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UK Iraq Inquiry Uncovering Real Truth Behind War

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Contributor:
Chris Ford
Chris Ford

Over the last four months, Britain's Iraq War Inquiry has begun uncovering the real truth behind that conflict. The inquiry, ordered by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and chaired by former civil servant Sir John Chilcott, has seen some stunning evidence provided by witnesses.

Yet some of this stunning evidence has been un-surprising in a way. The revelation by two Foreign Office lawyers that they had advised then foreign secretary Jack Straw that any invasion would be illegal under international law was one. While Straw inevitably rejected that advice, the two lawyer's testimony offered up the first real concrete evidence that the UK Government broke international law by participating in the US-led invasion.

The other turning point so far has been the evidence presented by former cabinet minister Clare Short. Short (who has made no secret of her intense dislike for former prime minister Tony Blair and his acolytes), told the inquiry that she (as overseas aid minister) was shut out of any war-related decision making by Blair. Both she and the majority of the Cabinet were kept largely in the dark about Iraq-related developments during the crucial 2002-2003 period. Short also testified that she had a portfolio related interest in any planning being undertaken given that humanitarian aid would have to be offered through her department during the post-invasion phase. As it turned out (and this was confirmed by Short), there was no real post-invasion planning done. This was likely the case as the Americans were clearly interested in promoting chaos in order to justify the harsh measures they later took against Iraqi civilians such as the introduction of random house-to-house searches.

Speaking of Tony Blair, he was the most important figure to appear before the inquiry, so far. Short of calling former US president George W. Bush to give testimony, he was the other central character in the decision-making process surrounding Iraq. In my view, his evidence to the inquiry was pure bullshit. Stating that 9/11 had "changed the calculus of risk" and that there was a need to oust Saddam Hussein due to his supposed links with Islamic terrorism (which were utterly false) was rubbish. What threat did Saddam pose beyond his own region, even at that point in time? Nil. As we all know, the preposterous argument that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or the capability to manufacture or deploy has been proven wrong too. As a result of heavy air raids conducted during the 1991 Gulf War and on other occasions, the Iraqi leader had had his offensive military capability severely degraded to the point of obliteration. Besides, as Saddam himself told his American interrogators, the nuclear weapons he desired were supposed to be trained on that other US enemy, the Iranians.  And as for Blair's non-apology to the Iraqi people for the suffering they have endured in the conflict and to the families of British and Allied soldiers who have died in this unjust war? I believe it just showed Blair at his arrogant best.

So, shouldn't the intelligence services have known better? I believe that they did. I feel that the weapons of mass destruction and terrorism arguments were deployed to hide the real reason for launching the war - the need to get rid of a potential political rival in the Middle East and reassert US hegemony over the Persian Gulf region, something that was lost soon after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. 

That's why I believe that the US-led invasion of Iraq was, as one commentator has described, the first of many 'Oil Wars' that will erupt during this century. As oil stocks become exhausted, prices will rise inexorbably and the desire to make a quick profit through controlling what will become a precious resource will be on. The United States, facing stiff competition from the likes of China, Russia, India and Brazil for economic dominance, will be on the look out for opportunities to place more boots on the ground in order to keep its economic, political, military and cultural dominance intact. Thus, we are likely to see more Iraq style wars.

And that's why the Iraq War Inquiry is so important. With the need to keep onside with the US, significant allies like the UK will be under pressure from the Americans to, in the paraphrased words of Dubya, 'be either with us or against us.' Therefore, Britain and other allied nations (like New Zealand and Australia) will be expected to come to the aid of America as it continues to make aggressive war on any nation that stands in its way. This will mean that future British Governments will be required to more thoroughly justify any military involvement in American-led operations where the country's national security may not be under direct threat. If the information that is now coming to light in the inquiry had made its way into the public domain (via leaking) prior to the war, then there is a chance that Blair would have had to pull the plug on British involvement and then resign.

If that had occurred, then the Iraq War Inquiry would not have been necessary.

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