IRAQ - QUESTIONS STILL NEED ANSWERING
Whatever the Labour Party bigwigs wish, Iraq is an issue that won't go away. On Sunday, the Sunday Times produced further evidence that the country was deceived into going to war. Journalist Michael Smith writes;
Six weeks ago The Sunday Times published the leaked minutes of a July 2002 Downing Street meeting in which Tony Blair committed Britain to war in Iraq months before parliament was consulted.
They detailed a secret pledge to President George W Bush to help oust Saddam, showed that Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, had warned such action could be illegal and that Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, had thought the case for war was “thin”.
This alone is disturbing when one recalls that as with the intelligence picture, the Prime Minister presented a clearcut picture of what is revealed as having been a far from clearcut position. Even if one is uncomfortable with Michael Howard calling the Prime Minister a 'liar ' it is clear that he has certainly not told 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.'
The evidence is that he has clearly trated parliament with disdain as has sadly been his practice for the past eight years. It seems that he has also failed to keep the Cabinet in the loop. The decline of Cabinet government will surely be one of the the most distressing consequences of the Blair Government. However, at this point it seems fair to add that Cabinet ministers have to bear their share of responsibility. With war, tuition fees and the assault on civil liberties, Cabinet ministers are either full partners in Blair's actions or they have placed their careers before principle.
Read on further and one finds more evidence of the duplicity of the drift to war;
The minutes showed that Sir Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, warned Blair’s war cabinet that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”. The prime minister, who had chaired that July meeting, told the White House briefing room that “the facts were not being fixed in any shape at all”.
Now leaked documents add to this picture. Again the Sunday Times goes on;
It makes clear that both Blair and Bush have a lot to apologise for: “When the prime minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change,” it states, adding that “regime change per se is illegal”.
As a prime minister had agreed to do something that was illegal under British interpretation of international law, it was “necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support regime change”, the briefing paper says.
For Blair, “creating the conditions” meant going to the United Nations to get a unanimous resolution warning Iraq to co- operate with the inspectors or else.
I can only conclude that the arms inspections which I certainly supported, were really intended by the British Government as a part of an elaborate charade to enable war. As I watched the Prime Minister evasively face a television audience days before the General Election, I became completely convinced that this was a man who had become a stranger from the truth. The man who now speaks of his understandable joy at the fall of Saddam Hussein was also the man who said if Saddam disarmed he could stay in power. If you dear Reader can work it out, you are much wiser than me.
Some say that it is time to let go of the matter. I disagree. In Britain you can be charged with a crime many years after the event. Surely, our Government should not be let off the hook just a couple of years on. The fact is that the British people were misled and if nothing is done about it, it will happen again. Surely, we deserve a government which can be trusted on life and death matters. Yet so often we have been treated to sleight of hand.
Ultimately, the case for impeachment needs to be steeped up against the senior figures of this travesty for otherwise it becomes a scandal that in high office we have those who have literally got away with murder!