Thursday, July 07, 2016

Is Jeremy Corbyn the only British pol who "gets" the significance of the apparent war crimes of Tony Blair & Co.?


One of these war criminals-in-chief is the Brits' problem; the other's ours.

"[A]s I’m sure you’ve noticed, the people who fear actual left-wingers or people of principle the most aren’t Tories, they are Blairites."

by Ken

Of course we shouldn't be talking just about British pols. A more urgent question for those of us on this side of the pond is how many American pols "get it"? The Chilcot Report, I gather, deals only with possible British war crimes in the grand Iraq adventure. (See Nick Hopkins's Guardian report, "Chilcot exposes how Blair kept ministers and generals in the dark.") However, is there any question that the ringleaders, the master-"minds," the orchestrators of both the war crimes and the lies formulated to both promote and conceal them, are our fellow Americans?

In some quick online chatter that Howie and Noah I did, Noah underscored the point:
If I had the big badge, I would hold a big package deal Nuremberg-style trial of ALL of the political and media scum who voted and propagandized to go to Iraq. I would do it on a reality TV channel and I would have a sliding scale of various punishments for the perps that would match their degree of blame (which the trial process would determine). My TV show would start with the minor punishments such as removal of finger and toe nails to removal of limbs and blinding such as our soldiers and the civilians had to suffer. Then, for the last week of my reality mini-series, I would have Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Kindasleaza, and Blair's seconds face real life Gladiators at Wimbledon. Dump their miserable remains at sea in the same place bin Laden was dumped; mass murderers all. That just seems fair and just to me.

I regret that criminals such as Blair, and Bush et al, who created the all too predictble fiasco in Iraq, and thus enabled and gave the world the cancer that is ISIS, which now has the dream of killing whole cites at a time, if not, yet, the means, have but one life to present for punishment up to and including exection for their crimes against all humanity. If we are to be a civilized world, trials are demanded and justice for the dead, justice for the terror and havoc being visited on the living, and justice for the future victims is a moral imperative. Oh, and let's not forget the oil companies.
Before venting, Noah had seconded my deferral to Ian Welsh's post yesterday, "Blair et al. Committed War Crimes." "So, the Chilcot report is out," he began, "and it’s not pretty." Then he cued Anushka Asthana, Rowena Mason, and Jessica Elgot's Guardian report ("Corbyn apologises after Labour's role in Iraq war 'laid bare' by Chilcot report"):
Jeremy Corbyn has apologised on behalf of the Labour party for its role in the 2003 Iraq war, and warned that the people who took the decisions “laid bare in the Chilcot report” must now face up to the consequences.

The Labour leader’s apology went further than he had earlier in parliament, when he responded to the Chilcot report after David Cameron. At that point, Corbyn called the war an “act of military aggression”, arguing that it was thought of as illegal “by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion”. (emphasis added)
Corbyn said in his House of Commons speech that he had apologized to families of military servicemen and women who lost loved ones, Iraqi citizens and war veterans "for the decisions taken by our then government that led this country into a disastrous war," explaining --
It’s a disaster that occurred when my party was in government; 140 of my then colleagues in the parliamentary Labour party opposed it at the time, as did many many party members and trade unionists.
The Guardian team writes:
Corbyn said that many more Britons had said they regretted their votes, which they had cast in loyalty to the Labour government because of the intelligence that today’s report has “confirmed to be false”.

The Labour leader did not name Tony Blair, but said parliament had been misled by a “small number of leading figures in the government" who he said were “none too scrupulous” about how they made their case for war.

“Politicians and political parties can only grow stronger by acknowledging when they get it wrong and by facing up to their mistakes,” he said. “So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003.

“That apology is owed first of all to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed.” He said it was those people who had paid the greatest price.
Ian plucks out this bit from the Guardian report on Corbyn's apology:
As Corbyn issued his excoriating statement to the House of Commons, he was heckled by his own backbencher Ian Austin, who shouted: “Sit down and shut up, you’re a disgrace.”
Which he introduces thusly: "I very much hope this next man, who has far less worth than the toilet paper I clean myself with, is not a Labour candidate in the next election," explaining: "When you’re screaming at someone for apologizing for a war crime that is identical to that which many Nazi leaders were hung for, you’re officially a waste of human skin." He goes on:
Corbyn hasn’t actually called for “war crimes trial for Blair,” but he’s made the case. The European Criminal Court, being also basically worthless, had already said that they would not try Tony Blair, but might charge ordinary soldiers.

I have never had any respect for the ECC, whose mandate appears to involve prosecuting the politically powerless, especially Africans, and avoiding anyone with any influence. Justice as unevenly applied as the ECC applies it is not a step in the right direction, it is actually injustice. Saying that they would not charge Blair even before the Chilcot report was out simply confirmed the primacy of political over legal considerations for them.

Yet again, Corbyn has proved he is one of very few honorable people in a den of scum. May he become Prime Minister and, once Prime Minister, may he ensure Tony Blair and those who aided and abetted him in selling the Iraq war with lies, have the fair trial they so richly deserve.

Oh, and as usual, doing so is not just the right thing to do ethically, it would be the right thing to do politically, keeping Corbyn’s primary enemies completely occupied. Because, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the people who fear actual left-wingers or people of principle the most aren’t Tories, they are Blairites.
Now, as to our team of war criminals, Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the whole miserable crew . . . well, we don't even have a report to chew over, do we?


Howie notes: "New Labour, like the New Dems, is confused about which side it's on -- other than whatever works to advance individual careers (their own)-- and has been relentlessly attacking Jeremy Corbyn since his loud and unswerving opposition to Blar's war. He also commends our attention to Glenn Greenwald's Intercept post today, "Chilcot Report and 7/7 London Bombing Anniversary Converge to Highlight Terrorism’s Causes," which begins (lots o' links onsite):
ELEVEN YEARS AGO today, three suicide bombers attacked the London subway and a bus and killed 51 people. Almost immediately, it was obvious that retaliation for Britain’s invasion and destruction of Iraq was a major motive for the attackers.

Two of them said exactly that in videotapes they left behind: The attacks “will continue and pick up strengths till you pull your soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq. … Until we feel security, you will be targets.” Then, less than a year later, a secret report from British military and intelligence chiefs concluded that “the war in Iraq contributed to the radicalization of the July 7 London bombers and is likely to continue to provoke extremism among British Muslims.” The secret report, leaked to The Observer, added: “Iraq is likely to be an important motivating factor for some time to come in the radicalization of British Muslims and for those extremists who view attacks against the U.K. as legitimate.”

The release on Tuesday of the massive Chilcot report — which the New York Times called a “devastating critique of Tony Blair” — not only offers more proof of this causal link, but also reveals that Blair was expressly warned before the invasion that his actions would provoke al Qaeda attacks on the U.K. As my colleague Jon Schwarz reported yesterday, the report’s executive summary quotes Blair confirming he was “aware” of a warning by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

None of this is the slightest bit surprising. . . .

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At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see Blair extradited to Iraq to stand trial for murder, etc.


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