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07 July 2016

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ked

"the Bush-Cheney Gang Remains As Deluded As Blair"
Not in the least... they were the ones doing the deluding.

Willy B

Touche!

David Habakkuk

Willy B,

Some years ago, discussing what had gone wrong with the process of government in Britain, a very distinguished ‘old-school’ public servant, Sir Christopher Foster said of Blair:

“He was the worst prime minister since Lord North, he’s lost us a form of government that creaked and groaned but worked reasonably well.”

(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1570357/Christopher-Foster-Why-Britain-is-run-badly.html .)

This seems to me a grossly unfair judgement. What has Sir Christopher got against Lord North? All he did was lose the American colonies.

But, bad jokes apart, there is something which is important to remember.

Yes, Blair was central to the disaster in Iraq, as well as many other disasters.

However, he is not alone.

The fact that Chilcot reveals a great deal about the degeneration of British government under ‘New Labour’ about which Sir Christopher was talking must not – repeat must not – be allowed to obscure the fact a great many of those who are now turning on Blair were fully complicit in what he did, and the kind of changes in British society he encouraged.

It thus becomes convenient for such people to use Blair as a scapegoat.

And doing so – and also having Dearlove to as it were ‘fall on his sword’, but without causing himself fatal injuries – allows Chilcot to perpetrate what is actually another ‘establishment’ cover-up.

This must be stopped.

Babak Makkinejad

You might find this interesting - tangent but not irrelevant - I should think:

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/brexit-voters-ignoring-experts-by-jean-pisani-ferry-2016-07

The Beaver

@ Will

Both Haidar Suneri and Hayder al-Khoei's tweets are interesting to read. Hayder has written two successive opinions in the Guardian these past couple of days wrt Blair, Saddam Hussein and Trump.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/06/iraq-war-saddam-monster-chaos-britain-chilcot-report

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/06/donald-trump-wrong-about-saddam-hussein?CMP=share_btn_tw

Jack

All

The only way the people who were maimed, killed and displaced by this war on false pretenses can receive any solace is by holding all those responsible to account. The only way IMO that can happen is a war crimes tribunal on the model of the Nuremberg trials.

I know that ain't gonna happen as long as the Borg is in power. I find it ironic that all the liberals and the left who railed against the lawlessness of the Dubya administration are supportive of the same lawlessness when their team are the perpetrators. If one thought if Dubya was plumbing the depths wait until the Borg Queen ascends the throne.

Edward

"Paul Bremer, the least defensive of the gang, admitted that there was a failure of planning for the aftermath of the invasion"

Right. Actually, the pentagon developed detailed plans for post-invasion Iraq which was trashed by the White House neocons. Why?

Fredw

Yes, they were deluders about many things at the time. But the delusion being referenced, the similarity to Tony Blair, consists of their complete failure to realize how bad their performance was. I am sure that Blair (or Wolfowitz) could make a case that the middle east status quo was unsustainable and that the middle east would be a bloody mess by now regardless of what we had done. But as an American, I have to notice that we and the Brits didn't have to be the major actors in that mess. Nothing forced us to undertake impossible projects with breathtaking incompetence and display our limitations for all the world to see. The situation and our policies there were frustrating and sometimes horrible. But we managed to make them worse. And make ourselves weaker in the process.

rakesh wahi

Despite Saddam's despotism Iraq had the most educated professional women in the Arab world, it was almost a first world economy . No one had heard of Shia sunni schism until we propagandized Sunni triangle etc. A large number of Shia died fighting in the Iran war . Who can contest that we destroyed the place ? and that no matter what Iraq under Saddam was definitely better for Iraqi than this hellhole we have made it

Willy B

Iraq was also among the best in the Arab world on the development of its physical infrastructure, water and power in particular, all of which WE bombed to smithereens in 1991.

Castellio

Web of Deceit was published in 2003 by Vintage, written by Mark Curtis.

Quoting from the author's first chapter:

"... even before the war against Iraq started in March 2003, the Blair government had apparently indulged in at least six specific violations of international law: in conducting without UN authorisation the wars in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia; in the illegal bombing of Iraq in December 1998; in maintaining illegal 'no fly zones' over Iraq, a permanent "secret" war; and in maintaining sanctions against Iraq, contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people."

History will treat the Chilcot Inquiry not as a shocking expose, but as a carefully calibrated cover-up.

I found the most important lines in Corbyn's recent response were these:

"First and foremost, Mr Speaker it would do us all well to remember Robin Cook who stood over there 13 years ago and said in a few hundred words in advance of the tragedy to come what has been confirmed by this report in more than two million words."

The succinct truth was available before the event, and it was told loud and clear. The messengers, however, were willfully stifled.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/06/the-iraq-war-was-an-act-of-military-aggression-launched-on-a-false-pretext-on-the-chilcot-inquiry-report/

Fred

rakesh,

" No one had heard of Shia sunni schism". Not so. The poli-science PHD crowd hadn't heard of it since religion is so unscientific as is non-pc history. Those who knew the most about ME societies were pushed out or otherwise silenced in the furthering of intellectual conformity that is the PC world of 21st century America.

The Beaver

No one had heard of Shia sunni schism until we propagandized Sunni triangle etc.

Correct.

I don't know whether some remembered the blogger Salam Pax who wrote about his friend Raed "where is Raed?" Well Raed comes from a family where one parent is Sunni and the other one is Shi'a and Man did his family , especially his Mum poked fun at Wolfy and President Bush when the MSM discovered that "schism" in March 2003

ked

to be fair, W was great at self-delusion, & proud of it.

Babak Makkinejad

"...lost us a form of government that creaked and groaned but worked reasonably well.”

Which could be said in many a place in the world - like pre-1979 Afghanistan.

rjj

wasn't there also a woman blogger in Baghdad who departed for Syria - can't remember the year and the blog disappeared. Have been wondering what happened to her.

Croesus

In "The Way of the World," Ron Suskind devotes quite a number of paragraphs to explaining how Dearlove was involved in information gained from Naji Sabri, "Saddam's last foreign minister."

Paris CIA station chief William Murray, briefed "Bush, Cheney, and Rice" on his access to Sabri, and "they and Langley . . .coughed up an initial payment for the high-ranking Iraqi: $300,000."

Sabri said that Saddam was not developing either chemical or nuclear weapons.

Sabri's information contradicted Curveball; nevertheless, it was "relayed to Tenet, who delivered it personally to Bush," who "dismissed the intelligence as disinformation."

The CIA, however, was not ready to give up and did more research,

"What eventually emerged . . . proved to be a serious distortion of Murray's initial filing. Most strikingly, a new introductory paragraph had been added that claimed not only that Saddam possessed biological and chemical weapons, but that he was "aggressively and covertly developing" nuclear weapons. These assertions . . .were in direct contradiction to . . .Sabri's disclosures and Murray's reporting.

This erroneous report--almost certainly altered under pressure from Washington--was guarded so closely that it was never shown to the teams, at CIA and elsewhere, hurriedly assembling the Octover 2002 NIE on Iraq's WMD.

After further manipulation, the report was, however, deemed suitable for our foremost allies. An unsourced version was passed to Sir Richard Dearlove, Britain's top intelligence official at the time, and he notified Blair. The version of the story Blair heard was a series of square facts divorced from evidence, the first of which concerned Saddam's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons. Blair took this at face value.

. . .

[From fall to winter 2002], Murray tried to continue to work [with] Sabri. . . The reports that Murray submitted reaffirming Sabri's intelligence were met with silence from the White House. . . .

Sabri's intelligence was buried, never conveyed to the Pentagon or to Colin Powell sat the State Department. . ."

Dearlove left his post and by 2004 was master of Pembroke college at Cambridge, where Suskind interviewed him.

After reporting Dearlove's narrative of his various attempts at communicating intelligence, at great risk, to Blair and Bush; the Downing Street memo and other third-party attempts to crack open the truth as well as gambits to deflect blame and establish plausible deniability that carried on over several years, Suskind wrote:

"Dearlove talks . . .about intent, about how the daring mission [that] was an eleventh=hour "attempt to try, as it were, I'd say, to diffuse the whole situation. . . I mean, it was our willingness to put someone in a pretty exposed position, which is a tough, tough thing to do" [in order to obtain intelligence and communicate it quickly to the Bush White House.]

"Yes, and the mission succeeded. . . .

"But it seems the Americans were unappreciative of the gift, which arrived in plenty of time to stop, or certainly delay, the invasion."

"Whereupon Dearlove arrives at "a fault line, a place he didn't expect to be a a few minutes before, or maybe ever. Some secrets stay secret, and a few people he knows well probably hoped this would be one of them, a disclosure that refutes countless public statement by duly elected leaders, both American and British, about the serious matter of war. Dearlove is classically educated and well read, a student of history who understands that even tyrants, in dark ages, thought long and hard before committing their men to war, and--as a general rule--were careful about what they cited as the "just cause." . . .The men fighting and dying deserved to know why. Lie to them, and those soldiers might well turn on the castle, with a few ambitious generals in the lead."

http://tinyurl.com/hwcaumo


Ghostship

Riverbend

From Wkipedia:
On April 9, 2013 she updated her blog with a post "Ten Years On", in which she said she had moved on from Syria "before the heavy fighting, before it got ugly" and considered herself fortunate. She was a year in another country and moved again to a third Arab country "with the hope that, this time, it’ll stick until ... Until when? Even the pessimists aren’t sure anymore. When will things improve? When will be able to live normally? How long will it take?". She shared reflections on what Iraqis had learned in the ten years since the Fall of Baghdad.[1] There have been no further entries at her blog.
Her last post can be found at the bottom of the page here:
https://socialistworker.org/2014/06/24/ten-years-of-baghdad-burning

Ghostship

Back in 2003, I can remember reading posts where the author didn't realize that Islam was not a homogeneous religion - that there were Shia and Sunni.

jsn

Cheney has always known where the WMD's are, they're chambered in his heart.

rakesh wahi

my point is that the two sects had probably the best relationship with each other in the entire west Asia. I am aware that the schism occurred centuries ago - Hussein and so on

sans racines

Yes - I read him right the way through the conflict until he left to live in the States, followed Riverbend also. He was the 'go to' source during that time to understand the Mahdi Army, the trade in Thuraya mobile phones and much else. However I already understood via an American I was working with in Europe in 2001, and with whom I watched the events of September 11th unfold on TV, that for some this was not about WMD. As the second plane hit he stated 'we're going to hit Afghanistan, and then we'll take down Saddam'. I expressed my opinion that Saddam didn't have anything to do with this, and he replied that America had betrayed the Shia in encouraging and then abandoning the uprising following Gulf War I to Saddam's helicopters, and wanted to settle that score along with the others... so it goes...

James Loughton

I remember following Riverbend back then. She started out reasonably optimistic, but shaken. What a huge crime our government has perpetrated under the guise of liberation.

I read the results of a reputable firm that did some polling in Iraq regarding Iraqi attitudes toward the US a few months back. 90% of the people under 30 who responded think of the US as an enemy. I would feel the same way if I were they.

Dubhaltach

In reply to Edward 07 July 2016 at 02:47 PM

Ah yes. Bremer. Bremer was upfront and honest from the start. Remember this?

"Bremer estimated a war would be over within four to six weeks but said the process of rebuilding Iraq afterwards is likely to take years.

"We're going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We're going to be running a colony almost," Bremer said, adding that one of the most important reasons to get more international support before launching a war is to get more help in rebuilding the country afterwards.

He said businesses must be prepared for the unexpected and must make sure their employees feel secure no matter what crisis befalls the company or country.

"Over the last 30 years, 80 percent of the terrorist attacks against American targets have been against American businesses," he said.

Bremer spoke to city business leaders at a private club downtown at a program hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and Marsh USA Inc.'s local office.

He said during a press conference after his speech that he thinks a war with Iraq would increase the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States in the short-term but that it would help the nation win the war against terrorism in the long run because of the chance that Iraq could supply weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. "

The original much quoted report of Bremer's comments is here:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2003/02/24/daily23.html

michael brenner

I believe that it was State that tried to do some inter-agency planning. Rumsfeld gave an explicit order that NO post-war planning be done by DOD. Much has been made of those State planning books. It was revealed years ago, that they contained little more than rough outlines, organization charts and bits of commentary. This is criminal negligence that is a direct violation of international law which stipulates an occupying power is obliged to care for the safety and welfare of the local population. A "quaint" idea - like the prohibition on torture.

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