition failed miserably to provide the template for political stability as well as the military structure to preserve that civilian institution of government and a recognizable operational council of the three principle interests, Shia’s seeking revenge, Sunnis seeking to bring down that which replaced its authority and Kurds with the very real opportunities of quasi-autonomous control of the richest part of the re-emerging economy, the oil business.

No wonder UN delegations know that many of their governments, especially the closest supporters of the legally questionable war of 2003, have marked the documents For Your Attention and sent them home in their diplomatic bags.

The truth is hard to chew on. Almost every government that took part in the Iraq War now wants nothing to do with the consequences and the reality of the aftermath: the Iraqi people lost the war; the allies simply got out.  The same result looks very much on the cards for Afghanistan. So why should permanent representatives in New York want to be reminded that Iraq was a failure and Afghanistan is heading that way?  Mind you, it does explain the never-again factor in President Obama’s assertion that he isn’t about to put boots on the ground in Syria.