They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Blair,Bush: Ayoon Wa Azan (The Ongoing Countdown)

daral-hayat: Italian television broadcasted a documentary** last November charging the US forces with using white phosphorus rounds, a chemical weapon, in the Fallujah battle. The 30-mn film triggered then a huge controversy.

The opening shots of the documentary showed Vietnamese children who had been burnt by US napalm shells in 1972. These shots recurred to me when I heard about the US probe into the massacre of Haditha, where 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and six children, were shot dead by US Marines. Many newspapers in the US have compared the Iraqi massacre this time with Vietnam's My Lai massacre (there is no room here to review the latest civilian killings in Afghanistan).

The US forces used white phosphorus rounds in November 2004 and in the Haditha massacre in November 2005; They may be planning for a new massacre next November to coincide with the midterm elections in the US.

The Americans have officially denied using phosphorus rounds and dismissed the Italian film as erroneous. However, 'bloggers' were able to provide, as proof, a US military journal citing US officers, soldiers and British Col. Tim Collins, leaving no room for authorities to stick to their denial.

The official US version of the Haditha crime, as outlined by a US army sergeant, was that the Iraqi civilians were killed in an explosion and that the troops had entered the houses in search of militants who had shot at them. However, a probe by the Criminal Investigation Service showed that the Marines had avenged the death of one of their colleagues in a roadside bomb by killing Iraqi civilians in a five-hour operation that was more than just random shooting. There are eyewitnesses of the crime who have very painful versions of what happened. Their testimonies are available at more credible US sources.

Transatlantic media has given the massacre as much attention as it had given a joint press conference of President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, where tens of news items and comments were written at the time; but the story of the massacre soon eclipsed the joint conference.

US and British press have criticized what Bush and Blair said, and there is a point which I consider the basis of the whole issue. The two allies admitted they have made mistakes in Iraq. Bush listed among his mistakes his "tough talk" to the insurgents and his "wanted dead or alive" taunt to Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, Blair conceded that dismantling the army and barring members of the Ba'ath Party from the Iraqi government were major mistakes. The media 'swallowed' the speeches of Bush and Blair as it was their first joint news conference in which they admitted making mistakes in Iraq.

Had they really made 'mistakes' there would not have been any crime committed, as we all make mistakes sometimes. But they have lied about their reasons for going to war, which is a major crime. Assuming that Bush is ignorant, uninformed and unable to be taught, we cannot make the same assumption about Blair who is very intelligent and cannot claim to have been cheated. The war was based on fake reasons that were sexed up or entirely fabricated. According to Britain's Lancet Medical Journal, 100,000 Iraqis have been killed in this war.

Almost every month, a report is leaked or a former official comes up with evidence that the war on Iraq was fabricated and that traditional intelligence agencies failed to provide evidence that Iraq possessed any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Accordingly, the cabal had to establish alternative agencies and fake evidence relying on false reports that Saddam Hussein had been trying to acquire uranium from Niger. Furthermore, fearing failure, the US and Britain did not refer the issue to the Security Council to issue a resolution that would authorize going to war. They insisted that previous resolutions were sufficient enough. At the time, we also heard that some lawyers had made up legal pretexts and others were forced to say that the war was legitimate.

It is not enough for Bush and Blair to admit their mistakes and, definitely, neither is their apology, which has not been issued yet. It will not bring back victims, alleviate the ordeal of their families or reconstruct the country.

The information we have is enough to refer Bush and Blair to the International War Crimes Tribunal to decide whether they had lied or merely erred. I have heard that British MP George Galloway has recently called for such a trial. I then thought of changing my mind because Galloway is too extreme in his views for me to agree with him. He was definitely wrong when he said that killing Blair was justified, as nothing justifies killing.

Bush now has two years and a few months left in his term of office. He may prefer to return to his Texas ranch to practice fishing, as he has said that his best moment since taking office was when he caught a big fish there. Meanwhile, Blair, who is smarter, as I have mentioned, has chosen to use his speech at Georgetown University as an opportunity to talk about reforming the UN, the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). His comments were seen by many observers as indicating that he may be aspiring for the UN presidency. Before Blair, Paul Wolfowitz was appointed President of the WB as a reward for leading the cabal of the war on Iraq. Some members of the gang went unpunished, while others moved to different posts. For example, John Bolton ended up becoming an ambassador to the UN despite the Senate. Only Lewis Libby has been indicted by a jury.

The whole cabal must stand trial, especially Vice President Dick Cheney, who may be betrayed by Libby, his former office manager, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Again, I cite one of their officials: Gen. John Batiste, who had served in Iraq, accused Rumsfeld of causing "unnecessary deaths" among US soldiers by committing "strategic blunders of enormous magnitude".

I hope they will all be tried. Even if a qualified court acquits any of them before trial, voters in the two countries have already realized that they were deceived. I know, however, that Bush and Blair's political careers have come to an end. Recent public opinion surveys have shown the deterioration of either's popularity at home. Voters say they have indeed lost all confidence in them, which means that whatever their reaction, it would be considered another lie or trick. The countdown for their departure is ongoing. Link

db: **This article references the video 'Hidden Massacre' - you can watch it here