Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/609/8741
Prosecute the war criminal Blair
Tony Blair: war criminal! That would be the outcome of any genuine inquiry into the Iraq war. Tony Blair took us to war in Iraq on the basis of a lie. Now, despite the government's attempts to prevent any public investigation, Liar Blair has been called to give evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war.
The government has spent more than a billion pounds on the war. 179 British soldiers have died. No one knows exactly how many Iraqis have died - US general Tommy Franks famously said: "We do not do body counts". There are estimates that between 95,158 and 103,819 Iraqi civilians have been killed.
Still, seven years after the invasion, the majority of the Iraqi population do not have reliable electricity and water supplies. Two million Iraqis are refugees outside their country, while 2.8 million are displaced within Iraq.
Iraq is a tragedy on an epic scale. But it is more than that. It is also a crime.
Thirty million people worldwide marched against the war. The majority of the British population opposed the war. Blair had no 'mandate'.
We knew that George Bush and Tony Blair were determined to invade Iraq no matter what. The supposed 'fact' of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, ready to be launched in 45 minutes, was a lie.
Tony Blair and the hand of death - from a cartoon by Alan Hardman
We knew that the government's report was "sexed up" to sell the case for war. Weapons inspector Dr David Kelly, who leaked the doubts about the "dodgy dossier" to the BBC, was found dead. It has been announced that the evidence around his suspicious death is to be kept secret for 70 years!
And more - the war was illegal according to international law. It needed a second United Nations resolution, which never happened. Tony Blair's legal advisers - up before the Chilcot Inquiry this week - told him that the war would be illegal. One even resigned, writing that "unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression". Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general at the time, changed his mind at the eleventh hour to say the war was legal - after he was leant on by Blair.
This inquiry is a sham. The inquiry team is drawn from the most obsequious servants of the ruling elite. Sir Chilcot himself is described as "an old-fashioned English eccentric".
One of his team, Sir Lawrence Freedman, has been an adviser to Blair on Iraqi society, and another, Baroness Prashar of Runnymede, has barely said a word throughout the inquiry and is reported to have trouble understanding the evidence.
Blair - Pinocchio. Cartoon by Alan Hardman
Government ministers have at least been exposed before the public to some extent. Gordon Brown will have to give evidence regarding his own involvement before the general election.
But the idea that Blair will be called to account by this charade is nonsense. He makes millions of pounds, swanning around the world giving pious speeches, and doesn't care about mass opinion, legalities, or even the truth - he says: "I would still have thought it right"!
Socialist Party members will take part in the protests when Blair gives his evidence, alongside bereaved Iraqi and British families and others.
But Blair and all his warmongering cronies in the Labour government will only really be called to account by a movement of workers and young people.
Punishing all the war-supporting main parties at the polls by voting where possible for the new Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will be a good start.
In The Socialist 27 January 2010:
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
Workplace Feature: IT workers in mini strike wave