Posts Tagged ‘Tony Blair’

The ICC can have no credibility till it charges non-Africans as well (such as Blair or Sarkozy)

October 21, 2016

The US is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court which keeps George Bush and Barack Obama outside their purview. However European countries are signatories and the ICC, in the 14 years it has been in existence, has only charged Africans of war crimes. Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy and even David Cameron, have escaped scott free and it has never even been contemplated that they be charged. John Howard was as complicit as Tony Blair in furthering George Bush’s war crimes but he does not figure in the ICC’s investigations either. It is hardly surprising that the ICC is perceived  – in Africa – as being blatantly anti- African. It is not surprising either that Burundi and now South Africa have signed Instruments of Withdrawal and have informed the UN that they are withdrawing.

BBC: 

South Africa has formally begun the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC), notifying the UN of its decision. South Africa did not want to execute ICC arrest warrants which would lead to “regime change”, a minister said.

Last year, a South African court criticised the government for refusing to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. He is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes. Mr Bashir was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg, when the government ignored an ICC request to arrest him. He denies allegations that he committed atrocities in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region. …….

“The Republic of South Africa has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court,” the document says. 

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said at a press conference that the government would table legislation in parliament to withdraw South Africa from the ICC. The Rome Statute, under which the ICC was set up, required the arrest of heads of state for whom a warrant was issued. The consequence of this would be “regime change” and the statute was incompatible with South African legislation which gave heads of state diplomatic immunity, he added.

But the anti-African position of the ICC seems inescapable:

The ICC 

  • Came into force in 2002
  • The Rome Statute that set it up has been ratified by 123 countries, but the US is a notable absence
  • It aims to prosecute and bring to justice those responsible for the worst crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes
  • In the court’s 14-year history it has only brought charges against Africans.

 

The incontrovertible truth is that Iraq would have been a better place without Blair

July 6, 2016

There will be reams written about Chilcot but my view of Tony Blair does not change very much. If anything, I am more than ever convinced of Blair’s poodle-like fawning in Bush’s presence and his glorified image of himself.

“Flawed intelligence” and “actions in good faith” are Tony Blair’s defence. Certainly Blair’s character was (and still is) seriously flawed. That he has native cunning and intelligence is apparent but it is seriously skewed. Greed and self-glorification would seem to be his primary goals. “Good faith” is defined as being based on “sincere beliefs or motives without any malice or the desire to defraud others” and that certainly does not apply. He had malice aplenty and he wanted to impress Bush. His own country and his own soldiers and all of Iraq’s population were just collateral damage along the way to satisfying his enormous ego.

Would Iraq have been better off today with Saddam still around? That is impossible to answer. In fact, that is the wrong question. But it is incontrovertible that Iraq would have been better off without Tony Blair or George Bush.

Just as the real question today is whether the Ukraine or the Middle East would not have been better off without the sanctimonious interference of the EU, Obama and Kerry?


 

Is David Cameron “sexing up” the intelligence on Russian jet crash?

November 5, 2015

This morning nearly all UK main stream news outlets have been pushing the story about intelligence pointing to a possible ISIS bomb on the Russian jet which crashed in Sinai. They have all been reporting David Cameron’s decision to stop all UK flights to Sharm el-Sheikh. As I have posted earlier, I am a little sceptical since this concerted media push coincides with the visit of the Egyptian President to the UK and with David Cameron’s frustration at not being able to take the issue of strikes on ISIS in Syria to his Parliament. The media push is so synchronised that it suggests to me that somebody in government is pushing them. Moreover, David Cameron’s frustration at not being able to get any Labour support in spite of Jeremy Corbyn’s extreme nonsense, really makes him look ineffective. He even got the Foreign Secretary to make a statement that an ISIS bomb was a “significant possibility” based on US intelligence.

It seems to be a US -UK media effort. The Egyptians are annoyed. The Russians can’t really say anything about speculation until there is hard information from the accident investigation. Certainly I would not have thought that a bomb would leave no traces which could not eventually be found by the investigators. It is remarkable also that this UK decision comes based not on the accident investigation, but on anonymous, US intelligence sources. But this is not the main story in the US media as it is in the UK.

Maybe I am being fanciful, but it reminds me of Tony Blair’s manipulation of the Iraq dossier by “sexing it up”. Here too the fraud was effected by UK intelligence based on US intelligence. Blair was trying to get the approval of the Parliament. Most of the dossier was just made up and largely at Blair’s instigation. Is Cameron actually following the example of and precedent set by Blair?

The Russians have finally reacted and cautioned that the theories are all just speculation.

BBC: 

Theories about the cause of a Russian airliner crash in Sinai that killed 224 passengers are “speculation” at this stage, the Kremlin says.

“Any sort of version of what happened… can only be put forward by the investigation,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

He was speaking after US and UK officials said intelligence suggested the plane may have been bombed.

Militants linked to Islamic State (IS) have claimed that they brought it down.

The Metrojet Airbus 321, bound for St Petersburg, crashed in Egypt’s Sinai desert just 23 minutes after take-off from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday.

On Thursday, the UK suspended flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who is on a visit to the UK, told the BBC: “We do not want to rush into conclusions. We all share the same concerns. We want to know the reasons behind it.

“The investigation will be disclosed with all transparency, we have nothing to hide.”

But if the accident investigators cannot find clear evidence of a bomb – and if it was a bomb, the evidence will surely be there – I shall conclude that this was just a PR ploy by Cameron, implemented by UK intelligence sexing up the story – and not for the first time – with some help from unnamed US intelligence sources.

Blair did agree to be Bush’s poodle over Iraq

October 18, 2015

What if the invasion of Iraq had not happened? And without the UK support, even Colin Powell’s lies to the UN about Iraq’s WMD would not have been enough. And Tony Blair was no reluctant liar but a willing player in the scheme to dupe the UN.

I wonder what history will make of Tony Blair now that this memo from Colin Powell has been revealed.

Daily Mail:

Smoking gun emails reveal Blair’s ‘deal in blood’ with George Bush over Iraq war was forged a YEAR before the invasion had even started

  • Leaked White House memo shows former Prime Minister’s support for war at summit with U.S. President in 2002
  • Bombshell document shows Blair preparing to act as spin doctor for Bush, who was told ‘the UK will follow our lead’
  • Publicly, Blair still claimed to be looking for diplomatic solution – in direct contrast to email revelations …… 

A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War. The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.

It flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis. He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals.

***MAIL ONLINES *** Email from Colin Powell Image vis Glen Owen MOS political reporter

***MAIL ONLINES *** Email from Colin Powell Image vis Glen Owen MOS political reporter

The classified document also discloses that Blair agreed to act as a glorified spin doctor for the President by presenting ‘public affairs lines’ to convince a sceptical public that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction – when none existed.

In return, the President would flatter Blair’s ego and give the impression that Britain was not America’s poodle but an equal partner in the ‘special relationship’.

The damning memo, from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush, was written on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas.

In it, Powell tells Bush that Blair ‘will be with us’ on military action. Powell assures the President: ‘The UK will follow our lead’. ….

Smoking gun emails reveal Blair’s ‘deal in blood’ with George Bush

Just a little bit funny, this Saturday morning …

June 13, 2015
  1. A white woman, Rachel Dolezal, believed all the claptrap about how race was just a social construct and decided to identify herself as an African-American. She has altered her appearance and hair style to convince her surroundings and has leveraged the duplicity to get a full scholarship at a black University and then to become President of the local chapter of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. She has managed to keep this up for some 7 or 8 years. But she didn’t manage to change her ancestry and her genetics and was eventually betrayed by her (white) parents.
  2. King Felipe VI of Spain has removed the title “Duchess of Palma” from his sister, Princess Cristina, who is to go on trial charged with tax evasion. She was granted the title in 1997 when she married Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player who is also accused of tax evasion. Presumably she remains a Princess of the Ignoble kind.
  3. Barack Obama demonstrated again that he is a leader incapable of even carrying his own supporters with him. A leader who follows. He is trying to negotiate a trade agreement among 12 countries around the Pacific. He asked Congress to give him “fast track” powers to negotiate the deal. The Senate agreed but his own Democrats killed the enabling bill in the House of Representatives. But Obama will try again.
  4. The AAP (Arvind’s Agitation Populace) are now the ruling party in the Delhi government. True to their ineptitude they appointed a Law Minister, Jitender Singh Tomar, who turned out to have faked all his degrees.
  5. Moldova’s Prime Minister, Chiril Gaburici, also resigned because he was found to have faked his school diploma.
  6. Prince Carl-Philip was the Crown Prince of Sweden when he was born in 1979.  But a year later he had to give up that position to his elder sister Victoria when legislation removed the hereditary preference for male progeny. (This was actually a compromise since legislation to abolish the monarchy failed to pass). Today, he marries a commoner, Sofia Hellqvist, 30, who will become Princess Sofia of Sweden. Hellqvist was something of a hell-raiser when she was younger and more foolish, with a period as a topless model and beauty queen and even as a reality TV participant hobnobbing with porn stars. Just a touch of ignobility here.
  7. In Japan a Supreme court ruling in 1979 established that in a case of a husband or wife cheating with a 3rd party (where the 3rd party was not a prostitute paid for his or her services) the cheated spouse could sue the 3rd party for compensation for disturbing the tranquility of the marriage. But this week a Japanese judge ruled that a Ginza bar hostess who had sex with her business-men clients, not for money but for their continued patronage, could not be sued by an “injured” wife. He argued that this “business adultery” was routine and did not disturb the tranquility of the marriage.
  8. Tony Blair is.

Tony Blair as spin doctor for ISIS next?

August 25, 2014

Tony Blair’s venal opportunism in Kazakhstan is well established. After the massacre of 15 civilian protesters in 2011, he has had a lucrative business acting as spin doctor for President Nursultan Nazarbeyev by video interviews and personal advice and speech writing.

The GuardianIn a letter to Nursultan Nazarbeyev, Blair told the autocratic ruler that the December 2011 deaths, “tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress that Kazakhstan has made”. Blair advised Nazarbeyev that when dealing with the western media, he should tackle the events in Zhanaozen, when police opened fire on protesters, including oil workers demanding higher wages, “head-on”. ……  he also suggested passages to be inserted into a speech the president was giving at the University of Cambridge aimed at counteracting any bad publicity. One read: “By all means make your points and I assure you we’re listening. But give us credit for the huge change of a positive nature we have brought about”.

The former Labour leader’s consultancy, Tony Blair Associates, set up in the capital, Astana, in October 2011, signing a multi- million pound deal to advise Kazakhstan’s leadership on good governance, just months after Nazarbeyev was controversially re-elected with 96% of the vote and weeks before the massacre.

Tony Blair is also – believe it or not – the EU’s Middle East Envoy!

While one could question the wisdom (folly?) of the EU in such a choice, there is no doubt that Blair will be able to, and will, leverage this appointment to win future consultancy contracts in the Middle East. He is gaining – based on his record – quite a reputation as being able to “spin” death and destruction to the media and to politicians as “regrettable but unavoidable and don’t forget all the good things”. He well knows how to “sex” up a dossier.

It is now reported that the gruesome and barbarous murder of James Foley by a British ISIS Jihadi also had publicity objectives.

News.comTHE beheading of American journalist, James Foley, at the hands of ISIS militants shocked the world but forensic experts have revealed the video was probably staged, with the murder happening off camera. ….. ……… an international forensic science company, which has worked for police forces across Britain, said there is no question Foley was beheaded but that camera trickery and post-production techniques look to have been used.

“I think it has been staged,” said one expert in visual forensics, after he was commissioned by The UK Times to examine the footage. “My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.”

Aymenn al-Tamimi, a fellow at the Middle East Forum think-tank, said over the years ISIS militants have improved the production quality of their videos.

The analysis by experts has highlighted a number of inconsistencies that could suggest that the beheading of Foley, which was seen on the video, was not his actual death.

ISIS is not short of money. The Spanish, French and German governments have been reported to have paid large ransoms to ISIS to get their hostages released. The reports are of tens of millions of Euros paid. The demand for releasing James Foley was said to have been $132 million. But the UK and the US generally do not pay ransoms. In any event,  “ISIS has about $2 billion in its war chest”. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar are also apparently quite generous in their funding of ISIS.

So ISIS would seem to be able to afford the best in weapons. They would even have the funds sufficient and necessary to employ Tony Blair Associates. Blair should be able to come up with some helpful and creative suggestions for ISIS on how to get more positive coverage from the world media and improve upon the scripts to be used in their video executions?

Obama is now waiting to be rescued by Iran

June 16, 2014

A week ago only Middle East experts knew much about ISIS. And in less than a week the possible break up of Iraq has becomes more than just a distant reality and is now a “work in progress”. Republicans are blaming Obama for the failure of reaching an agreement with al Maliki and the premature withdrawal of troop. Democrats blame Bush Jr. and Cheney and the neo-cons for duping the US and the world in justifying the 2003 invasion. And they are – of course – both right. The initial invasion “broke”Iraq but Obama is the one who has refused to fix it or even to provide the glue with which to fix it.

Over the weekend the mayhem continued in Iraq as the blood-letting by ISIS plunges to new depths.

Twenty three years after the First Gulf war, George Bush Sr. has returned – reincarnated as an aircraft carrier. In an unusual burst of activity President Obama sent the US navy to the Gulf as NBC reports – “The USS George H.W. Bush — accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun — was ordered to the Persian Gulf Saturday to protect American lives and interests in the region.” The ships arrived on Sunday. The size of the fleet makes one suspect the preparation of an evacuation of Baghdad (shades of Saigon!) rather than any significant military opposition to ISIS. Some staff are already being evacuated from the US Embassy.

President Obama continues to contemplate his dwindling options. Tony Blair is still living in his own deluded fantasies. Blair jets around as a Middle East Peace envoy and is now calling for more bombings and more bloodshed to try and defend his own blood-drenched legacy. But Obama may get help from an unlikely source:

Al JazeeraIran’s president held out the prospect of working with the U.S. in a bid to stabilize strife-torn Iraq on Saturday, but denied reports that troops had already been sent across the border to bolster its failing neighbor’s counter-insurgency efforts.

Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist who is presiding over a nascent thaw in Iran’s relations with the West, said if Washington was willing to confront “terrorist groups in Iraq and elsewhere,” then Tehran would contemplate cooperating with its traditional foe over Iraq.

Echoing comments made by President Barack Obama on Friday, Rouhani added that Tehran was unlikely to send forces to Iraq but stood ready to provide help within the framework of international law. Baghdad has not as yet requested such assistance, he added.

The BBC reports that the US and Iran may hold talks about possible cooperation later this week. And this gives Obama the perfect excuse to continue with his “do-nothing” policy as he waits to be rescued by Iran.

BBCWashington is considering direct talks with Iran on the security situation in Iraq, a US official has told the BBC. The move comes as US President Barack Obama weighs up options on action to take in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the US condemned as “horrifying” photos posted online by Sunni militants that appear to show fighters massacring Iraqi soldiers. In the scenes, the soldiers are shown being led away and lying in trenches before and after their “execution”.

But this mending of fences between the US and Iran will not go down very well in Israel. Netanyahu will now be under pressure from his hawks to carry out pre-emptive strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities before the rapprochement goes too far.

Tony Blair is still trying to justify his Iraq idiocy

April 24, 2014

The Iraq war, where Tony Blair played poodle to George Bush, was prosecuted on a lie. They didn’t like Saddam Hussain and so they got rid of him. They sexed up their dossiers about Weapons of Mass Destruction. They sold the lie to the United Nations. They managed to establish the principle that any state may get involved in regime-change in any other state – whenever it has the desire and the might to do so. Their idiot-behaviour has led to the growth of subsequent terrorism and of large numbers of  radicalised, Muslim, idiot-youth.

The view history takes of Tony Blair will not be pretty. He will – I think – be seen as an opportunistic, money-grubbing, dishonest politician who took advantage of his former high position for obscene personal gain. The growth of radicalised Muslim youth in Europe with their juvenile antics in search of jihad are a direct consequence of the Iraq War and the War on Terror. But Tony Blair is getting worried about his legacy and his place in history and he is at it again. He would like the world to believe that radical Islam – which he helped to create – must be confronted in a new Crusade.

Tony Blair’s speech seeking to rally global support for a confrontation with Islamic extremism generated a storm of reaction, most of it negative and much of it focusing on the messenger rather than the message.

The director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Chris Doyle, said the former prime minister had been right to underline the importance of the subject in his Bloomberg speech but was sharply critical of the way he went about tackling it.

Doyle said: “Blair is largely right to highlight the issue. Islamic extremism is not on the wane. It is flourishing in many areas of the world. Nobody should be complacent. “It is his solutions that are very problematic – particularly the idea that people in the Middle East have to choose between dictatorship and Islamic extremism, and in criticising the Muslim Brotherhood he has endorsed the military leadership in Egypt. But the choice the people of the region need is not between dictatorship and extremism but between those systems and pluralist democratic rule. In fact, dictatorships have often been a significant cause of frustration and anger, and a driving force behind the rise of al-Qaida.”

…….  The Palestinian editor of the Rai al-Youm news website, Abdel Bari Atwan, said: “Blair is implying that extremist Islam is a danger for the whole world. But the target is the Muslim Brotherhood. He is a very good friend of Mr Sisi in Egypt and he does a lot of consultancy work in the region so it’s not surprising that he’s speaking out. He had spent years as peace envoy but what kind of peace has he achieved? We have to differentiate between radical Islam and moderate Islam. If you criminalise Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood then you are pushing them into extremism.”

Much of the commentary focused on Blair’s own credibility on the subject as much as the subject itself, particularly his role in leading Britain into the war in Iraq alongside the former US president George W Bush.

Doyle said: “Before 2003, there wasn’t an issue of al-Qaida in Iraq. There is now. Intervention is highly risky and almost always leads to situations where extremists flourish. They profit from instability, civil war and the inability of states to manage their territories.”

A columnist for the Saudi-owned al-Hayat daily, Jihad al-Khazen, said: “Blair and George W Bush are as responsible for radical Islam as any of its leaders. The war in Iraq caused the death of almost a million Muslims. It gave a reason for every radical in the Middle East to go to war against the west. “I don’t think Blair will absolve himself of responsibility by making this speech. He talks about how the Middle East matters but he says nothing about Israel’s continuing occupation. He is definitely not the right person to be lecturing on this subject – or to be a peace envoy. That’s an oxymoron.”

….. Meanwhile, a columnist on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer, tweeted:

“The fascinating thing about Blair’s speech today is that it could have been a Netanyahu speech, word-for-word, they share the same outlook.”

Blair continues to be one of the most successful recruiters for radical Islam.

Perhaps at the root of all of this is the suspicion that those who will welcome Blair’s speech most will be the radical Islamists right across the region and beyond. One aim of the 9/11 attacks was to incite a vigorous military response that that could be represented as a war not just against radical Islamists but against Islam itself. A “clash of civilisations” may be too strong a phrase for Blair’s speech but a clash of beliefs is not too strong a term to use, to which an Islamist response might well be – “bring it on”.

The War on Terror is a crusade gone wrong. Certainly radical Islam is barbaric and uncivilised. But being barbaric and uncivilised against radical Islam, as Blair is and would like others to be, only legitimises and perpetuates the barbarism. Iraq has been followed by Afghanistan, by Libya, by Egypt and now by the fiasco in Syria. Much blood has been shed but all these irresponsible adventures have been spectacular failures in the War on Terror. Abu Ghraib and unmanned drones and State Terrorism and collateral damage have only legitimised the use of terror as a tactic of war. Boko Haram have learned the lesson.

Perhaps Tony Blair needs to be compared with Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux and his role in the disastrous Second Crusade of 1145:

…. the Second Crusade, launched in 1145, is generally regarded as a disaster for the Christian West. Even those who took part in the Crusade saw it as a failure. According to William of Tyre:   Thus a company of kings and princes such as we have not read of through all the ages had gathered and, for our sins, had been forced to return, covered with shame and disgrace, with their mission unfulfilled…. henceforth those who undertook the pilgrimages were fewer and less fervent. 

…. Brundage claims that the failure of the Crusade to achieve any victories whatever in the east emboldened Muslim military leaders, destroyed the myth of western prowess in arms, and was to be responsible, at least in part, for causing the Muslim states of the east to draw closer together, to unite for further attacks upon the Latin states. He says that the end of the Second Crusade saw the Muslims preparing to unite, for the first time, against the Latin intruders in their midst, while the Latins, for their part, were divided sharply against one another.

Bernard was the Pope’s poodle as Blair was Bush’s.

One of Bernard’s most influential acts, for better or worse, was his preaching of the Second Crusade. The First Crusade had given the Christian forces control of a few areas in Palestine, including the city of Edessa. When Moslem forces captured Edessa (37:08 N 38:46 E, now called Urfa and located in eastern Turkey) in 1144, King Louis VII of France (not to be confused with St. Louis IX, also a Crusader, but more than a century later) was eager to launch a crusade to retake Edessa and prevent a Moslem recapture of Jerusalem (31:47 N 35:13 E). He asked Bernard for help, and Bernard refused. He then asked the Pope to order Bernard to preach a Crusade. The pope gave the order, and Bernard preached, with spectacular results. Whole villages were emptied of able-bodied males as Bernard preached and his listeners vowed on the spot to head for Palestine and defend the Sacred Shrines with their lives.

…. As for the Crusade, things went wrong from the start. The various rulers leading the movement were distrustful of one another and not disposed to work together. Of the soldiers who set out (contemporary estimates vary from 100,000 to 1,500,000), most died of disease and starvation before reaching their goal, and most of the remainder were killed or captured soon after their arrival. The impact on Bernard was devastating, and so was the impact on Europe.

 I don’t much care for Tony Blair.

What do Obama, Blair and Al Qaida have in common?

September 6, 2013

They all want a  US strike on Syria – each for his own reasons.

Al Qaida has the most to gain by a weakening – rather than an elimination – of Assad’s regime. That would give them time to consolidate their dominance among the opposition groups while ensuring the eventual demise of Assad.

Tony Blair is desperate to show that all attacks by Western interests which help regime-change in the area are justified in themselves. His duplicity about WMD and Iraq will always dominate his place in History and that rankles. He is still looking for the argument which can support his fantasy that the intervention in Iraq – even without any WMD – was a good thing. He has just been interviewed by the BBC and this is to be aired on Monday. The excerpts released so far clearly reveal how utterly self-centred and self-serving he is.

What exactly Obama hopes to accomplish is quite unclear. It could be for intellectual satisfaction for having – recklessly – made his red-line box for himself. It could be to demonstrate his “moral superiority” and by extension that of the US. He (through Kerry) says 1429 people were killed by sarin gas. The French put the number at 281. The British said it was about 350. How will Obama measure success? By the number of fresh bodies on the ground? Score 1 for every Assad soldier killed! An “eye for an eye” or will he need to multply by ten to ensure that his actions are a deterrent? It is the gassing of children that must be addressed he says.  Is it only the manner of their deaths he wants to react to? How many children have died in US drone attacks so far?

Israel will be very satisfied if Syria remains in internal turbulence for as long as possible. Turkey’s Islamists will be very happy to see Assad go. Will Obama be satisfied for having strengthened Al Qaida and other Islamist groups?

Perhaps Obama with his drones and his “limited and targeted strike on Syria” is just one of the wannabe soldier(s who remain enamored of the lure of bloodless machine warfare”.

I think war is deplorable but unfortunately necessary. Human behaviour has not yet evolved to be able to avoid it. But war without any objective and primarily to demonstrate “moral superiority”?

Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College and writes in the Washington Post:

A war the Pentagon doesn’t want

…. After personal exchanges with dozens of active and retired soldiers in recent days, I feel confident that what follows represents the overwhelming opinion of serving professionals who have been intimate witnesses to the unfolding events that will lead the United States into its next war.

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

They are repelled by the hypocrisy of a media blitz that warns against the return of Hitlerism but privately acknowledges that the motive for risking American lives is our “responsibility to protect” the world’s innocents. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. 

 The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.

They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message.

Our people lament our loneliness. Our senior soldiers take pride in their past commitments to fight alongside allies and within coalitions that shared our strategic goals. This war, however, will be ours alone.

They are tired of wannabe soldiers who remain enamored of the lure of bloodless machine warfare. …. 

…. Soon the military will salute respectfully and loose the hell of hundreds of cruise missiles in an effort that will, inevitably, kill a few of those we wish to protect. They will do it with all the professionalism and skill we expect from the world’s most proficient military. I wish Kerry would take a moment to look at the images from this week’s hearings before we go to war again.

Read the whole article.

Déjà vu! For Iraq read Syria

August 28, 2013

Déjà vu!

Some kind of military action by the US and its allies – probably missile and drone attacks – is imminent  against Syria and Assad. To what end is uncertain. To destroy stocks of chemical weapons could be an objective but any action would probably only cause more release of the toxins involved. To destroy or help destroy Assad’s regime is possible but unlikely since the alternative would probably be Al Qaida. To assassinate Assad runs the same risk. To kill some of Assad’s military or his supporters just as a “punitive” strike could be an objective but adding to the killing to stop the killing seems a little dubious. To demonstrate a self-righteous “moral” position to the world with the least damaging consequences possible would seem to the main objective. To prevent any future use of chemical weapons by any country could be an objective thought it is difficult to see how many “bad guys” would need to be killed or how much property would need to be destroyed to create a valid deterrent.

For Iraq read Syria. For Bush, Blair, Chirac  (my failing memory) and Howard read Obama, Cameron, Hollande and Rudd. Even though each of the current four leaders is from the opposing party to that of his predecessor. For WMD read “chemical or nerve gas”. Statements by the politicians show that they are absolutely “certain” that Assad was responsible. Evidence is not forthcoming. As it was not for Iraq. And it does not inspire any confidence that to justify the Iraq invasion, “evidence” was made-up by the intelligence services to satisfy their political masters.

That upto some 300 people have been killed seems very likely though there is some doubt as to the number. The main evidence seems to be video footage. That some form of chemical or nerve agent was used seems probable. And traces of such agents are detectable years after the event, though some politicians (Obama and Kerry for example) would like us to believe that the evidence may be destroyed and therefore  time is of the essence just to preserve the evidence. Though it is likely that someone within the Assad regime was probably responsible it is not at all impossible that one of the many “rebel” groups was responsible. Some of the rebel groups – along with Assad’s supporters – have exhibited their barbaric and cannibalistic tendencies.

But I am afraid that military actions will be carried out – again – without any more serious objective than to demonstrate “moral superiority” and to fulfill domestic agendas.  Even though such actions – in themselves – undermine the very moral superiority that is being touted. Some more people – some quite innocent – will of course be killed. They will just be collateral damage and the the sacrifice in a war of moral superiority. That Tony Blair on-board a luxurious yacht somewhere supports immediate strikes against Syria only adds to my feeling that it would be ill-advised. His thirst for blood is apparently not yet satisfied. Obama needs to show that he can actually be decisive – if only for history. Cameron needs a war – any war – before the next General Election and Spain over Gibraltar does not quite fit the bill.  Argentina over the Falklands is better but too far away and already done. Hollande needs to show that he does really exist – as he did in Mali. Rudd would love to be seen at the “big table” and he could see this as a way for grabbing some of Abbot’s supporters for the election in less than 2 weeks.

The chaos in Iraq and the daily loss of life that is occurring there is a direct consequence of the Iraq invasion (and how much worse would it have been under Saddam?). The adventure in Libya to satisfy the European desire for demonstrating their moral superiority will have consequences for many many years to come. Of course the Middle East today (like the Balkans a few years ago) provides proof positive of the barbarism that lies so close to the surface of many human “societies”. And the interventions by moral “police” has always dragged the police down to the level of the criminal societies they are ostensibly trying to put down. The intervention in Kosovo has succeeded after a fashion. But it is hard to come to to the same conclusion for Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya.

To add Syria to the list seems irresponsible.

The only way to address Syria – in my opinion – is to ostracise the entire country. Shun them. Close the borders. isolate them. No weapons – to anybody. No goods, no services to enter the country. Nobody and nothing enters. Only refugees may leave. Send the country to Coventry. Go back in a few months and when the killing stops – help the survivors pick up the pieces. But don’t intervene to add to the killing in the hope of stopping the killing.


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