When I thought about writing publicly, I only made one rule : Say what you think honestly. Never consider if it will be too controversial, or too unpalatable, or too taboo.
I have a feeling this one might not go down awfully well though. On the day Blair appears before Chilcot again I just can't bear the howls of outraged guff to go totally unchallenged. Wouldn't be democratic would it?
Firstly, Iraq. #iraqenquiry is now averaging 0.87 tweets a second on Twitter - what do these Tweeps honestly expect to hear? More to the point, is there anything they can possibly say that hasn't already been tweeted, blogged, posted and debated ad nauseum? Oh yes, of course, this morning is the moment when Blair will finally announce he is in fact more evil than Mugabe and had a cunning plan for world domination since he was three years old. It says a lot about the debate on this issue that most anti-war, anti-Blair people wouldn't disagree with either of those statements.
I suppose my attitude to Iraq was largely sceptical. "Dubya finishing Daddy's war" was my general feeling. I do however remember thinking that there were worse things one could do than aim to depose evil dictators practising mass genocide. I also remember UN resolution after UN resolution going unenforced as Saddam did exactly what he liked, sniggering from his Dr-No-Bunker or wherever he ran his evil from.
I'm not actually defending the war, but that will go un-noticed. The response is always waaaayyyyy too rabid for discussing facts or opinions. If I dare to mention that some good has almost certainly come from all this too, I will be hung drawn and quartered before you can say "knee-jerk reaction." A bit of Iraqi democracy sneaking through? a little more female emancipation? Don't even go there you disgusting apologist!!
I read a very interesting report once, claiming that more lives had, at that point, been saved in Iraq (from the fall of Saddam and his mass murders and shallow graves) than had been lost through the war. This cheered me and naively, I thought others would enjoy it too. Holy-Moly! The vitriol, the scorn, the determination to ignore everything but dodgy dossiers and dubious oil claims.
Anyway, Iraq, isn't really my thing. Ambivalence sums up my position really. (Duck! Ouch! That one hurt)
For Chilcot zealots, has it ever occurred to you what Maggie might have faced over the Belgrano? Or Eden over Suez or Churchill after WWII...well, and every politician since time began who took his country into any kind of war at all? Honestly, is there a single utopian that believes that all previous wars were just and nothing even vaguely murky happened, ever?
As for Blair the PM, if I have to read one more intelligent, supposedly astute writer telling me he was just a Tory, he ran the most right wing government of all time, he was a compulsive liar, or that he appropriated the Labour Party for his own evil ends, I think my exasperation might floweth-over.
See, I lived through most of the 70s and all of the 80s and 90s, and I remember a Labour Party so split by division, damaged by militancy, and ridiculed by the country, that it was on the verge of never being elected again. The bickering, the in-fighting, the purist adherence to irrelevant dogma - yet somehow, now I'm the only Labour type to remember the collective sigh of enormous relief we felt when Blair came along with his affable ways and public charm and said it was time to win elections again.
I remember the Labour cheers of joy in the commons when the minimum wage went through or nurses salaries were raised, or health budgets were increased, or peace was achieved in Northern Ireland or civil partnerships or winter fuel payments were announced. If it were even possible for the PFI blinkers to slip, I hardly think we can call Blair's government Tory. If indeed there is a Tory government waiting to do any of those things, then even I might vote for them. Honestly, the fascism of all those free museum visits or nursery places rates eh?
The man won three consecutive elections for Labour - three!!! We'd never won two before. He won the biggest majority of all time - twice. He won us the Olympics and saved the NHS. Yes saved it. Bite me.
Of course his biggest crime was making money. And having a wife who dared to be a QC. Both unforgivable crimes, obviously. How dare he make speeches and get paid for them? How dare he buy property and call himself a socialist? And her!! Tut!! QC, married to a PM, 4 kids and she dares to use a hairdresser!!
Don't bother telling me all the "evil" things he did, I'll only ever balance them up with the good and I've heard them all before. Over and over and over until my ears drop off. It's oh-so-British to build someone up, place them on that golden pedestal, only to tear them down. But for Labour members, it's practically a condition of membership.
Of course he got things wrong. He got some things so spectacularly wrong that it is indeed embarrassing - but then so have I. That night in the arse-end of Kent downing tequila slammers springs to mind. Even so, to pretend that Blair wasn't one of the most successful domestic Prime Ministers of all time is just silly. It's like trying to argue that Wayne Rooney is a complete and utter footBALLING failure because England can't win a world cup.
I completely agree with you Sue.ReplyDelete
Lazy thinking is the culprit.
TB was the right man for Labour, and IMO the country, at the right time.
Just because things have changed doesn't change that fact.
I disagree but I admire your passion and willingness to speak up for someone who is unpopular at present. I suspect I'l be doing that for Gordy for a very long time aso.
In my view a doneky could have won the 1997 & 2001 eection...
I will grant him the 2005 electon & peace in NI- two great achivements that I doubt would have happened without him
I do however remember thinking that there were worse things one could do than aim to depose evil dictators practising mass genocide.ReplyDelete
- Who were these evil dictators doing this because it certainly wasn't Saddam Hussain.
In fact, a good case can be made for the US-UK practicing genocide against the children of Iraq, as its sanctions regime was responsible for the deaths of half a million Iraq children under the ages of 5 years old between 1991-5.
Here is US Secretary of State admitting it on national US television and also claiming it was worthwhile -
Madeleine Albright: "500,000 Dead Iraqi Children Was Worth It"
06 Mar 2008
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq -
We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright -
I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.
- 60 Minutes, May 12, 1996.
I also remember UN resolution after UN resolution going unenforced as Saddam did exactly what he liked, sniggering from his Dr-No-Bunker or wherever he ran his evil from.
- Again, this is pretty ill-informed and vague. It's vague precisely because the Iraqi Government didn't violate UN resolution without prior provocation from the US and UK which infiltrated its agents into UN inspections teams. Also because the UN was forced to evacuate its weapons inspectors because of US-UK air bombing campaings which made it unsafe for the UN teams in Iraq to continue with their work.
If anyone was violating the UN and international law it was always the US and the UK, right down to committing the same crime as Hitler was guilty of, of "unprovoked aggression" Iraq when they illegaly attacked invaded and occupied the country.
Hitler did a lot of good, such as building the autobahn network and getting everybody into employment but that still doesn't wash away his crimes - likewise Blair who committed the same crime as Hitler, and is responsible for the deaths of well over a million Iraqis and the maiming of millions more, and still more millions of Iraqi refugees.
And the misery nad bloodshedt the British Government and the British people are guilty of causing the Iraqi people continues to this day.
I've been campaigning on welfare reform for a few years now. As you'll
know, people tend not to listen to us claimants, and it's bloody hard
to get the points across that we need to make to cut through the
"scroungers" rhetoric so entrenched in today's culture.
Up until last year's general election, it was nigh-on impossible for
claimants' campaigns to gain any traction, or press coverage etc.
Nobody was interested. The pleas fell on deaf ears. Since the
election, and the announcement of the new government's plans, suddenly
our cause seems to have a lot more people on board. Mainly Labour
supporters, who were uninterested when it was their own kind who were
pummelling the sick & disabled into submission. I really hate to think
that tribalism could have anything to do with that, but like you I
have to be honest.
Where were the Labour fanboys & fangirls when Blair was telling Frank
Field to "think the unthinkable" and rip the carpet from under us
claimants? Where were they when the Labour Party and UNUM ran their
"malingering and illness deception" conference back in 2001, paving
the way for Atos, A4E etc and their big money contracts and poverty
pimping? Where were they when David Freud proudly announced he "knew
nothing about welfare" after he was hired to do his hatchet job on
Incapacity Benefit? Where were they when ESA was being introduced?
This is, if I'm not mistaken, supposed to be a pro-claimant blog,
standing up for the fair, inclusive, non-conditional system we need if
we're to have any quality of life. I admire your honesty and respect
your right to an opinion, but being so wedded to the Labour Party will
leave you with egg on your face when it comes to welfare reform.
Maybe they wouldn't have pressed ahead with the current reforms to
benefits if they'd stayed in power (although personally I strongly
suspect they would have - Purnell's brave new world was only intended
to be the beginning), but at the very least, they left the door wide
open for the Tories to continue the demolition job they'd started.
I respect your right to support, vote for, and be a member of the
Labour Party (many of my friends and family do too). But PLEASE do not
think for a second that Blair, or any who came after him, give a rat's
arse about scroungers like you or me. They are not on our side.
Could have been MUCH worse, but I spose there's still tonight ;)ReplyDelete
Sarah - the first time I ever criticised my party publicly was over ESA - it's a misguided shambles and I'll tell them til I'm blue in the face.
I wrote a piece on Labour principles yesterday - do please read it if you haven't. It's perfectly compatible with Labour principles to stand up for the sick and disabled - if my party has forgotten those principles, my job is to remind them, not flounce off in a sulk saying they're all the same. That's how we ended up unrepresented by any party at all - because we shut out the good to focus only on the bad.
My piece was hardly a glowing, blinkered love-in - I simply point out that Labour did a lot of good things under Blair and that he's hardly Mugabe - not really arguable actually is it?
Is this a pro-claimant blog? No. I've written a LOT recently on the matter and will do. But ultimately it's a politics blog aimed at NHS reform.
The comments here reflect the anger people feel at Labour - that's good. If they really want to "listen and learn" then keep 'em coming. At the same time if anyone of you can stand there hand on heart and say Labour were even in the same league as this lot, (I don't mean solely on benefit reform, on that I agree with you) then I'm afraid I think you're delusional.
Joe90Kane - I'm afraid your comments are exactly the type I can't even engage with. Let's just agree to disagree.ReplyDelete
All I can't help myself from saying is if you think Blair was worse than Saddam, I suggest you go live in Iran for a few months and get a bit real. America bashing is terribly popular but to say Sadaam wasn't a dictator practising genocide and to imply the US were worse is just, well, I don't think I'll finish the sentence.
If I don't reply anymore, it's because I'm really glad to have met the contacts I have and want to work with them on welfare reform. Arguing over Blair is just silly. He's gone. the next guy has even gone. But this is primarily a politics blog, so you'll just have to ignore my tribal stuff. rest assured tribal DOESN'T mean blinkered, and when Labour are wrong, I'll be standing there by your side telling them.
My piece was hardly a glowing, blinkered love-in - I simply point out that Labour did a lot of good things under Blair and that he's hardly Mugabe - not really arguable actually is it?ReplyDelete
- No, Blair isn't Mugabe because Mugabe isn't responsible for murdering and maiming millions of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and isn't guilty of committing the same crime as Hitler of "unprovoked aggression" which is the worst crime anyone is capable of committing. Not even Mugabe is guilty of this, but Blair is.
You say you're ambivalent over Blair's international war crimes, but you don't seem too ambivalent when it comes to official enemies of the British state such as Saddam Hussein and Mugabe.
A bit of Iraqi democracy sneaking through? a little more female emancipation?
- Iraq now has a religious government, the very thing which Blair-Bush claimed they were trying to prevent with their illegal war crimes.
I can't recall any feminist group which advocates 20 years of crippling sanctions; a non-stop 20 year ariel bombing campaign, the longest in human history;, the genocide of half a million children; the murder and maiming of millions more people; and millions made into refugees, just in order that women can achieve a bit more freedom in their lives - maybe you could remind me of who these feminists are who advocate such tactics Sue?
Sorry, my last comment was made before I saw your own latest Sue.ReplyDelete
Joe90Kane - I'm afraid your comments are exactly the type I can't even engage with. Let's just agree to disagree.
- I have answered your vague opinions using arguments based on facts and evidence. It's hardly my fault you can't be bothered with the actual history of British foreign policy, prefering instead to regurgitate British state propaganda.
All I can't help myself from saying is if you think Blair was worse than Saddam, I suggest you go live in Iran for a few months and get a bit real.
- What has Iran got to do with Iraq?
Is it because it's just latest in a long line of official enemies of the British state?
What about all the other western supported oppressive regimes in the Middle East such Saudi Arabia, official ally of the US and UK?
Arguing over Blair is just silly. He's gone. the next guy has even gone.
- I'm not really arguing about Blair. I couldn't care less about him. What I do care about is his victims and ours, and I also care about honesty when it comes to western foreign policy.
Not to learn what crimes we are committing against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine merely means that the next victims of such crimes are going to be Iranians, many of whom are innocent defenceless women I might add.
You say you are interested in the victims of Mugabe and Saddam Hussein - I only wish you could extend such care to the victims of our government, not just at home, but abroad as well. After all, who better to help such victims of the crimes of the British Government than informed UK voters and taxpayers?
http://civilliberty.about.com/od/internationalhumanrights/p/saddam_hussein.htm - Balanced not blinkered.ReplyDelete
I watched 5 straight hours on the news on improvements made in Iraq Joe. Schools set up, women allowed much more freedom - hardly utopia but a vast improvement - as a poll of Iraqis showed a few years ago. Elections too - maybe a long way to go, but elections. As I'll say again - Every time the name Blair comes up, someone comments, as you just have, in such furious rage that the facts no longer mean anything to you.
You've claimed Saddam was not a dictator and did not commit genocide. I mentioned Iran because my Iranian friends assure me living there would soon stop anyone from thinking we live somewhere even remotely like a dictatorship. Easy words til you live there.
Once more I say I didn't say I supported Iraq, rather I was ambivalent. the facts show that yes, the UK and US got a lot wrong, but that Saddam was in a different league. The day you show me mass graves full of scousers or geordies shot by Blair, I'll agree, but until then, we''ll only fall out.
THAT'S why I'm not engaging, not because I couldn't trade "facts" with you all night.
You've claimed Saddam was not a dictator and did not commit genocide.ReplyDelete
- I'm sorry, but I didn't claim Iraq wasn't a dictatorship under Saddam. British people should know this as we helped install him, supported him and sold him vast arsenals of WMD, sometimes at British taxpayers expense.
Just to be clear, Saddam Hussein never committed any genocide - that's just more pro-war propaganda. If anybody has a case to answer where genocide against Iraqis are concerned it the US-UK over their 1991-95 sanctions regime.
If you are going to claim Saddam Hussein was genocidal, then how more appalling and cruel are we for supporting him, and then carrying out a genocide of Iraqi children once he disobeyed his orders by invading Kuwait in 1990?
I gave the evidence above for our involvement in Iraqi genocide, which you can't be bothered reading, such is your concern for the welfare of the people of Iraq.
Schools set up, women allowed much more freedom - hardly utopia but a vast improvement - as a poll of Iraqis showed a few years ago.
- Iraq was one of the most materially advanced countries in the Middle East until Saddam disobeyed his western orders and invaded Kuwait. This unsanctioned behaviour led to the cruel and vicious US-UK sanctions regime and the bombing of the country to pieces in the longest running military ariel bombing campaign in human history.
The day you show me mass graves full of scousers or geordies shot by Blair, I'll agree, but until then, we''ll only fall out.
- So its ok if we British carry out mass-murders of Iraqis, Afghans and Palestinians as long as we don't do it to ourselves. What kind of morality is this that covers up the war crimes and mass-murders of over 1 million Iraqis by the British Government by claiming at least we aren't doing it to each other?
How noble are we!
The crime Saddam was eventually found guilty of was the only one they could pin on him which didn't involve western support and western collaboration. 6 weeks after the gassing of the Kurds in Halabja the British Government extended Saddam a credit line of £600 million, under-written by the British taxpayer, in order to buy British made WMD. The British taxpayer got screwed. the people of Iraq got screwed - bit importantly British merchants of death made profit supporting a British government ally.
That's how it works. Everybody gets it in the neck. Not just our victims abroad, but the British people as well, kept in ignorance of the crimes carried out in their name using their taxpayers money. The British people can do something about though because they live in a democracy.
Bringing democracy and all that to Iraq is just straightforward propaganda flannel - Iraq was illegaly attacked because of supposed 45 minute danger from deranged dictators armed with WMD. Once Bush-Blair couldn't find any WMD, because there was none to start with, they had to search for plausible pretexts to use to cover-up their war crimes. This excuse is just one of them.
If you really aren't interest in all this then you should stop repeating propaganda absolving Britain of its appalling crimes against Iraq, both when it supported Hussein and when it didn't. Most of the crimes Saddam is supposedly guilty of, listed in the link you provide, were all supported by the British Government of the time.
Unlike the British Government and its apologists, I have never supported Saddam Hussein and have always cared for the welfare of the Iraq people. I have taken the effort to find out about their suffering and tried to help them with whatever little means I have at my disposal. Only when Hussein began disobeying his western orders were his critics listened to but for purely selfish purposes which had nothing to do with helping the people of Iraq.
I agree with Joe (mainly).ReplyDelete
We should of course remember that Bush would have done what he did anyway, just as I saw today an unarmed Afghan being shot by a marine 'because he was watching us and had a radio, we know that so we (I'm trying to remember the euphemism he used) 'downed him' was it?
It was said after Scargill visited Gaddafi for money, that one could judge a man by the friends he keeps. George's big mate, was Tony. Revolting.
You're right Sue. A brave post. I've done my share of ranting and raving and really don't expect Blair or Bush to be brought to justice over the Iraq affair. I do, however, consider it important not to bury the past completely. Rightly or wrongly I am one of those who believe Blair to be a totally dishonourable individual bent on his own ends and it is his destruction of Labour that made me vow never to support the party again until all vestiges of his style had gone. I just hope Ed lives up to my expectations!ReplyDelete
"I'm not actually defending the war, but that will go un-noticed. The response is always waaaayyyyy too rabid for discussing facts or opinions."ReplyDelete
Actually, you've all been quite gentle, thank you.
"I'm not actually defending the war, but that will go un-noticed. The response is always waaaayyyyy too rabid for discussing facts or opinions."ReplyDelete
- Passing off Labour Party press releases and British state propaganda as some kind of legitimate and honest personal opinion is far more rabid than discussion the facts of the case, which is all I have done.
Characterising my arguments and evidence to support those arguments as such, and refusing to engage with them, is exactly what I expect from those too dishonest, brainwashed or intellectually sloven to admit what the reality is of the history of British foreign policy, which has nothing much to do with Blair.
You do try but fail miserably to cover up for or apologise for British war crimes, and retreat to your original position of smearing people who care for the victims of British foreign policy as rabid, incoherent, etc etc.
For someone who isn't defending the 'war', which wasn't a war anymore than Hitler's attack on Poland was a war, you certainly use all the standard pro-war cliched arguments in your evidence-free comments.
I'm with you Sue. Blair did some damn fool things. But he also did many good things and changed this country for the better in numerous ways. He also did more for the Labour party than any man since Clement Atlee, bringing it firmly into the 1990's.ReplyDelete
If only he hadn't been quite so obsessed with spin and busy having his little internal war with Gordon then he might have been truly great.
He was wrong to not be totally honest about Iraq and the reasons to go to war. But getting rid of Saddam was certainly a worthy cause.