By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu
Early this week, Tony B-Liar, former British Prime Minister, finally said sorry for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Not only that though, he also agreed that the illegal invasion of Iraq “could be partly responsible for the rise of ISLAMIC STATE (one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in recent history)”.
I am quoting from the British newspaper, DAILY MAIL, which this week carried a very elaborate report on the tepid apology that Tony B-Liar offered for the crime that he joined George W. Bush to commit in defiance of international law.
For 12 years, Tony B-Liar arrogantly refused to apologise that Iraq neither had weapons of mass destruction nor were those weapons primed and ready to attack Britain. These were the false grounds upon which he played out his despicable role as a poodle of the American president, George W. Bush, to carry out an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Tony B-Liar’s mea culpa came during an interview with the American anchor Fareed Zakaria, on CNN, broadcast early this week. Even the anchor used the opportunity to apologise for his own endorsement of the disgraceful invasion of Iraq, telling his viewers that he regrets his own initial support for the war.
Zakaria said he changed his mind after watching the post-war turmoil unfold as well as the emergence of the vicious and criminal terrorist group, Islamic State.
Major errors of judgment
It is significant that Tony B-Liar’s tepid apology was issued against the backdrop of the fact that Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the Iraq war was likely to soon issue a scathing criticism of his handling of the War. As DAILY MAIL argued: “His apology is bound to prompt claims that he is trying to head off the scathing criticism…
As a master of public relations and media manipulation, Blair may have calculated that since Chilcot is likely to accuse him of major errors of judgement, it is better for him to volunteer an apology now, rather than be forced to do so if, as seems certain Chilcot’s damning assessment gives him little choice.”
It seems clear that Tony B-Liar was making deliberate choices about even the location of his tepid apology. As the newspaper underlined: “The former Prime Minister’s decision to make his apology in the US, as opposed to the UK, is also significant”. Tony B-Liar, who Nigerian politicians fawn on during regularly paid visits to Nigeria, cannot even freely walk on London streets as result of the Iraq invasion! He had arrogantly stuck to his position, as the invasion and occupation of Iraq led to some of the most horrendous crimes in contemporary human history. Addressing the British House of Commons in 2004, B-Liar stated thus: “I will not apologise for the conflict. I believe it was right”. In a 2007 TV interview he said: “I don’t think we should be apologising at all for what we are doing in Iraq.
We should be immensely proud. I can’t take responsibility for people sending car bombs into a market place”. In a 2010 memoir, he said of Iraq, that: “It was a headline question. It had to have a headline answer. Answer ‘Yes’ and I knew the outcome: ‘Blair apologises for war’, ‘At last he says sorry’. I can’t say sorry in words. I can only hope to redeem something from the tragedy of death, in the actions of life, my life, that continues still’”.
For 12 years, this dangerous imperialist politician stuck to his incredibly inhumane position despite the evidence that all of humanity was presented with. Iraqis went through killings and suffering at levels unparalleled in recent human history because of decisions taken in Washington by George W. Bush and the Neo-Cons and backed by their poodle in London, Tony B-Liar.
This week, he made a volte-face. Asked if the decision to enter Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein had been a ‘mistake’, B-Liar replied: “…I apologise for the fact that the intelligence I received was wrong…the [chemical weapons] programme in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought.
So I can apologise for that. I can also apologise, by the way, for some of the mistakes in planning and certainly our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you had removed the regime”. In issuing these apologies, there was no feeling whatsoever for the pains inflicted on millions of Iraqis and the destruction wrought on their society. It is important to remember that before the 2003 invasion, there was the decade-long sanctions regime which systematically degraded Iraqi life and turned one of the most developed countries in the Middle East into a desperately poor country, run by the vicious Saddam Hussein dictatorship. Saddam Hussein was a “Son of a Bitch”, but he was a Western-backed “Son of a Bitch”! While it lasted, the sanctions regime led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children, which the former American Foreign Secretary, Madeline Albright, in the typically immoral tradition of imperialist politicians, described as worthy of the sanctions regime!
So when Fareed Zakaria asked Tony B-Liar whether the Iraq invasion was the ‘principal cause’ of the rise of ISIS, the liar answered thus: “I think there are elements of truth in that”. While Tony B-Liar in his CNN interview was “candidly” asking for forgiveness, according to DAILY MAIL newspaper, for not realising ‘what would happen once you removed the regime’, the same paper argued that his admission made “a mockery of the statement in the (Colin) Powell memo that Blair would ‘demonstrate [to Bush] that we have thought through ‘the day after’- a reference to the consequences of invasion [of Iraq]”. And as the same newspaper reminded: “the bloody chaos in the region continues to this day”.
Illegal invasion of Iraq: All those who have followed my writings since 2002/3, in DAILY TRUST and subsequently on this page from 2011, would have noticed that I have been very scathing in my criticism of Tony B-Liar and the criminal, illegal invasion of Iraq.
Those who are not very aware might look at Iraq and assume that it is so far away and should not be our business. But in truth, the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq is one of the most despicable imperialist crimes of the 21st Century.
The whole basis of the invasion was constructed upon a series of lies. Against the backdrop of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, President George W. Bush and the Neo-Conservatives issued a false narrative that somehow the criminal 9/11 attacks had something to do with Iraq.
Yet the majority of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia (one of America’s closest allies); these were Wahabist Salafists who had nothing in common with the Baathist dictatorship in Iraq.
Weapons of mass destruction
A dictatorship that was incidentally assisted to seize power in Iraq by the West and was also assisted to launch an unprovoked war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The second lie was that the same Iraq, defeated in the First Gulf War in 1990, and severely degraded as an aspirant power, possessed weapons of mass destruction. On the two counts, the aggressive imperialist invasion was a lie. But millions of Iraqis were killed, injured or displaced while the infrastructure of the country was bombed back into underdevelopment.
This was a follow up to the suffering visited upon the country during the UN sanctions that decimated thousands upon thousands of Iraqis, especially children. One of the crimes was directly related to the use of depleted uranium weapons and the appearance of deformed children, a phenomenon that they did not have in the country before the First Gulf War.
Emotional attachment to Iraq: At a personal level, I have felt a tremendous emotional attachment to Iraq and its people for a host of reasons. I travelled extensively in Iraq on the eve of the Anglo-American invasion and illegal occupation of 2003. I visited such places as Baghdad, Samara, Babylon, Najaf, Karbala, amongst others. Travelling in the country that is called the land of the two rivers [the Tigris and Euphrates], brought home to me, all that I had been taught from childhood about the fact that it was the country at the dawn of human civilization; the country that gave the world writing and some of the earliest human attempts at mastering nature. It is a country of truly remarkable peoples. I saw the elements of civilization from Nineveh; Prophet Abraham; the Islamic period of the Abbasids and the remarkable culture of the times of the Caliph Haroun Rashid; visited the tombs of Caliph Ali (Prophet Muhammad’s cousin); the resting places of Imam Abu Hannifa and the Quadariyya leader AbdulQadirGailani and the prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein and great-grandson, at Adhamiya in Baghdad. And there was the great book selling and buying center of Baghdad as well as the remarkable culture dating back to pre-history, which were kept in Iraqi museums.
Many of those museums were vandalised and robbed by the terribly uncultured Anglo-American soldiers in the aftermath of the invasion. A lot was destroyed as a result of that illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was an expression of imperialist arrogance and impunity at its most naked nastiness telling all of us from the post-colonial countries, the fate that we face whenever the imperialists powers believe that we are not living our lives at levels that satisfy their strategic interests.
If anyone feels that Iraq was some kind of aberration, the fate of Libya only underlined the distance they can cover. And just like Iraq, Libya has been dismantled and for us in Nigeria, the dismantling of Libya has led to the proliferation of weapons that have been used in conflicts in Mali, Sudan, Central Africa, Niger and in Nigeria with the Boko Haram insurgency.
Iraq is not really as far away as we might think. In the long run, imperialist politicians like Tony B-Liar, must have their day in court for crimes against humanity. The same fate must also befall George W. Bush, and such leading Neo-Cons like Dick Cheney and the cowardly Donald Rumsfeld, who escaped an assassination attempt by the skin of his teeth in Iraq. That is my hope.
These individuals have been responsible for some of the greatest crimes against humanity at the beginning of the 21st Century. The chaos in Iraq today and the emergence of the terrorist ISIS organisation are directly connected to the illegal Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Tony B-Liar’s tepid and hypocritical apology this week only scratches the surface. It does not go far enough. There must still be a full account for the criminal invasion of Iraq by George W. Bush, Tony B-Liar and their neo conservative accomplices.