By Owei Lakemfa
WAR mongers and leading candidates for the International War Crimes Tribunal, Tony Blair and George W. Bush were in Nigeria on February 20. The twosome have made ourÂ contemporary world far more insecure and turbulent thanÂ they met it.
Most of this they secured by playing on the fears of their powerful countries and leading them to unjust wars by use of deceit and subterfuge. It is these dishonourable men that met in Nigeria, desecrating the largest Black nation in the world.
Blair who became British Prime Minister on May 2, 1997 was once a star in the post Reagan and Thatcher dark skies of international politics. He was young, smart, alert, intelligent with an ability to listen. He was a sharp contrast to Mrs Margaret Thatcher who sawÂ liberation fighters like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Thambo and the African National Congress as terrorists.
Where the Thatcher and Ronald Reagan administrations were willing toÂ mine Nicaraguan civilian ports, arm terrorists and attack other countries, Blair, after the stop-gap government of John Major, came into power with a social conscience. With the rise of Bill Clinton, one of the brightest American presidents in history, there seemed to have been a perfect match; the world seemed to be in safe hands.
Unfortunately, aÂ Gorge W. Bush who lacked the intellectual endowment of Clinton and his social conscience came to power in 2001 America. Bush did not even know the difference between India and Nigeria and the continents they belong to.
His grasp of international politics was at zero level as was his understanding of social issues. But he loved oil money and power. Where Clintonâ€™s Vice, Al Gore had been a man with social conscience, Bushâ€™s Vice, Dick Cheney was a war monger.
Blair fell into bad company and has become so despised that when in 2009 the European Union was looking for a Foreign Minister and President, the Blair candidacy was dropped like hot potato; he had become an embarrassment to his peers.
A tragedy struck humanity on September 11, 2001 when terrorists hijacked commercial jets in America and deliberately crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Thousands of innocent people died and humanityâ€™s heart went out to the Americans and the victims of this monumental crime against the human race.
The Americans accused the Osama Bin Laden-led al Qaeda of the crime. The group had been forced out of Sudan to Afghanistan by Clinton, and America demanded that Afghanistan handed them over or be attacked.
But Bush and Blair had other plans; they decided to use the 9/11 attacks as pretence to overthrow the Sadam Hussein regime in Iraq.
Then British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Christopher Meyer revealed that one year before the attack on Iraq, Bush and Blair had signed a secret deal to topple Saddam. They made four major allegations against Iraq, all of which were false.
They claimed that Saddam was connected with the attack because he was the godfather of international terrorism. But even the British Defence Intelligence said this could not stick because whereas al QedaÂ had fundamental Islamic religious ideology, Saddamâ€™s regime was fiercely secular and al Qeda regarded Saddam and his team as infidels.
The second claim was that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) But nobody stated what these weapons actually were or if they existed in the first place.Â The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which conducted years of weapon inspection in Iraq came up with nothing and said so, but Bush and Blair insisted that Saddam must produce the non-existent weapons.
It was like insisting that a person who was not pregnant must deliver a child. At the February 25, 2003 debate inÂ the British parliament, a month before Iraqâ€™s invasion, Blair told the MPs: â€œEven now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully. I do not want war…But disarmament peacefully can only happen with Saddamâ€™s active co-operationâ€ He knew he was lying!
A third claim was that Saddam was trying to supply international terrorists nuclear arms by asking Niger Republic to supply significant amount of uranium. But the UNâ€™s IAEA said this was false and pointed out that the signature on the alleged document was that of a man who was a Nigerien minister 10 years before!
A fourth claim was made by Blair that British intelligence report revealed that Iraq was capable of launching a nuclear attack on British and European troops within forty five minutes.
But this turned out to be false as the intelligence officer who reported this had stated that this was the claim of a taxi driver he boarded his cab in Baghdad! British intelligence had wisely omitted this in the report but Blair had instructed that it be included â€œto sexâ€ up the report taken to parliament.
Millions of people took to the streets protesting the pretext for war. Robin Cook who was Foreign Secretary resigned on the basis that the war Blair was dragging Britain into was based on false pretences.
The Iraqi war has claimed between 1.2 and 1.3 million Iraqi lives, forced two million to flee their country with over two million others being internally displaced. Iraq with its ancient civilisation was ruined with schools, hospitals, factories and infrastructure destroyed by American and British troops who with their allies in the Bush â€œCoalition of the Willingâ€ used weapons of mass destruction.
General Sir Michael Ross, British born Commander of UN Peace Keeping Forces in Bosnia is campaigning that Blair and Bush should stand trial on charges of war crimes and violating international principles.
The Bush and Blair governments used phosphorus bombs, carried out civilian massacres, tortured prisoners of war, kidnapped citizens of various countries and generally made the world an unsafe place. Regrettably, it is these criminals that received a red carpet reception in my country.