From London daily The Morning Star:
Counting the costs
(Sunday 18 March 2007)
IT is no longer possible for Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cronies to argue or, given the subject matter, perhaps plead would be a more appropriate term, that the Iraq war was an unpremeditated act arising out of the intransigence of the government of Saddam Hussein, rather than a premeditated act of international piracy to gain control of Iraq’s natural resources.
Figures which have just emerged prove premeditation conclusively, given that £847 million was spent on the Iraq adventure in the year leading up to the invasion that Mr Blair characterises as a last desperate option the stop Iraq raining (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction on the world.
Despite all the diplomatic wrangling in the UN and the categoric statements that war was not inevitable, the military still spent £34 million on manpower, £218 million on equipment and £170 million on supplies in the year 2002-03.
That figure alone, in any decent system of international law, should ensure that Mr Blair and his fellow criminals eventually face a war crimes tribunal to pay the price – but don’t hold your breath.
And the total cost of the war has continued to grow.
From £1.3 billion in the year immediately following the invasion, the cost has been added to by between £850 million and £1 billion each year.
The total cost is expected to hit £5 billion this month and the coming year will add yet another £1 billion to that shameful total.
Quite what that means in terms of rises in the state pension which have been foregone, in new hospitals and schools, only the Chancellor can really say, but it is sufficient the niggardly increases in the state pension would have been startlingly different had an extra billion pounds a year been applied to supporting the elderly rather than murdering innocent Iraqis.
But the cost of the war has not only been financial.
The breathtaking assessment of Australian academic Dr Gideon Polya that over one million Iraqis have died following the invasion – and that is only deaths directly attributable to the invasion – is an horrific one and one that can only be accepted, given the authority of his sources.
The consciences of the new Labour warmongers, however, appear to be rather more ironclad than the equipment that they supply to British troops fighting abroad, since not one voice of sorrow or apology has been raised at that dire figure.
Indeed, given that the imperialist countries are only now getting round to apologies for slavery, Mr Blair will have been long consigned to his grave by the time anyone in government utters a word about this inconceivable mass murder.
But no apologies in the world will assuage the grief of 60-year-old Eddie Hancock who, following the death of his son Jamie, has just become the latest in a long line of parents to denounce Mr Blair as a liar who has betrayed the armed forces and has called upon him to withdraw the British troops immediately from Iraq.
There can only be one acceptable apology to Mr Hancock and the Labour Party has it in its hands to give it.
That is, if it ever works up the courage to purge itself of the Cabinet-level war criminals in its ranks.
See also here.
New York Times and Iraq war: here.
Chinese artist against Iraq war: here.
Arianna Huffington on US neo-conservatives about Iraq in 2003 and now: here.
Also on this, by Marty Kaplan: here.