TONY BLAIR has rightly been set up to carry the can for Britain’s role in setting the context for and participation in the 2003 war on Iraq.
And while the former British Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party must surely bear the brunt of the criticism levelled by the Chilcot Report (published on 6 July), the other actors in what can only be described as a tragedy for the people of the Middle East must also stand indicted.
Clearly, the United States administration set the pace for a war that would be waged to serve US interests. Tony Blair, when he promised he would stand with President George Bush “whatever” the circumstances, was giving the US hawks carte blanche to attack Iraq despite the clear knowledge that Iraq was not armed with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
The “dodgy dossier” was in fact a collection of half-truths and downright lies, so when Chilcot refers to “flawed intelligence” it seems he is giving those who used it as their justification for invasion a soft landing.
The overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime was another lame excuse.
Regime change set in the context of 10 years of sanctions imposed on the country after the first Gulf War of 1990/91 is estimated to have caused the deaths of half a million Iraqi children and weakened the Saddam regime to the point of defencelessness.
Invasion had its rationale in the United States Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neo-conservative think-tank based in Washington DC.
The organisation said that “American leadership is good both for America and for the world” and sought to build support for “a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity”.
Of the 25 people who signed the PNAC’s founding statement of principles, 10 went on to serve in the administration of George W. Bush, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. Many believe that the PNAC played a key role in shaping the foreign policy of the Bush administration, particularly in building support for the Iraq War.
Closer to home, the mantle of responsibility for the subsequent slaughter in Iraq must be hung on the shoulders of those members of the Westminster Parliament who voted for war.
They were endorsing “shock and awe” blitz tactics, indiscriminate mass bombing raids, and the use of depleted uranium carcinogenic munitions as well as the subsequent US policies that fostered sectarian war and became the seedbed for the creation of the barbarous zealots of ISIS.
Among the cheerleaders for war were all of the North’s unionist politicians.
These are the very same people who clamber over each other to get on to a moral high ground ordained in Christian principles, who endorsed Belfast Pastor James McConnell when he described Islam as “Satanic” and the “spawn of the Devil”.
If Chilcot has served any purpose (and it wasn’t to expose the truth because we already knew that), it is that it has exposed the moral bankruptcy of the British Parliament.
The “Mother of Democracy” it isn’t.