The kaleidoscopic arguments of Bush and Blair

The arguments for attacking Iraq change colour so frequently, they look like a rainbow

President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, the main protagonists behind the illegal act of butchery in Iraq which shocked world public opinion, are forced to call for independent inquiries into the intelligence which they presented as fact, an action which proves that they made a grave mistake in not listening to the UNO.

Ten thousand civilians are dead, sixteen thousand are mutilated for life and countless others are homeless, jobless or destitute. The civilian infrastructures were deliberately chosen as military targets and were attack with such savagery that today, many basic and essential services are not functioning, which is creating more innocent human victims.

President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have a lot to answer for. They flagrantly disrespected international law, they turned their back on the UNO, which they were bound to consult, they disregarded the UN Charter and their armed forces broke the Geneva Convention, not once, but systematically.

Now, they look and speak like two men who are beginning to have sleepless nights. Had they listened to world public opinion, voiced by Moscow, Paris, Berlin, Peking, Brasilia and countless other centres of civilization, they would be sitting in the centre of, and very much part of, the international community as the world confronts international terrorism as a single family.

Instead, they stand outside, in the cold, having locked themselves outside through their blind arrogance, refusal to listen and carrot-and-stick methods of diplomacy, vividly present in their arguments on the need to attack Iraq.

The first phase of the argument was that Iraq had WMD, they knew where it was, and had photographic evidence of it, presented to the UN Security Council by a convincing Colin Powell. This "evidence" turned out to be a tissue of lies, supposition and documents lifted from the Net, complete with spelling errors.

The UNMOVIC teams, we were told, did not find the WMD but that did not matter, because Washington knew where it was.

When the invasion began, and continued, and finished, and WMD was not found, we were told that the Iraqis were driving the weapons systems around "in vehicles" in the desert (Colin Powell again). Then we were told it was hidden.

Meanwhile, the main British expert on WMD, Dr. David Kelly, committed suicide. The CIA's chief weapons inspector, David Kay, issued a report last weekend, in which he, too concluded there were no WMD.

Now President Bush and prime Minister Blair dutifully call for independent inquiries into how the intelligence reports were drawn up. How convenient. Now they can pass the responsibility for the war lock, stock and barrel onto their intelligence agencies, having written as narrow a remit as possible for the investigators to explore.

In the Hutton Report, it was not whether the UK should have gone to war nor indeed about WMD. It was the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. avid Kelly and whether the government was at fault.

If the remit for the current enquiries can be made vague enough, they might investigate something along the lines of how possible it would be, in theory, for terrorists to obtain WMD and whether there would be justification for a pre-emptive strike.

The argument would then change again. Having said that WMD existed and they knew where it was, then that they knew it existed but was hidden, now it will be that there was in fact no WMD but that Saddam Hussein would have developed it because he had WMD programmes.

The goalposts shift with every step of the game. Trying to justify an illegal war because of what might have happened in future is the same as taking part in a lynch mob and setting fire to a passer-by in the street just because someone points at him and accuses him of being a witch.

President Bush and Prime Minister Blair should not behave like certain residents of backward rural zones in southern Africa. Unfortunately, they behave even worse. Why should they get away with the worst act of mass murder and war crimes in recent history?



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey