The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 13th January 2006

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by Daphne Liddle

FORMER SAS commander General Sir Michael Rose last week called for Tony Blair to be impeached over the war in Iraq, saying that Blair should not be allowed “to walk away” from the crime of taking Britain to war on a false premise.

The general, who commanded the United Nations forces in Bosnia in 1994, said: “The impeachment of Mr Blair is now something I believe must happen if we are to rekindle interest in the democratic process in this country once again.”

 In a press interview he began by saying that unity in action between a government and its army, behind a common cause, was essential for winning a war. He added that military commanders will inevitably most cautious about using force “for they understand better than most the consequences of engaging in war”.

 General Rose said that although in a democracy military commanders must remain subordinate to the elected government, “they have a duty to point out when political strategies are flawed or inadequately resourced”.

 He emphasises that soldiers who are asked to sacrifice their lives must be assured that “the war is just, legal and the last resort available”.

Rose accused Blair of failing ever to give a clear justification for the war – “the intelligence he presented was always embarrassingly patchy and inconsistent”.

 “What is more,” he added, “his unequivocal statement to the House of Commons that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that could be used within 45 minutes was made without being properly validated – for it was decided in Washington and London to launch the invasion of Iraq early, on the basis of the flimsy evidence available.

 “This was done without asking the United Nations weapons inspectors who were actually on the ground in Iraq to investigate this allegation.

 “Ultimately, as the inspectors suspected and as we all now know, it turned out that there were no such weapons. Britain had been led into war on false pretences. It was a war that was to unleash untold suffering on the Iraqi people and cause grave damage to the West’s prospects in the wider war against global terror.”

 Blair convinced Parliament to back the war on the false information about weapons of mass destruction and an imminent threat that Saddam could and would deploy them within 45 minutes.

 Blair now says it does not matter that the information about WMD proved false because the war has deposed a tyrant. But MPs would never have supported the war if they believed that its reason was a regime change.

Blair himself in 2003 had insisted that regime change was not nor could ever be a reason for going to war.

 The real reason for the war was to secure control of Iraq’s vast oil supplies for Washington and the giant American oil companies.

But even from their point of view, the war has been a total disaster, thank to the continued resistance of the Iraqi people.

 There have been a number of efforts to bring Blair to account for one of the worst political decisions in British history.

  One Plaid Cymru MP 18 months ago did start a process to impeach Blair over the decision to join Bush’s illegal war against Iraq. It was a long-shot and did not get enough parliamentary support to happen.
field away

There have been many calls for a full inquiry into the reasons for the war. But Blair has managed to field these away by granting first of all an inquiry into the issue only of the WMDs.

 When that led to the death of Government weapons expert Dr Kelly, there was another inquiry into that.

 Blair carefully chose the people who conducted these inquiries. They last many months and were very expensive but they did not ask the most important questions.

 At the end of this process, all who had hoped Blair would be brought to book were disappointed.

 There are new calls now for another proper inquiry. Last month an all-party group of MPs tabled a motion calling for an inquiry into the war. The group included former Tory Cabinet Minister Douglas Hogg and acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

 But Blair was beginning to think he had got away with it until General Sir Michael Rose spoke up. He represents that part of the ruling class that has suffered because of the rapacious adventurism of Bush and his neo-Con henchmen. They will never go away until Blair is brought to account – and then they will go after Bush.


A matter of respect

  TONY BLAIR last week launched his new Respect action plan in the so-called war against anti-social behaviour. It’s yet another propaganda assault on the working class “undeserving poor” and their failure to share his middle class values.

There are to be more anti-social behaviour orders, where mainly young people are accused, tried, found guilty, stigmatised and threatened with imprisonment without any recourse to a judicial process, standards of proof or a legal defence. Already we have seen Asbos imposed on autistic children and others with mental and physical health problems – criminalised because of their illnesses.

 Working class parents also come in for some serious threats from “parenting orders” and fines to eviction. Most working class parents are working flat out to do the best they can for their children in difficult circumstances. A combination of growing debt and long working hours prevent many from being able to give their children the essential adult time and attention they need more than anything else.

 Some parents do struggle to cope with the behaviour of their children. But the reality is that when they ask the state for help, nine times out of 10 underfunding of social services means there is no help available until it is too late – and then they are blamed for the ensuing crisis.

 More provision for those who ask for help is needed and more social provision for the care of children – affordable youth clubs with activities like drama, music, dance and sports would give children the message that society values them and is prepared to give them time and attention.

 Recent research by John Moores University showed that praising good behaviour is far more effective in achieving good discipline than criticising bad behaviour. How about more recognition and reward for good behaviour among young people?

 What message do we give children when the only way to get our attention is to behave badly?


A lack of Respect

RESPECT MP George Galloway last week made a catastrophic political mistake in taking part in the Celebrity Big Brother programme on Channel Four. His declared aim was “to bring political debate to wider audience” of young people who are out of touch with political issues. But the programme makers have gagged him. Every political word he utters is edited or bleeped out.

It has to be so. Broadcasting standards authorities do not allow the expression of political opinions in programmes unless they are “completely balanced” with a right of reply for all mainstream viewpoints. Programme makers cannot achieve this except in designated discussion programmes, documentaries and well-signposted satires.

 This is why in dramas and soap operas no character ever expresses an opinion on any current major news topic or takes part in any political activity. This has led to a generation of young people who have grown up thinking that getting involved in politics is not quite normal.

 George Galloway is experienced enough to know that no aspect of the bourgeois state can be used against the system. He has made a fool of himself and played into the hands of those who want to discredit his campaign against the war on Iraq.

 Just a few months ago his political stature was miles high after he publicly berated the US Senate Committee over the war on Iraq. Now he has undermined his own credibility by mistaking a programme chiefly about sleaze and voyeurism for a political platform.

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