The glibness of Tony Bliar

Vijaya Perera
Twenty-thousand Brits gathered last week in London carrying placards which showed a revised spelling of his name: BLIAR, and calling upon him to quit Downing Street.

Tony has perfected a technique, whenever he is questioned about Weapons of Mass Destruction, of cleverly changing the subject to Saddamís killing of thousands of Kurds. A week ago, on BBCís programme "Breakfast with Frost" when questioned about WMD, Tony looked his interlocutor straight in the eye and said with, great vehemence and deliberateness, that Saddam was a cruel tyrant who had killed thousands of Iraqis and had to be removed for the safety of the world. What Bliar failed to mention was that the massacre of Kurds he was talking about occurred as long ago as 1988, and was done by Saddam with the blessings of the US and the UK, using weapons (including gas bombs) supplied to Saddam by President Reagan through his gofer Donald Rumsfeld.

At that time Saddam was a "good guy" having helped Reagan by waging war against Iran with weapons (including gas bombs) supplied to him by the US.

Following Saddamís genocidal gassing of Iraqi Kurds in 1988 (which Bliar now claims was the reason why he and Bush decided to invade Iraq and remove Saddam), the then UK Trade Minister, Tony Newton, flew out to Iraq with twenty officials to offer Saddam 340 million pounds sterling worth of trade credit.

It is interesting to note that the use of poison gas to kill thousands of Iraqis was not pioneered by Saddam. It was Winston Churchill, when he was War Minister in 1920, that ordered several Kurd and Shia villages be destroyed using poison gas to kill thousands of Kurds and Shias and their cattle. Winston was of the view that it was perfectly legitimate to use poison gas to kill "niggers", His orders were carried out with great efficiency by the British army.

Saddam continued to be a "good guy" until almost to the end of July 1990. But in May 1990 President Bush (Snr.) received advice from the National Security Council that the US arms industry was imperilled by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. There would be no rationale for the continued purchase by the US government of huge quantities of armaments. A rescue operation was necessary otherwise the arms industry would be in trouble. The NSC suggested that Iraq and Saddam would do nicely as a substitute for the Warsaw Pact.

Bush (Snr.) took it up at once. His friend Saddam would have to become the sacrificial goat. Bush told his Secretary of State James Baker and Baker told the US Ambassador in Iraq, April Glaspe, that Saddam should be inveigled into invading Kuwait. Glaspie told Saddam that she had instructions from her president "to inform Saddam that the US would have no opinion on Saddamís border conflicts with Kuwait." Glaspie had to repeat this message several times before the coin dropped and Saddam twigged that the US was inviting him to invade Kuwait.

Saddam fell into the trap and invaded. Immediately Saddam Hussein was the enemy. Bush began the Gulf War.

Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General, set up an international commission of inquiry and war crimes tribunal to investigate what really happened in the Gulf War. The inquiry found that between 150,000 and 300,000 Iraqis were killed with cluster bombs and napalm. These bodies were bull-dozed into mass graves. During and after the Gulf War the Allies killed and maimed many, many more Kurds than Saddam ever did in 1988. There was carnage on the Basra road where US pilots conducted a "turkey shoot" on a retreating convoy. Jolm Pilger has written that there is abundant evidence that the US Air Force carried out the most sophisticated and violent air assault in history against a virtually defenceless people. A deliberate policy of bombing civilians and civilian life-sustaining facilities resulted in the destruction of the Iraq economy and urban infrastructure.

This then is the background to Bush juniorís and Bliarís invasion of Iraq. There is an epic abjectness in Bliar trying to cling to an office he has befouled, by claiming Saddamís massacre of Iraqis in 1988 as justification for the destruction and occupation of Iraq by the US and the UK in 2003.

Both Blair and his role model George W. are in serious trouble with their electorates and there seems to be little doubt that they will receive their just deserts from the American and British people.