14 Jan 2010

Ask Blair questions on war

It is right that Blair should face questions regarding taking us to war - please join me in putting pressure on the Chair of the Inquiry to make sure Blair faces a real grilling.

Photo: Pic of nightime sledgers in Randwick!

You can ask your question at: www.38degrees.org.uk/ask-blair-tough-questions

Terrorism was the justification for war, but even if this was the reason war cannot stop terrorism - war itself breeds more rage and hate. We can see it clearly. War is no substitute for getting at the roots of terrorism. My question was about why other avenues were not fully explored before resorting to war. As regular blog readers will know I have long called for Blair to be put on trial for war crimes - see for example here.

In truth the US and Britain turned to war because to deal with fundamentals rather than symptoms would require radical changes in policy. I was sent recently Tony Blair's 'good reasons' to invade that make you think about who are we talking about;
- a country has weapons of mass destruction
- has invaded another country
- has oil reserves to provide the necessary finance

- has a leader associated with 100,000 deaths

- a leader supported by a minority of his people and surrounded by a tight-knit band of cronies

Nato demo

Meanwhile on Thursday 28 January the leaders of the NATO occupation of Afghanistan are coming to Central London for a conference organised by Gordon Brown to discuss the next steps in their war effort. President Karzai, Hilary Clinton, President Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are among those expected to attend. Stop the War, of which the Green party is a signatory, are organising a protest and have issued the following statement on the conference:

The situation for the warmongers is deteriorating sharply. Last year was by far the worst since the invasion in 2001 for the invading forces, with 108 British soldiers and 319 US troops losing their lives in a war with no purpose. The number of Afghan civilians killed in 2009 also rose dramatically, with the UN giving a figure of well over 2000, which is undoubtedly an under-estimate of the total, as many deaths go unreported.

Gordon Brown claims NATO is committed to a stable and secure Afghanistan, but the war has only increased the suffering of ordinary people in the world's second poorest country. This is the environment in which the Taliban continue to grown in strength -- with even the commander of the NATO forces admitting they control much of the country.
The Taliban infiltration of the Afghan army -- which according to Obama and Brown is the long term key to winning the war -- was highlighted at the end of 2009, when five British soldiers and seven CIA operatives were killed in separate incidents by Taliban supporters serving in the army.

The western backed Karzai government -- already discredited by the farcical presidential "election" -- is in utter disarray, following the rejection of Karzai's new cabinet by the Afghan parliament. This has made a mockery of Gordon Brown's slogan for the conference on 28 January: "Afghan leadership, international partnership".
We are told the purpose of the ever mounting death toll is to counter the danger of terrorism. But it is clear that far from combating terrorism , the 'war on terror' has created more enemies for the west and al-Qaeda has spread across the Middle East to Somalia, Yemen and beyond. The one place it isn't, is in Afghanistan, where the US government admits there are less than 100 al-Qaeda operatives.

The leaders gathering on 28 January have only one response to the catastrophe their war has created. More war. With his latest troop surge Obama has doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan since he became president. As ever - and despite a majority of the British public calling for the troops to be withdrawn -- our government follows slavishly wherever US foreign policy takes it, and Brown has increased Britain's deployment to over 9500.

It is essential that we make clear on 28 January that these war policies are opposed by the majority of people in virtually every NATO country. Instead of discussing an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, Brown's international conference should be planning to bring all the troops home.

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