Hard News: The war is still with us
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Bush and co in the US
Former US presidents are considered outside politics (they are mostly ineligible for further office) in a way that former British PMs are not.
Carol Stewart, in reply to
Maybe it’s because we expected better of Blair.
It'll be interesting to see whether the Chilcot report stirs up any soul searching in Australia. Neither the Howard government nor Kevin Rudd emerge from the quagmire with much credit.
Apparently it has: What was Australia's role in the Iraq war and should we have had an enquiry?
Nick Russell, in reply to
It’ll be interesting to see whether the Chilcot report stirs up any soul searching in Australia.
I wouldn’t bet on it. There’s an awful lot of denial going on in all quarters. The Tories in UK supported the war far more than the Labour Party did and the Tory press were rabidly in favour. You wouldn’t know that from reading the Daily Mail. They were happy to believe Blair then and they are just as happy to condemn him now.
I don’t recall who said it but there is a famous quote that all newspaper editorials ever do is bayonet the wounded after the shooting has stopped. I think that’s where we are on this now.
The question I have is will the findings of the Chilcot report lead to any country still involved in the middle eastern conflicts reassess their strategies for the area
Given the pretence for the original invasion was wrong, that justification wrong, the subsequent plan for post invasion Iraq inadequate... will anyone actually think, fuck maybe there's a better way to handle this clusterfuck that won't lead to ever more crazy insurgent groups and terrorist cells forming as a result of our actions... maybe there is a means to operate in the area that won't see us having to take back Fallujah by force again... a way that won't see us "training" the same people over and over again with no discernible success
Maybe their is a leader out there with the guts to say "we're doing this wrong"
Margaret Thatcher gained in power by invading the Falklands.
No doubt Blair believed that he would also gain.
2+2 does not always equal 4.
I first heard about Hard News because of the impending war. I asked a friend who was more net-savvy (read: had a lot more spare time on his hands) than I, if there was anyone writing anything that made sense about this debacle in this country, so pathetic was the mainstream media reporting. Hard News was high on his list of go-tos for sensible journalistic opinion on it. I think I pretty much gave up on MSM opinion pieces on that day. MSM is now something that I read/watch/listen to only for strictly factual detail – anything that is not a statement of something that actually happened is something I don’t even read/watch/listen to. It’s been extraordinary to find myself in MSM recently, since I barely partake of it myself. I find out about it from other people, and don’t feel that enthusiastic when I do. I still rate ten times higher than a media interview a simple engagement from a committed good faith commentator. In that discourse comes the soul of rational thought. In clips and soundbites comes the destruction of it.
So this site, with it’s long and consistent deconstruction of the predictable and disgusting intervention in the Middle East, has been a great thing, a rare thing, an important thing. In my opinion. From that backbone comes the many other cool things that it has built, the other interesting authors, a community with a soul.
I was there protesting when 15 million people protested against the US invasion of Iraq in a single coordinated demonstration of rejection. I felt how powerless we’d become in that way, and it was a very alarming feeling indeed. Organizing truly effective protest takes a lot more than that. I don’t know what the future of progressive movements is. The only hope I really have is that another thing that happened in the 10 years since, the move from fringe to outright dominance of Linux and Wikipedia in their respective spaces, has the seeds of the future of human organization and work in it.
If we must work for free, at least we could work on what is righteous. The vast bulk of people can’t afford to, but those who can, should. To that end, I applaud you, Russell, for working on at least keeping some of the record straight on Iraq. It's a huge job, your contributions a tiny piece of the global picture. But it still helps, it was still worthwhile, however little you got paid for any of it.
Rosemary McDonald, in reply to
David Kelly, possibly the first casualty of the war on the war on terror.
Deserves to be remembered here.
Tautoko, Ben, well said.
Alfie, in reply to
The Iraq war was primarily an American imposition on the Middle East. Blair was led into it by the fool Bush.
Excellent post Rob. I’d like to add a little about the American motivation behind the Iraq “war”. We know now that it never had anything to do with WMDs. That threat was dreamed up* by the Bush administration as a lowest common-denominator excuse, one that the media and the population would swallow. (*Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz – Vanity Fair interview.
Cheney, Rumsfelt and others had already used the shock of 9/11 to pursue their goal of opening up the US military machine to private companies. The "War on Terror" facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars from taxpayers to private corporations, a rort that continues in the US today.
The Bush neoconservatives were looking for a middle east country to become a “model” for capitalism, one whose economic transformation would serve as a catalyst to inspire other Arab-Muslim countries to join the democratic/neoliberal wave. In a post-9/11 world, Iraq fitted the bill. Apart from its vast oil reserves it provided a central location for military bases. And besides, Saddam’s use of chemical weapons on his own countrymen made him an easy target to hate.
The plan was to win the battle in a few days, then take advantage of a country in shock to privatise the Iraqi economy and open it up to American companies. While winning the war turned out to be more difficult than they’d anticipated, US multinationals including Halliburton, Gilead and Lockheed flocked to Iraq where there were billions to be made.
They installed Paul Bremner as governor (CEO) of Iraq. He took over Saddam’s palace where the US Defence Dept faxed him trade and investment laws which he signed and imposed as law on the Iraqi people. He lowered the corporate tax rate from 45% to a flat 15% and allowed foreign corporations to take 100% of their profits out of the country. The Economist described this as "the wish list that foreign investors and donor agencies dream of for developing markets."
Around $US73b went into rebuilding Iraq, but none of it went to state or local businesses. Nor did they employ locals. The US companies preferred to import their own labour with Halliburton employing 50,000 people in Iraq. They sacked 500,000 state workers, including doctors, teachers and engineers.
A group dominated by high level Mormons called the Research Triangle Institute was given $466m to bring “democracy to the country. They believed they could persuade Muslims to convert to Mormonism. That didn’t go well.
Bremner’s administration also took over $US20b of revenue from Iraq’s national oil company, much of which simply went missing. The war machine made a lot of Americans very wealthy.
This never was a justified invasion. There never were any WMDs. For Cheney & Co this was a giant free market experiment which history will judge as a miserable failure. As Rob said, Blair was taken for a fool, as were many other world leaders who participated in the coalition of the coerced.
Blair had the information to make a wiser decision but decided to suck up the US rhetoric instead. As the former British PM responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, he deserves to be tried as a war criminal.
Apologies for the lengthy rave.
AndrewH, in reply to
The Bush neoconservatives were looking for a middle east country to become a “model” for capitalism, one whose economic transformation would serve as a catalyst to inspire other Arab-Muslim countries to join the democratic/neoliberal wave.
Alfie, that is just plain bollocks. There was certainly a natural alignment between neocons and the profit-seeking Halliburton/Cheney that made the latter easy to co-opt, but as Karen Kwiatkowski http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0310-09.htm observed" target="_blank">https://web.archive.org/web/20140226163127/http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0310-09.htm observed first-hand from within the machine, the primary motivation was pure neocon ideology, which had bugger-all to do with profit.
Rich Lock, in reply to
For Cheney & Co this was a giant free market experiment which history will judge as a miserable failure.
Well, as you outline in your post, it seems to have succeeded admirably for a few individuals and organisations....
Is Farage a leftist or what? Some of his former speeches make me think, he is not quite the right wing nutter some want us to believe, he saw the issues with the west arming certain groups in the Middle East:
I am surprised the Brexit vote was not more profound, than it was, it is a disaster, just proof of an extension of European powers' imperialism of modern age not working for many.
Europe is screwed, only some left liberal urban dweller bureaucrats think it is a magic solution to all probs, same issues we have in NZ, a lost government and elite class that has lost ALL touch with reality of basic realities of most ordinary people.
The Wellington beltway will soon learn how out of touch they are, polls here and there, and parties living in their own bubbles, just endless BS.
It is the total cowardice of so called "western" liberals that is a hindrance to address the shit that goes on I am sorry.
Fuck Dallas, that shows us there is no unity, and heaps of divisions, I wish it wont be serious, but it looks bad.
in NZ, a lost government and elite class that has lost ALL touch with reality of basic realities
Who needs reality when some think your leader has "Charisma" Isnt that the name of a horse?
Tracy can interview her keyboard for as long as she wants she still doesnt understand much...
Lesson 1: Everyone, I'll say that again, Everyone will fuck up. Most of us fuck up and only one's self is affected. It depends on circumstance. When some one in a position of importance fucks up it affects a lot of people. But no matter ..Everyone will FUCK UP. There is no way you wont. Some will do it one, two, three times in their life. Some all the time. Tony et al fucked up. Now to make it worse, they wont admit to it. Way to make it worse guys....Now National & co are fucking up.. And wont fess up . Carry on.
Alfie, in reply to
Alfie, that is just plain bollocks. ... the primary motivation was pure neocon ideology, which had bugger-all to do with profit.
That's a rather strong line Andrew and I'm surprised that you can't see any link between pure neocon ideology and profit. Because to me, the two are inextricably linked.
The link you provided is broken -- I've fixed that. I'm not familiar with Kwiatkowski but note that she stood for the Republican Party in 2012 which might not make her the most strident critic of that party's policies.
While she backs up my comments on the entirely constructed WMD scenario and "Feith-Wolfowitz-Rumsfeld-Cheney's insanely grandiose vision of some future Middle East, with peace, love and democracy brought on through preemptive war and military occupation", nowhere on that page can I find Kwiatkowski claiming that Rumsfeld, Cheney and their mates didn't make obscene profits from the Iraq war. Perhaps you could assist by providing a quote?
Marc C, in reply to
Good to see You Tube finally catching on to what madness is still available via their service. One would have thought that certain stuff was no longer available, but they constantly seem to be busy with catch up game with the culprits.
Maybe we also need the NSA doing more cyber-security and surveillance, after all?
So I am sorry, but the western people in comfy comfort need to learn what really goes on in the world, this is you risking your own credibility and rights to exist as democratic countries if you do not act, take up refugees and ignore all else, you do this at your own peril, the war will sooner or later come to haunt you, so there you go.
Marc C, in reply to
This is what Nazis called a Himmelfahrts Commando, a suicide commando, there we go, idle and soft western media do not quite get it.
So WAR must be resisted, resisted and opposed full stop. I still believe most will not get it but the above should tell all, hey war is SHIT and must not be allowed, only if people across cultures take a stand will this be stopped, I fear most will not get it.
You know what's banned, Marc C? You.
I have asked you not to redistribute these videos here and you did it anyway.
To be honest, I won't miss your tendentious lectures.
nzlemming, in reply to
You know what's banned, Marc C? You.
Thank you, Russell. He certainly broke the Prime Directive - Don't Be A Dick.
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