The Chilcot Enquiry has been going on so long that it has given its name to a geological epoch. It’s seen mountain ranges rise and erode, continents move across the face of the planet as the tectonic plates dance on magma, and the mass extinction of much of Iraq spreading across the Middle East and North Africa. And all the while Tony Blair of the tombstone teeth, deliverer of deception and disturber of the peace, has profited from the chaos he created by offering his dubious servicing of sanctimonious sleaze to assorted dictators and strongmen.
His former foreign secretary Jack Straw, who never saw a back that he wouldn’t stab, is also going to come out of the report badly. Which is fair enough because he went into it badly. Jack Straw never saw a conspiracy that he wasn’t up to his neck in. It has been said that when an event can be explained either by cock up or by conspiracy, it’s invariably the cock up that happened, except of course when Jack Straw is involved. Jack’s idea of diplomacy is to give a person a hole in their head and calling it an open mind.
Now, if reports are correct, what’s left of their shabby reputations is about to be left in shreds by the Chilcot Enquiry. They took Britain into a war because Tony had decided in advance with George W Bush that there was to be a war to avenge the attacks of September 11 2001. It didn’t matter that the target of their warmongering wasn’t involved in that attack. All that mattered was their own desire to strut the world stage and act as avenging angels. Then they spent the next few months and years contriving every possible excuse in order to bring war about. Blair and Straw followed the advice of a man who once said, “the people don’t want war. But … all you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” That man was Hermann Goering.
Blair and his pals set out to manipulate and deceive public opinion, with dodgy dossiers and 45 minute missiles. They cited weapons of mass destruction that were as mythical as Tony’s honesty. They took us to war on a lie and decried those who protested.
The Chilcot Enquiry was set up under the auspices of Gordie Broon, a man who was the second in the UK government when Tony made his decision to go to war, who funded that war and defended it. Sir John Chilcot was chosen to head the enquiry despite his cosy relationship with many leading figures in Blair’s government, and has apparently bent over backwards to give Blair, Jack Straw and head bummers in the British military establishment the chance to get their retaliation and excuses in first. The entire sorry process has dragged out longer than the war it set out to investigate, allowing those involved to slink off into well renumerated retirement.
Yet despite all these factors in their favour, and despite the traditional reluctance of the British establishment to blame the British establishment, according to the Sunday Times their reputations will be beyond recovery after the Chilcot Report has been published. If this is what it’s like for them after fifteen coats of Ronseal have been applied, after every benefit of every doubt has been granted, after it’s been scented and prettified by experts in turd polishing, just imagine how nasty the unvarnished truth must be. The stench of decay surrounds the corpse of Blair’s reputation like flies flying round body parts in a Baghdad street.
Warmongering is bad enough. An aggressive war is a crime against humanity. But worse than that Blair and Straw, aided and abetted by the rest of the Labour cabinet, and supported by the Tories, took the UK into a war that they had not properly planned or prepared for. All they wanted was the quick fix of a short war and the gushing headlines of a grateful press. They didn’t want to bother their vanity with the hard work of rebuilding a country that they chose to shatter. That’s boring, that’s dull, that doesn’t have the glamour of a video shot from a drone, blowing up a bridge in a land far away.
Blair and Straw have the same attitude to international diplomacy as a gang of weans who put fireworks through a neighbour’s letterbox and run away giggling when they hear the bangs. Then they claim that the fact the house burned down was nothing to do with them. It was going to burn down anyway, no really. Nothing to do with them throwing a lit match into a mountain of dry tinder because someone else entirely had mounted a terrorist attack in the USA. All because they wanted a pretty bang and flashing lights that would light up their names in the press. Look at us, we’re doing something. The fact they were doing the wrong thing wasn’t relevant to them at all. Never mind that, just look at the headlines in an adulatory press.
We’re still suffering the consequences. We count it in lives lost and limbs lacerated. We count it in the wars that go on to this day. So-called Islamic State only gained traction because Bush and Blair were the midwives of chaos in the Middle East. They started a war and thought that it was over once they’d destroyed the fabric of Iraq, without a single thought about what might replace it, without caring about or understanding the tensions and divisions that were already there.
The Chilcot Report is due to be published early in July, but it’s not enough that Blair and his cronies are criticised. They have to be castigated too, they have to suffer the consequences, they have to pay the price of justice. If no action is taken against them, it will be the final admission of moral bankruptcy from a British state that is nothing more than the Pentagon’s whore. If the rich and the powerful don’t face justice we no longer live in a state that has any right to call itself a democracy. The people of Iraq and Syria and Libya bear the cost of Britain’s self importance in blood, in the tears of the old woman on the Turkish shores while Tony Blair smiles with his tombstone teeth.
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