Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Damage Control

Yesterday, Allan Douglas from Aberdeen was killed in Iraq. He was the 99th British soldier to die in Iraq since the start of the military action to disarm Saddam Hussein. He was 22 years old.

Today, the 100th British soldier has been killed (he has not yet been named). It is an arbitrary number, every unnecessary death is one too many, but it will undoubtedly generate a great deal of media coverage. It is clear that Blair and his cabal have prepared a media strategy to deal with this temporary extra coverage of the situation in Iraq.

Blair told Reuters:
Our response has got to be not to walk away from the situation but to redouble our efforts to make sure the people of Afghanistan and Iraq achieve the democracy they want. In achieving that, we enhance our own security here. We should give our thanks to the British troops and the extraordinary courage they have displayed in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places in the world. It is a tragedy when we lose any soldier but we have to understand why it's important to see it through.
Clever words, particulary the totally unjustified suggestion that Afghanistan and Iraq were part of the same issue. Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan. It can certainly be argued that the invasion of Afghansitan was part of the "war" on terror.

But why are our troops actually in Iraq? They went there to disarm Saddam because his WMD were a threat to our national security. In order for the Iraq debacle to "enhance our security here" it is first necessary to demonstrate that Iraq was a threat to the United Kingdom before the invasion. It was not. This is no longer in dispute as far as I'm aware. The invasion of Iraq was not part of the "war" on terror in any meaningful sense. It was a war of choice.

Blair's attempt to conflate Afghanistan and Iraq stinks of the mendacity which has characterised the war of choice against Iraq from the very start. It is part of the poision gas of deceit, a smokescreen to hide his lies and misjudgements.

Defence Secretary John Reid has also been engaging in damage control. He said:
The morale among our troops is fantastic. I only wish some of the commentators at home had the same moral courage and morale.
Fuck you, you fucking fuck. Sorry but that is the most cowardly pile of shite. Anyone who points out the fact that our troops were sent there based on an exaggerated threat, which was itself based on exaggerated intelligence, is a coward? Fuck you Reid. You're the one hiding the shitty decisions of your government behind the dead bodies of British soldiers. Fuck you.

Sorry but that really makes me angry. The Gulf region today is far more unstable than it was at the start of 2003. It is almost certain that the new Islamic Shiite government of Iraq will oppose any attempts to confront Iran over the nuclear issue. Iran, a country which genuinely could build a nuclear weapon reasonably quickly if it wishes, undoubtedly feels emboldened and free to pursue its goals due to the quagmire we're stuck in in Iraq. It is unlikely that the new Iraqi government will deal with Israel and there's every chance that they will refuse to recognise its right to exist. And we are supporting and enabling this new government in order to "enhance our own security here"? Pointing out that this situation is a total farce isn't something I do because of a lack of "moral courage". Hiding bad decisions behind the dead bodies of people you've sent to fight and die in Iraq, on the other hand, is about as cowardly an act as I can think of.

Today, the situation in Iraq is dire. Today, after Blair and Bush decided to attack a country which had nothing to do with the "war" on terror, it is part of that "war". It is very difficult to recommend a course of action which will improve the situation. But, I say again, the idea that Tony Blair is the best person to make these decisions is ridiculous in the extreme.

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