It’s sad when a nation of men in politics are taught by a woman what having a pair of balls is all about. For a fair while now I have been watching the Chilcot Inquiry as it’s become known in the UK with some interest. I am of little doubt that any real form of accusation of any credible form will arise from this enquiry, as it’d be an international scandal having the former PM and his government declared culpable for an illegal war. The country, our government of today, and the establishment that is Westminster would never allow for it.
Personally it is my belief that any such enquiry is fundamentally flawed in that it is merely a hearing based on hearsay and not on evidence, corroborating facts, nor key witnesses for or against the establishment, so how then is it possible to establish what is truth, what is fake, what is spin and what is just pure deceit? Ultimately we do not need an enquiry to answer a number of key questions that were presented to the nation at the time of going to war as critical factors that laid the foundation for war.
1. Weapons of mass destruction.
WMD was never discovered in Iraq despite a lengthy and exhaustive search by the Coalition forces. Factories that were meant to being secretly used in the preparation of WMD and others that were further used to cover up the existence of WMD proved to have either not been used for a substantial length of time leading up to the war, or had never even been associated with WMD. In fact if you read post script from the UN Weapons Inspectors, they clearly knew that these claims were out of order, vastly exaggerated and truth be told Hans Blix and the UN had made significant progress towards disarmament in Iraq, but inconsistent demands from a shaky US government jumped at a chance they saw claiming a breach in UN resolution 1441, failing to give Hans Blix the time he’d asked for to resolve issues with the disarmament program.
In their attempt to get the UN to pass a resolution for war the US failed to convince the UN due to a lack of evidence, and thus the need for a false dossier on WMD that never existed entered the frame. A significant leader to this dossier was the claim that within 45 min a strike could be levelled at any European target, and with a subject like Saddam Hussein who’d used WMD in the past, this type of risk could not be tolerated post 2001.
2. The 45 Min Claim
It has become clear through the urgency of the men in power at the time, to today fudge, cause confusion, create doubt about their claim of a clear and present danger of attack from Iraq that leads me to believe more than ever that the evidence used and the facts claimed at the time were misleading and vastly inaccurate.
Not one of the men giving evidence to the Chilcot enquiry has been able to clearly and without doubt explain why this phrase, terminology, mere existence of such a quote exists today. I for one clearly remember the hype in the run up to war. I recall Tony Blair standing before parliament and proclaiming that a strike could easily be undertaken against a European target in as little as 45 min. Now ask yourself this. As men and woman would you not believe that your leader, a man with privy to some of the most secret information in the world, a man who’s secret services are renouned around the world for uncovering spies, traps, terrorist plots, a service which infiltrated the Soviet Secret Service at a time it was thought impossible to do so, a service that has spooks working in gathering intelligence from wire taps, emails, human intelligence, paid agents, informants, analysts, and every other kind of source you can possibly think of? When your leader stood up and said, however it was worded that we could fall under attack within 45 min, by a mad man who’d used such weapons before, did you not believe that Saddam was a clear and present threat?
Now ask yourself this. If you’d been told that the UN Weapons Inspectors did not believe that there was any stockpile of WMD, and that Saddam Hussein clearly could not mount an attack via missile on a European target, but was actively trying to acquire WMD, did not like the west, did have tied to Al Qaeda, but did not pose a significant risk in that there was no clear evidence to support that he had nor supported any plans to attack the West or Europe, would you so readily have accepted that we were going to war?
Yes I fully agree that Saddam Hussein was a vile and horrific man, but then again I say the same of Robert Mugabe, and any other number of leaders in this world? Yes Saddam had a desire to once more arm himself with weapons of mass destruction, of that I have no doubt, but then again so is Iran, a country I fear far more than Iraq, not mentioning North Korea, another despot whom hates the West enough to press the button. I fully support that the man needed to be brought to justice for his crimes against mankind, but then if that is the case what are we doing about the Chinese government who’s record of slaughter of men, woman and children that get in their way, far strips Saddam Hussein’s crimes from any bad man list?
3. Were British lives lost in vain?
Our British Armed Forces are men and woman that serve our nation. They are dedicated men and woman that undertake difficult orders, and fulfil the job that they are presented by the government of the day. Our Prime Minister took us to war on a whim, and as a result he put our precious men and women in harm’s way based on a lie.
What is even more criminal is that our PM took our troops to war without allowing the Chiefs to prepare fully, under equipped, under financed, and unprepared in order to maintain the secrecy that he needed to ensure that his claim that he was asked on the eve of war to assist the US President George W Bush would stand up before the nation. Sadly this is part of the truth that now comes out through the Chilcot enquiry, as we learn that a bitter feud between Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the Cabinet lead to a shortage of supplies, equipment and meant that our troops suffered as a result of their incompetence.
I’m sorry but if any business person was allowed to place 100,000 people in the line of fire without adequate provision, preparation and the necessary equipment to do the job, I would tend to believe that the verdict at any Coroner’s Inquest would be one of wrongful death caused by the negligence of the business person. In this way, I cannot fail to see how it is not the responsibility of the men and women who chose to send our troops into the same arena of risk, cannot fall at their feet.
I am loath to say that men and women died in vain, as they stood shoulder to shoulder and fought to protect each other, human beings under attack, and trying to do right in a world so badly confused by wrong, bad and hatred. No I do not believe that they died in vain, but I do believe that they were badly let down, used as pawns of little consequence, and their gallant and heroic bravery is discredited by our nation’s leaders lack of respect.
I always wondered why Tony Blair’s children never went to war, never sort to join the army, were safely tucked up in a flat in Bristol hidden from public view incase they became a target of people’s frustration. The reality is that the Blair’s are cowards. Afraid of the truth, afraid of the consequences of their actions, afraid of putting themselves in the firing line, and afraid of admitting they got it wrong. No fault of the children, but like father like son I guess.
Yes I honestly do believe that there is a case to answer for taking us to war. Someone somewhere should be brought to task for allowing us to go headlong into a 7 year conflict with no clear strategy, no forward planning, no concern for the risks we were taking by entering an arena of war unprepared, and more than anything allowing such a high price be paid for some misadventure of a man crazy for power. In many instances I am sorry to admit that I think the blame falls at our feet. Yes a group of over 1 million people marched in protest against the war, but once that failed we forgot about it, got on with our lives, and watched nonchalantly as the death toll rose. Had we united as a nation, rallied around our Service Chiefs, took to the streets more often, lead endless vigils in protest of the war, been more diligent in demanding proper proof, maybe fewer lives would have been lost in such a way.
Hindsight is a powerful thing, and as I look back in time, I feel sadness as part of me feels I let down those men and women who so bravely sacrificed their lives. We finally have a chance to set the record straight, and I just pray to god, that the bravery and courage that Clare Short displayed today in condemning Tony Blair and his cronies carries through, and those who will bring some sort of sense to this ungodly mess in our nation will have the courage and dignity to call for those who are responsible to accept the responsibility and stand in judgement for their remorselessness, incompetence and lack of leadership.