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Why the Chilcot Report will be a whitewash watch

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    Firstly, nothing in the report will challenge the myth that state powers, including Britain and the United States, are humanitarian actors. This is a delusion subscribed to by the media and the general public but ironically is ridiculed by people in government.

    We illegally invaded and occupied Iraq to gain control of strategic resources such as oil. General John Abizaid, former commander of CENTCOM with responsibility for Iraq said, “of course it’s about oil, we can’t really deny that”, while Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said this in 2007:“ People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are.” To round it off, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan added in his 2007 book: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

    We knew that already, though. All that is necessary is to go back to the State Department's post-WWII planning, in which they stated that Gulf oil is "a stupendous source of strategic power and the greatest material prize in world history.” As Rob Newman pointed out, if you think about the criminal atrocities that the US backed in Guatemala after they overthrew the democratically elected leader there in 1954 just so that the United Fruit Company could get a hold of a few bananas, imagine what they'll be willing to do to secure the greatest prize in world history. (On that note, anyone who hasn't watched this should do so. It's a bit ranty, but that's the point: it's also funny, and sad).

    The report, no doubt, will talk about "mistakes" and "things we could have done differently". All of this ignores the fact that, because we weren't in Iraq for humanitarian reasons, things simply couldn't have gone differently.

    People often like to say that the initial invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein was good, but the aftermath - the occupation - was bad. This ignores the fact that they came as part of a package: we overthrew Saddam so that we could occupy the country, gain control of its resources, dismantle its state structure and privatise it.

    People often say the same about Libya: "it was the lack of post-war planning". As Hillary Clinton's emails have shown, Sarkozy of France spearheaded the Libyan intervention for a number of reasons, none of which were humanitarian:

    1) A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
    2) Increase French influence in North Africa,
    3) Improve his internal political situation in France,
    4) Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
    5) Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi's long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa
    In addition, the emails discuss Gadaffi's attempt to create a pan-African currency:

    This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French.franc (CFA).his quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion.

    French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.
    The report will also fail to look at the influence not only of our own interests when it came to making the decision to invade Iraq, but the interests of Israel.

    With Syria, our foreign policy has been somewhat confused because some key US and Israeli officials have been keen to sit back and allow the conflict to go on. If we had firmly wanted to support the rebels from the start, Israel could have mobilised its forces in the Golan Heights, which would have prompted no complaints from the international community, and this would have forced Assad's forces to shift, thereby helping the rebels.

    Alon Pinkas, the former Israeli Consul General in New York, put the Israeli strategy best: “This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win – we’ll settle for a tie,….Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.”

    This echoes the strategy laid out in the "Clean Break" document of 1996, authored by key US neoconservatives and Israeli officials, which discusses both Syria and Iraq: “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right – as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

    This describes the "skittles theory" of the Middle East, in which overthrowing one regime can lead to others falling too - all to serve American and Israeli interests, of course. After September 11th, Bush seemed to believe that this could occur. As General Wesley Clark informed us, in November 2001, the United States' military officials were "still on track for going against Iraq", but even this was being discussed as a wider five-year campaign to effect regime change in seven countries, "beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off Iran."

    The strategy in the "Clean Break" document, incidentally, goes back to at least 1982, in which an official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Oded Yinon, outlined what Israel's strategy in encouraging sectarian violence would have to be in the coming decades:

    Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon….

    Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.
    All in all, the report will ignore the fact the occupation was not intended to give power back to the Iraqi people: within the first six months of it, we had called off the national elections; as well as many local and provincial elections; cancelled the expected creation of a constituent assembly; and cancelled the elections for the drafters of the constitution. As would be expected, this caused more violence and more resentment. The resistance at first took the form of peaceful demonstrations - 100,000 protesters in Baghdad and 80,000 in Basra shouted "Yes, yes elections; no, no selections".

    Why did we cancel the elections? An influential poll published by the International Republican Institute, after the first six months, found that the majority of people would support a party and a government creating more government jobs, but less than 5% of people supported the creation of more private sector jobs. The Occupiers - us - took the opposite view.

    It was a project designed to gain power for us, and was thus doomed from the start. The Chilcot Report will, almost certainly, frame it as a "mistake". It was no mistake, just as the Vietnam War was no mistake.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...quiry-war-iraq
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    It won't be a whitewash, but it won't apportion blame like some people are expecting, either.

    It'll just be a long list of "should've done that differently", "that could have been better", "this didn't happen but should've", etc.

    The notion that anybody will be taken to The Hague for it is utterly fanciful.
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    Of course it is going to fail by your criteria, you are asking things of the report that were never part of its remit, especially with regards to another country's foreign policy.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    Of course it is going to fail by your criteria, you are asking things of the report that were never part of its remit, especially with regards to another country's foreign policy.
    I would have thought that our actual reasons for invading Iraq would have at least come up. I suppose the Americans are even more self-interested than us, so it could be argued that we just blindly followed them. But, Chilcot should then be criticising the British Government for not actually realising why the Americans and the Israelis wanted us to invade in the first place.

    As Jeremy Corbyn asked in his speech to the Labour Conference in 2003, why was a centre-left British party supporting the ultra-right-wing Project for a New American Century agenda?

    At best, Blair was so concerned about Labour's image of being "anti-American", a Stalinist term if there ever was one, that he subscribed to whatever Bush wanted. Goes to show where being obsessed with electability can lead one.*
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    At best, Blair was so concerned about Labour's image of being "anti-American", a Stalinist term if there ever was one, that he subscribed to whatever Bush wanted. Goes to show where being obsessed with electability can lead one.*
    Blair got carried away after Sierra Leone. He mistook the success there with success anywhere if it involved the military, assuming that everything would be similarly 'simple' and that the opposition would just lay down their arms.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    Blair got carried away after Sierra Leone. He mistook the success there with success anywhere if it involved the military, assuming that everything would be similarly 'simple' and that the opposition would just lay down their arms.
    Perhaps. I'm still not convinced, though, that Blair couldn't have been aware of the Americans' true intentions, and I'm doubtful that if he did know about them, he wouldn't have supported them (this is a man who has advised dictators on how to cover up massacres).
    *
    Maybe, as Chilcot says, he thought he could have more influence over the American government. Who knows, but I still think that, whether Blair was ignorant of, aware of but did not think important, or in active support of the real reasons the United States went into Iraq, the factors in mentioned in my original post should have been mentioned in Chilcot.

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    (Original post by viddy9)
    I would have thought that our actual reasons for invading Iraq would have at least come up. I suppose the Americans are even more self-interested than us, so it could be argued that we just blindly followed them. But, Chilcot should then be criticising the British Government for not actually realising why the Americans and the Israelis wanted us to invade in the first place.

    As Jeremy Corbyn asked in his speech to the Labour Conference in 2003, why was a centre-left British party supporting the ultra-right-wing Project for a New American Century agenda?

    At best, Blair was so concerned about Labour's image of being "anti-American", a Stalinist term if there ever was one, that he subscribed to whatever Bush wanted. Goes to show where being obsessed with electability can lead one.*

    I haven't read the report, (nor do I intend to given it's length....) but I imagine there will be something in there about the reasoning behind the war. We shall see in the coming days, otherwise I'll concede you a partial point on that.

    Still, now we've seen the summary at least I have to ask if a report claiming the UK planned to go to war before peaceful options had been exhausted, states intelligence was manipulated and overstated, points out massive failings in both logistical planning for the invasion and political post war planning and finally accuses the UK of undermining the United Nations is really a whitewash?

    I've been ambivalent about the Iraq war, seeing it in terms of a badly made case for a good goal (removing Saddam). I felt that the rise of ISIS and some of the other consequences were somewhat unpredictable and therefore not the fault of Blair and co. The report has changed my view of things.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    I felt that the rise of ISIS and some of the other consequences were somewhat unpredictable and therefore not the fault of Blair and co.
    To be honest, I think the rise of a group like ISIS was inevitable. If Saddam wasn't overthrown by America, he would have either been caught up in the Arab spring like Assad or possibly died of old age (he was already 69). Both of which would have opened Iraq up to instability. The 1991 uprising in Iraq showed that there was already much discontent in Iraq, and all that was needed to was the first sign of instability for Islamist influenced groups such as ISIS to take benefit of.

    I think the real failure was the failure to maintain stability in Iraq after the removal of Saddam.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    Still, now we've seen the summary at least I have to ask if a report claiming the UK planned to go to war before peaceful options had been exhausted, states intelligence was manipulated and overstated, points out massive failings in both logistical planning for the invasion and political post war planning and finally accuses the UK of undermining the United Nations is really a whitewash?
    I will concede that it wasn't a whitewash if it discusses the true reasons for the war at the very least on the part of the Americans, and at the very least criticises Blair for not acting on the knowledge, or not having knowledge, that the Americans were going to war to pursue their own interests and Israeli interests.

    I doubt it, though, because the view that Western governments are benevolent humanitarian actors must be preserved, as it has been after every failed war of aggression.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    To be honest, I think the rise of a group like ISIS was inevitable. If Saddam wasn't overthrown by America, he would have either been caught up in the Arab spring like Assad or possibly died of old age (he was already 69). Both of which would have opened Iraq up to instability. The 1991 uprising in Iraq showed that there was already much discontent in Iraq, and all that was needed to was the first sign of instability for Islamist influenced groups such as ISIS to take benefit of.

    I think the real failure was the failure to maintain stability in Iraq after the removal of Saddam.
    Many of the most prominent officials in ISIS were radicalised in the torture chambers of the Occupational Authority, and many homegrown terrorists were radicalised as a result of our aggression against Iraq. We can put forward post hoc rationalizations based on counterfactuals as Anthony Blair is attempting to do, or we can try to ensure that we do as much as possible not to increase risks of terrorism and not to go into unnecessary wars.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Many of the most prominent officials in ISIS were radicalised in the torture chambers of the Occupational Authority, and many homegrown terrorists were radicalised as a result of our aggression against Iraq. We can put forward post hoc rationalizations based on counterfactuals as Anthony Blair is attempting to do, or we can try to ensure that we do as much as possible not to increase risks of terrorism and not to go into unnecessary wars.
    And many others would have been radicalised in the torture chambers of Saddam. Either way, it seems inevitable to me that the current state (or fairly similar state) of Iraq would have come about. I can't see how things could have turned out better under Saddam.
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    And many others would have been radicalised in the torture chambers of Saddam. Either way, it seems inevitable to me that the current state (or fairly similar state) of Iraq would have come about. I can't see how things could have turned out better under Saddam.
    Agree ,I see many parallels with Yugoslavia. Do you ?I see ethnic and religious tensions being covered up by a failing militaristic regime.The only difference is Yugoslavia is what Iraq would be like without military intervention..
    I find the whole thing surrounding Tony Blair a tragedy because he did many good things for Africa.
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    I personally, find it disgraceful how Blair finally (publicly) accepts responsibility only now. The report has clarified everything we've known for the last ten years. To come out now and admit responsibility for the Iraq war and the subsequent of life on both sides is disgusting, it's an insult to every citizen up and down the UK. An enormous lack of integrity shown from politicians, it's no wonder why people want to take back the nation from the elite. (I voted remain).
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    (Original post by Ed Phelan)
    I personally, find it disgraceful how Blair finally (publicly) accepts responsibility only now.
    Except that's not really what he's done. He very publicly said that he'd do it again. Hardly contrition.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    Blair got carried away after Sierra Leone. He mistook the success there with success anywhere if it involved the military, assuming that everything would be similarly 'simple' and that the opposition would just lay down their arms.
    I'd also suggest that the intervention in Kosovo contributed to this.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    To be honest, I think the rise of a group like ISIS was inevitable. If Saddam wasn't overthrown by America, he would have either been caught up in the Arab spring like Assad or possibly died of old age (he was already 69). Both of which would have opened Iraq up to instability. The 1991 uprising in Iraq showed that there was already much discontent in Iraq, and all that was needed to was the first sign of instability for Islamist influenced groups such as ISIS to take benefit of.

    I think the real failure was the failure to maintain stability in Iraq after the removal of Saddam.
    Agreed. Plus I don't even want to think about what the place would have been like if one of his sons took over.

    (Original post by Kadak)
    Agree ,I see many parallels with Yugoslavia. Do you ?I see ethnic and religious tensions being covered up by a failing militaristic regime.The only difference is Yugoslavia is what Iraq would be like without military intervention..
    I find the whole thing surrounding Tony Blair a tragedy because he did many good things for Africa.
    Good points.
 
 
 
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