Showing posts with label Iraq War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iraq War. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

No Forgiveness for Blair’s Useful Idiots



Making up a reason to invade a country was the easy part for Tony Blair. Sticking to a pretend story for ten years — that is truly the sign of a sociopathic statesman.


Ten years ago, between January and April 2003, it is estimated that an unprecedented 36 million people around the world took to the streets in protest against the Iraq War. 50, 000 of them marched in Glasgow. Scottish Labour Party leader Johann Lamont was not one of them. Instead she was part of those political cheer-leaders who supported Tony Blair and voted for the invasion of Iraq. In her own words she “voted on the grounds of listening to the evidence in front of me and on my conscience.”


She was one of many “useful idiots,” who willfully played along with preposterous WMD claims and allowed themselves to get carried away with the imperialistic fervor surrounding a new call to war, abdicating their responsibilities to humanity. How can we believe her pleas of ignorance when millions of us screamed the facts until our voices were hoarse? Why should we place our trust in someone who failed to accurately analyse “the evidence” placed before her? She abdicated her responsibility to ask basic questions to verify the truth of WMD claims. Those politicians who voted for the Iraq War should be held accountable for their decision. In our own day-to-day lives, if we were a party to such horrifically wrong and deliberately destructive decisions, we would face punishing consequences, especially if we still tried to justify ourselves. We would face public scorn and humiliation. We would probably get demoted or fired. We might even face criminal prosecution. Why is the same standard not applied to Johann Lamont?

Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD), say there is 1.1 million other Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq today. UNHCR estimates show that the greatest number of IDP’s to be in the Baghdad governorate, and puts the number at 200,000 Iraqis.

Nevertheless some stil argue it was a price worth paying to remove a dictator.
An Amnesty International report refers to as "a grim cycle of human rights abuses" in Iraq today. The report exposes a long chronology of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees committed by Iraqi security forces, as well as by foreign troops, in the wake of the US-led 2003 invasion. "Death sentences and executions are being used on a horrendous scale," Amnesty International's Hadj Sahraoui said in the groups recent report. "It is particularly abhorrent that many prisoners have been sentenced to death after unfair trials and on the basis of confessions they say they were forced to make under torture."

“We have no future, and neither does Iraq have a future. My children have no future. We are only living day by day.” said Marwa Ali,  mother of two.


 Johann Lamont could have joined the millions of people in the UK and across the world denouncing Blair for waging a needless, illegal and immoral war of aggression without even the fig leaf of United Nations support. Lamont instead voted with her conscience - the blood of innocent millions are on Lamont’s conscience. Shame on her.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Blair Legacy

As the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Invasion approaches what was the cost?
In dollars and cents it is estimated that the war cost the United States $1.7 trillion (£1.1tn). Its involvement in Iraq according to other sources has so far cost the US $810 billion (625 billion euros) and could eventually reach $3 trillion.
But in the cost of lives the war killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have led to the deaths of four times that number, said the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

Another estimate quoted is at least 116,000 Iraqi civilians and more than 4,800 coalition troops died in Iraq between the outbreak of war in 2003 and the US withdrawal in 2011 (31,000 US military personnel were injured).

About five million Iraqis were displaced.
In 2006, estimates by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, published in The Lancet, said 655,000 people had died in the first 40 months of the war.
In 2008, a study by the Iraqi government and World Health Organisation (WHO), published in The New England Journal of Medicine, said between 104,000 and 223,000 Iraqis had died violent deaths between March 2003 and June 2006.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Teaching War


This Saturday members of Glasgow and Edinburgh branches will be in attendnce at stop the war demonstration in Glasgow leafletting and selling the Socialist Standard . It is now a cliche to say that the first casuality of war is truth but the statement remains accurate .


Ministry of Defence teaching materials that give an unbalanced view of the Iraq war are being used in schools, teachers' leaders have said. He warned that some of its assertions, presented as facts, would be disputed by most teachers. There were no estimates of the numbers of people killed, wounded or made homeless by the military action, he said. The material therefore risked breaching the part of the 1996 Education Act concerned with balanced teaching of political issues .

He told reporters: "When you are dealing with something as controversial as Iraq and the different events that led up to the invasion, teachers are under a duty to present material that is balanced. The MoD material does not live up to that high standard..."


Mr Sinnott also criticised Army recruitment methods which he said did not present a balanced view of what joining the armed forces entailed. He said "unethical practices" had been unearthed in recent research by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. He claimed that youngsters from deprived backgrounds were being targeted by Army recruiters. Mr Sinnott said the recruiters engaged in "very dubious practices", targeting youngsters from poorer backgrounds.
"Youngsters from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have more limited opportunities in life than youngsters from better off backgrounds. It's simply a fact. I am not saying that youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot get something from a career in the military.The Army has created a better life for some youngsters, but there are other youngsters who join up because they have little or no choice."


The teaching union will debate a motion at its upcoming conference which argues: "Military intervention in schools customarily presents a partisan view of war, largely by ignoring its fatal realities in favour of promises of travel, skill training and further or higher education course sponsorships otherwise often unavailable to young people, especially in area of high unemployment."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Troops Out of Iraq

Just only 2% of Basra residents believe that the presence of British troops since 2003 has had a positive effect , says a BBC poll .


But , of course , they were never sent there in the first place for the benefit of the local inhabitants , no matter how much and how often Tony Blair tries to keep preaching to us .

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gun for Hire

Two British-run private military security firms have been paid £274 million over the past three years to provide mercenary guards for US Army engineers working on reconstruction projects in Iraq. The firms, Aegis Defence Services and Erinys Iraq, are now at the centre of a row over streamlining the spiralling cost of "hired guns" in a war zone . Between them, Aegis and Erinys employ up to 2000 men, many of them former British soldiers . The Pentagon estimates that at least 20,000 former soldiers from Britain, the US, Eastern Europe, Fiji and Nepal are working for private mercenary firms in Iraq.

"To pay a man or woman to come over to Iraq, put on body armour every day, and escort military personnel and civilians around knowing that people want to blow them up and kill them, you have to meet the asking price," said Colonel Douglas Gorgoni, the senior finance officer of the US Corps of Engineers .

Socialist Courier says that there is no price worth asking for if it means killing your fellow workers .

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Price Slaughter

The American journalist had an interesting article on the value placed on different people's lives .

He begins with reference to history when in the days before child labour laws, the business of insuring working-class children, who were then quite valuable to poor families, achieved enormous success. The courts assessed the literal value of an earning child to a family.

During the Vietnam War, as part of the American pacification program, U.S. officials made what were called "solatium payments" for wrongful deaths caused by American forces. Back then, the U.S. valued Vietnamese adults at about $35 , while children's lives were worth about $15.
The practice continues in its wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan .

For example :-

9-year-old boy, shot by one of our soldiers who mistook his book bag for a bomb satchel - $500
An Iraqi journalist shot on a bridge - $2,500 to his widow .

In early March , a platoon of elite Marine Special Operations troops in a convoy of Humvees were ambushed by a suicide bomber in a mini-van and one of them was wounded. As the convoy made a frenzied escape it layed down a deadly field of fire along a ten-mile stretch of road. Their targets, according to a draft report of the U.S. military investigation of the incident were Afghans, on foot and in vehicles who were "exclusively civilian in nature" and had engaged in "no kind of provocative or threatening behavior." In the process, the Marines were reported to have murdered "12 people -- including a 4-year-old girl, a 1-year-old boy and three elderly villagers" -- and wounded 34 - And the blood money payed ? - $2,000 per death to family members as condolence payments .

The family or spouse of a loved one murdered on 9/11 was also given a monetary value by the U.S. government -- on average $1.8 million, thanks to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund , created by an act of Congress, and thanks to 33 months of careful, pro bono evaluation of the worth of an innocent American life on the basis of the victim's estimated lost lifetime earnings. The total September 11th payout figure was in the range of $7 BILLION

In Iraq , total official payments for wrongful deaths, as well as for injury and collateral property damage, caused by American troops, had reached $20 million by the end of 2005. The figure now stands minimally at $32 million, made unofficially "at a unit commander's discretion."

The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered by al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001 to his or her family: $1.8 million.
The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered at Haditha, Iraq, by U.S. Marines: $2,500.
The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered by U.S. Marines near Jalalabad, Afghanistan: $2,000.

To the American military, all human life has a value - But it is calculated in dollars and cents .
And , of course , for the American government , the life of one of its citizens is much more valuable than the life of any foreigner .

Iraq - It was always about the oil


Our comrade at Mailstrom has posted a short animated cartoon that succinctly summarises the new Iraq Oil Law that is in the process of being passed by the Iraqi Parliament .

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Short Anti-miltarism Video

Follow this link and click on an imaginative 2 minute video , speculating on who are behind the current American war -fever . We would question if there is a distinct military-industry complex that operates independently and solely in its own interests .
We would counterpose that wars for raw materials and for control of trade routes is the natural state for the enormous economies of the USA ( and of the EU and all the other other capitalist countries ) .
But arms traders certainly fan the flames of conflict .

Friday, December 15, 2006

Liar , Liar ...Pants on Fire

When a senior civil servant , a member of the Senior Management Structure of the Foreign Office and First Secretary in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York from December 1997 until June 2002 disputes all that the Prime Minister claimed for justifications for the Iraq War people should listen . In fact , people should know , yet this evidence until now was kept secret . The Independent carries his statement which has now been published by the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs .

Carne Ross, one of Britain's key negotiators at the UN , alleges it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq :

That any potential military threat from Saddam Hussein's had been "effectively contained". Iraq's ability to launch a WMD or any form of attack was very limited. There were approx 12 or so at the time unaccounted-for Scud missiles; Iraq's airforce was depleted to the point of total ineffectiveness; its army was but a pale shadow of its earlier might; there was no evidence of any connection between Iraq and any terrorist organisation that might have planned an attack using Iraqi WMD. No intelligence that Iraq had any intention to launch an attack against its neighbours or the UK or US .With the exception of Israel , none of Iraq's neighbours expressed any concern that they might be attacked .

That the UK warned the USA of "regime-change" and bringing down the Iraqi dictator which would lead to the chaos of Iraq collapsing which the world has since witnessed.

That "inertia" in the Foreign Office and the "inattention of key ministers" combined to stop the UK carrying out any co-ordinated and sustained attempt to address sanction- busting by Iraq, an approach which could have provided an alternative to war , and that the existing sanction system was having a damaging humanitarian effect.

That the clearest evidence of the illegality of the war is the fact that Britain had sought an authorising resolution from the United Nations Security Council and failed to get it.

That Hans Blix at no time stated unequivocally that Iraq was not cooperating with the inspectors. The Security Council reached no such judgement either.

That even when Blix and UNMOVIC were still inside Iraq carrying out the inspections , the UK and USA were conducting pre-invasion softening-up air attacks against Iraqi installations .

Blair , Bush - War Criminals . But it is Capitalism that must be condemned .

No War Between Peoples - No Peace Between Classes
The Only War Worth Fighting is the Class War


Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...