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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Last night's Doctor Who was fascinating if only for its political allegory - a British Prime Minister urging the World to focus its nuclear arsenal on imaginary weapons of mass destruction, and so close to a General Election as well - priceless!

As if on cue today's newspapers have focussed on Iraq, with the publication of government legal advice, cautioning that the invasion could be illegal. The leaked document appears to confirm for the first time that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, had serious reservations about the legality of the conflict, only to change his mind as British and US troops massed on the border of Iraq ready to invade.

With rumours that America and its British ally are now planning an attack on Iran, this is a crucial piece of evidence that will focus attention on the Prime Minister and the reasons he gave for going to war in the first place. It seems quite clear now that not only was that decision based on a false premise, as we have said all along, but that the Government was also advised that it could be illegal.

The Prime Minister's latest argument, that the war achieved its purpose of getting rid of an unelected dictator, does not stand up to scrutiny. That may have been the outcome, but it was never used as the reason for the war, nor does it have any moral authority. After all if it is our duty to go to war to dispose of unscrupulous dictators as Blair implies, then why have we not launched an invasion of Zimbabwe or North Korea? The fact is that international law is in place to stop powerful countries from unduly attacking others, no matter how obnoxious their regime and vice versa. If we flout that law then we are no better than them.

With great power comes responsibility. The judgement that the British people will be asked to make on 5th May is whether the British Prime Minister exerised his duties with responsibility and within the law. How this document will bear on the outcome of that election can only be guessed at, but the one thing that can be predicted is that with its publication, the war on Iraq will be the main subject of debate for the next few days.
The story that the USA plans to attack Iran in June is more than a rumour. These articles, all from sane and authoritative sources, make chilling reading:

Scott Ritter article (Al Jazeera, 30 March 2005)

Scott Ritter speech (18 February 2005)

Dan Plesch article (Open Democracy, 21 March 2005)

Seymour Hersch article (New Yorker, 24 January 2005)

If, having read these, you want to do something about it, support the Our World Our Say campaign, which aims to extract commitments from all the party leaders that they would not support a new war.
Britain would have "nothing whatever" to do with military action against Syria or Iran, the foreign secretary has said.

Jack Straw described Iran as "a completely different country and situation from Iraq".

"Iran is an emerging democracy and there would be no case whatsoever for taking any kind of action."

"We have had good cooperation from the Iranian government," he added (we have diplomatic relations with Iran, USA does not).
The problem is, Martyn, that since the lies and deceit purported by the Government about the "so-called" weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, nobody in their right mind is going to take these comments by Jack Straw with anything more than a simple pinch of salt.
See this article in Saturday's Guardian - "Lib Dems challenge Blair to spell out Iran plans".

Well done Ming!
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