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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 December 2009

Chilcot inquiry: Put the warmongers on trial!

PUBLIC ANGER at the blatant spin and lies used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq by those with blood on their hands - messrs Blair and Brown - has resulted in the Chilcot Inquiry.

Matt Dobson

But the idea put forward by Gordon Brown that this inquiry will provide a full and objective account of the New Labour government's actions in the run up to the war in 2003 is questionable.

Although some evidence presented has confirmed what the anti-war movement has always believed - that Bush and Blair deliberately concocted evidence of WMDs to justify the war - the Brown government has an agreement with the inquiry to withhold any evidence that it does not want to be published.

Those appointed to conduct the inquiry range from speech writers who justified Blair's "humanitarian war" in Kosovo; to the head of the inquiry, top mandarin Sir John Chilcot - who sat on the previous two farcical Iraq war inquiries and was criticised, even by establishment figures, for his "soft" questioning.

Moreover, the limited focus of this inquiry with the media attention around the "legality" of the war will ignore many important issues.

Details of the indiscriminate bombardment and brutal military offensive inflicted on Iraqi civilians during the invasion and occupation are still emerging. For example, the chemical bombardment of Fallujah in 2004 which continues to cause widespread birth defects.

But will the voices of those who have suffered be heard at this inquiry? Will we hear testimony from ordinary Iraqi civilians? No!

Chilcot himself has stated that "no blame" will be placed on the politicians, top civil servants and diplomats who took the decision to go to war. Those testifying will not even be obliged to answer questions under oath as they have done in other public inquiries.

Iraq legacy

That the political establishment in Britain and the US have no interest in conducting an honest inquiry into the war is not surprising, given its legacy. Iraq is a fractured country with a wrecked economy and simmering sectarian and ethnic tensions that threaten to engulf society in violence.

George Bush and Tony Blair's war, supported by the Tories and the rest of the political establishment in Britain, is the cause of this.

When the allied occupation - "Operation Iraqi Freedom" - began, Iraq was thrown into chaos. Widespread looting broke out and millions of Iraqis were cut off from electricity and water supplies. But the main priority for the occupying forces was not to prevent Iraq's social collapse but to secure oil fields and ministries.

US and UK multinationals immediately began a lucrative contract carve-up of the Iraqi oil industry, and the supplies of arms and military equipment - the least priority being rebuilding the shattered infrastructure and supplying the Iraqi people with essential services.

For the US capitalist class "regime change" in Iraq meant unchallenged control and profits from an abundant oil supply.

Oil wasn't the only reason for going to war. The war was part of a wider agenda of strengthening US imperialism's prestige - a message to third world leaders and imperialist rivals that any opposition to US hegemony would not be tolerated.

This inquiry will be used as a PR tool by the political establishment to attempt to appear to be listening to the public, particularly those directly affected, such as military families.

But in the eyes of millions who opposed the Iraq war and continue oppose the war in Afghanistan, they are guilty and should be tried as war criminals.

We need 'regime change' of the rotten political establishment in Britain, who conducted the war on behalf of big business and imperialism, by building a mass socialist opposition.

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In The Socialist 2 December 2009:

Climate change 'gigantic market failure'

Copenhagen climate change talks

Socialist Party NHS campaign

National Health Service: Patient safety not private profit

Youth fight for jobs

Youth march for jobs: "A fantastic experience"

Credit crunch

Dubai's house of sand crumbles

War and occupation

Chilcot inquiry: Put the warmongers on trial!

Socialist Party news and analysis

Fast news

Yorkshire strikes - the lessons

BA management get tough

Fighting university cuts

Fighting council cuts in Greenwich

Stoke Axiom action continues

Defend the Four!

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Rally to oppose racist EDL

How mass campaigning closed BNP HQ

International socialist news and analysis

Irish Republic: Huge public sector workers' strike against cutbacks

Indonesia: Eyewitness report from Tamil refugee boat

Socialist Party election campaign

Politics 'illegal' in Lewisham council

Help give a socialist answer to cuts and privatisation

Marxist analysis: history

Liverpool council's budget 'black hole': Establishment parties only offer swingeing cuts


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