Sunday, August 07, 2005

The road of unending war is paved with the bodies of fighters for peace

The road of unending war is paved with the bodies of fighters for peace

Mr Blair is the greatest British Prime Minister for a hundred years. How can we judge this? He has taken the country into more winning wars than any other. As a very typical Christian, he has brought not peace but the sword. Though the highest Christian leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, have condemned his invading bombers, his cluster bombs, his depleted uranium shells, the torture and murder perpetrated by his troops, he is greatly admired by many Christians in this a nominally Christian country. He is internationally admired too, despite the fact that his wars have broken the United Nations Charter, the long agreed basis for a civilised world.

Why should we judge him so kindly? Because this is a war mongering country. You have only to march through London, as millions of us have done protesting against Blair’s wars, to see the great number of statues to those who have led us into war. We do not celebrate artists and peace makers in our streets, we salute warriors. Edith Cavill stands alone as a peace maker at the heart of the city of London. We shall also judge him kindly because he is a superb politician. By the term politician I mean an actor, a dissembler, someone who plays a part well, a chameleon character who can be different things to different people. I distinguish it from the term statesman, which connotes wisdom, truth, and integrity, which he so singularly lacks. He is immensely talented in the miming skills of the counsellor. It is fascinating to see him arrange his posture to one which mimics the slightly bow legged, knuckles to the front, chimpanzee amble of G.W. Bush, out on the ranch in Texas, and then copy the nose high in the air arrogance of President Chirac, as they inspect the guard in Paris. He will even talk the kind street language he thinks will endear him to teenagers, when he goes out to meet them. Such behaviour enlists empathy and a feeling of being understood. It is done very skilfully. However, psychological research shows that even this very high level of skill is unsuccessful for a therapist who does not have what I believe are wrongly described as meta-skills, the values mentioned above. But what incredible political talent he has shown to transform Old Labour into New Conservative party. But then politicians will pay any price to gain and keep power.

This writer now opens himself to a potential prosecution for support of terrorism, for the reason that I am deeply at odds with the people of my country for re-electing Mr Blair, who is a war criminal. By doing so I believe with many others that we are provoking suicide bombers to do their deadly work on our shores. There is no qualitative difference between what is State Terrorism, the illegal war of aggression by this country against another sovereign people, and small groups of terrorists who attempt to destroy our peace in return. Nor is there a qualitative difference between IRA terrorists with whom he negotiates, and Islamic ones, with whom he will not.

A British military commander is thought to have pondered if the Cosovo war was the first to be fought where civilians were the main targets. He was not much of a student of history. It was Britain which created the first concentration camps, where thousands of civilians died horrible deaths, in a war against the Boers. In the Second World War Germany was defeated, not by overcoming its armies but by destroying its cities: women, children, civilians. Bomber Harris ordered the destruction of hundreds of thousands of civilians in German cities by creating fire storms devouring all the oxygen surrounding the central area of bombing. Now it is the sixtieth anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. By that time Japan’s armies were already defeated and in retreat. This terrible weapon of mass destruction was wielded by American and British forces against civilian populations of two Japanese cities probably to pre-empt the Russians joining in the war. One bomb would have been more than enough. But power and glory and world power status meant both powers dropping one. The principle of domination of the world by atomic bomb was established leading to the atomic arms race and mutually assured destruction.

But as this anniversary arrives Blair and Bush have just compounded the crimes of the past by undermining the non proliferation treaty, encouraging others to seek the bomb by making plans to redevelop our own weapons. There is no possible legitimate target for our nuclear weapons, yet it seems likely we will develop a new version for our future domination of a world we need to learn to share with others.

George Galloway has been headline news recently for his attack on Blair and Bush as war criminals. The press, including the BBC, has vilified him. Reporters keep asking Government ministers if he should be prosecuted for fomenting terrorism. They should be reminded he has been one of the key speakers that vast numbers of us listened to when we marched against the war. Far from being irrelevant, he speaks for many of us.

Only Galloway and Benn have kept pointing out how Rumsfeld gave Saddam his weapons of mass destruction so he could invade Iran. No one has explained to us why it was a good thing to break International Law to invade the democracy of Iran but a bad thing to invade the oligarchic Kingdom of Kuwait.

The BBC is also showing a typically British duplicity in its coverage of recent stories. The headlines covering Blair’s latest plans to restrict civil liberties even further described him as “emboldened,” mirroring back to him the language he used to describe how Saddam would have been, if we had not overthrown him. It is a subtle stroke, and perhaps not picked up by many, but it suggests the way Blair becomes more and more like the people he has denounced. The BBC have also wheeled on a Muslim Imam from the central Birmingham Mosque to tell us how Blair is slowly transforming into another Hitler, with Moslems instead of Jews as hate figures and scapegoats.

On the other hand, perhaps I am judging Mr Blair too swiftly on behalf of the British. It is looking clear now that he will not win his last war, the so-called war on terror. Now that attacks have begun in London we may never be free from the threat of them. Major forces within the establishment and 75% of the rest of us connect London terror with the illegal war against Iraq. The consensus among politicians for new anti terror measures is already breaking down. The peace movement is gathering strength again. The conflict within many groups in Moslem communities is deepening all the time. Racist and religious attacks against Moslems are running out of control since 7/7. Blair thinks he can govern according to the mood of the people rather than good sense. He was very unwise to say that “the rules of the game have changed”. This is no game for us as we walk our city streets. Only those hiding behind armed guards can suggest it is a game. He was judged to be out of touch before the election. People are already saying that he has never really been in favour of democratic values. It is possible the Downing Street memos will start to bite deep as more lives are lost at home and abroad. For Blair to triumph it is enough that good men do nothing. I am doing what I can.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

“the rules of the game have changed”of course sounds nothing at all like what the chimp and his administration said after 9-11. Nope, nothing like that at all.

11:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it possible to write comments only on THIS post, and none of the others (that I can see)? Anyway, here's my comment to your post below re George Galloway being ripped to shreds: there is an excellent potted history of Al-Queda by Arabist historian Juan Cole here: Xymphora also examines why it is so vital for our glorious leaders to push the line that terrorists are motivated by an incomprehensible pure hatred and evil, and how their efforts are obviously failing.

11:46 am  

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