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Lest We Forget, These Were Blair's Bombs PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Monday, 11 July 2005 16:05

Lest We Forget, These Were Blair's Bombs

t r u t h o u t
| Perspective - John Pilger - Sunday 10 July 2005: In all the coverage of last week's bombing of London, a basic truth is struggling to be heard. It is this: no one doubts the atrocious inhumanity of those who planted the bombs, but no one should also doubt that this has been coming since the day Tony Blair joined George Bush in their bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are "Blair's bombs", and he ought not be allowed to evade culpability with yet another unctuous speech about "our way of life", which his own rapacious violence in other countries has despoiled.


          Indeed, the only reliable warning from British intelligence in the
run-up to the invasion of Iraq was that which predicted a sharp increase in
terrorism "with Britain and Britons a target". A House of Commons committee
has since verified this warning. Had Blair heeded it instead of conspiring
to deceive the nation that Iraq offered a threat the Londoners who died on
Thursday might be alive today, along with tens of thousands of innocent

          Three weeks ago, a classified CIA report revealed that the
Anglo-American invasion of Iraq had turned that country into a focal point
of terrorism. None of the intelligence agencies regarded Iraq as such a
flashpoint before the invasion, however tyrannical the regime. On the
contrary, in 2003, the CIA reported that Iraq "exported no terrorist threat
to his neighbours" and that Saddam Hussein was "implacably hostile to

          Blair's and Bush's invasion changed all that. In invading a
stricken and defenceless country at the heart of the Islamic and Arab world,
their adventure became self-fulfilling; Blair's epic irresponsibility has
brought the daily horrors of Iraq home to Britain. For more than a year, he
has urged the British to "move on" from Iraq, and last week it seemed that
his spinmeisters and good fortune had joined hands. The awarding of the 2012
Olympics to London created the fleeting illusion that all was well,
regardless of messy events in a faraway country.

          Moreover, the G8 meeting in Scotland and its accompanying "Make
Poverty History" campaign and circus of celebrities served as a temporary
cover for what is arguably the greatest political scandal of modern times:
an illegal, brutal and craven invasion conceived in lies and which, under
the system of international law established at Nuremberg, represented a
"paramount war crime".

          Over the past two weeks, the contrast between the coverage of the
G8, its marches and pop concerts, and another "global" event has been
striking. The World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul has had virtually no
coverage, yet the evidence it has produced, the most damning to date, has
been the silent spectre at the Geldoff extravaganzas.

          The tribunal is a serious international public inquiry into the
invasion and occupation, the kind governments dare not hold. Its expert,
eyewitness testimonies, said the author Arundathi Roy, a tribunal jury
member, "demonstrate that even those of us who have tried to follow the war
closely are not aware of a fraction of the horrors that have been unleashed
in Iraq." The most shocking was given by Dahr Jamail, one of the best
un-embedded reporters working in Iraq. He described how the hospitals of
besieged Fallujah had been subjected to an American tactic of collective
punishment, with US marines assaulting staff and stopping the wounded
entering, and American snipers firing at the doors and windows, and
medicines and emergency blood prevented from reaching them. Children, the
elderly, were shot dead in front of their families, in cold blood.

          Imagine for a moment the same appalling state of affairs imposed
on the London hospitals that received the victims of Thursday's bombing.
Unimaginable? Well, it happens, in our name, regardless of whether the BBC
reports it, which is rare. When will someone ask about this at one of the
staged "press conferences" at which Blair is allowed to emote for the
cameras stuff about "our values outlast [ing] theirs"? Silence is not
journalism. In Fallujah, they know "our values" only too well.

          While the two men responsible for the carnage in Iraq, Bush and
Blair, were side by side at Gleneagles, why wasn't the connection of their
fraudulent "war on terror" made with the bombing in London? And when will
someone in the political class say that Blair's smoke-and-mirrors "debt
cancellation" at best amounts to less than the money the government spent in
a week brutalising Iraq, where British and American violence is the cause of
the doubling of child poverty and malnutrition since Saddam Hussein was
overthrown (Unicef).

          The truth is that the debt relief the G8 is offering is lethal
because its ruthless "conditionalities" of captive economies far outweigh
any tenuous benefit. This was taboo during the G8 week, whose theme was not
so much making poverty history as the silencing and pacifying and co-opting
dissent and truth. The mawkish images on giant screens behind the pop stars
in Hyde Park included no pictures of murdered Iraqi doctors with the blood
streaming from their heads, cut down by Bush's snipers. Real life became
more satirical than satire could ever be.

          There was Bob Geldoff on the front pages resting his smiling face
on smiling Blair's shoulder, the war criminal and his knighted jester. There
was an heroically silhouetted Bono, who celebrates men like Jeffrey Sachs as
saviours of the world's poor while lauding "compassionate" George Bush's
"war on terror" as one of his generation's greatest achievements; and there
was Paul Wolfowitz, beaming and promising to make poverty history: this is
the man who, before he was handed control of the World Bank, was an
apologist for Suharto's genocidal regime in Indonesia, who was one of the
architects of Bush's "neo-con" putsch and of the bloodfest in Iraq and the
notion of "endless war".For the politicians and pop stars and church leaders
and polite people who believed Blair and Gordon Brown when they declared
their "great moral crusade" against poverty, Iraq was an embarrassment. The
killing of more than 100,000 Iraqis mostly by American gunfire and bombs -- 
a figure reported in a comprehensive peer-reviewed study in The Lancet -- 
was airbrushed from mainstream debate.

          In our free societies, the unmentionable is that "the state has
lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people", as Arthur Miller
once wrote, "and so the evidence has to be internally denied." Not only
denied, but distracted by an entire court: Geldoff, Bono, Madonna, McCartney
et al, whose "Live 8" was the very antithesis of 15 February 2003 when two
million people brought their hearts and brains and anger to the streets of
London. Blair will almost certainly use last week's atrocity and tragedy to
further deplete basic human rights in Britain, as Bush has done in America.
The goal is not security, but greater control. Above all this, the memory of
their victims, "our" victims, in Iraq demands the return of our anger. And
nothing less is owed to those who died and suffered in London last week,

Last Updated on Monday, 11 July 2005 16:05

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