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New Labour, New Bombs


Tariq Ali

As

the future ripens in the past, so the past rots in the present. American leaders

have long been used to treating the cracked British vase as a pisspot, but

Attlee and Wilson, while dutifully kissing ass in the White House, did, at

least, attempt to restrict and restrain the United States, albeit with little

success. Blair and Cook and the rest of this dreadful gang seem to be only too

delighted with any new opportunity to bark their support for the imperial

war-monger in the White House, bombing Baghdad to show his toughness to electors

at home and recalcitrants abroad. Blair’s argument that the new bombing was

necessary to protect the lives of British pilots is incredible.

What

the hell are these pilots doing in Iraq in the first place? Why have they been

bombing Iraq for the last ten years? Over the last two years alone, the USA and

Britain have dropped over 400 tons of bombs and missiles on Iraq. Blair has been

raining down deadly explosives at a rate twenty times greater than Major. No

other country in Europe supports this fire-storm. The bombardment of Iraq has

now lasted longer than the US invasion of Vietnam. Blair , Cook and the entire

Government are so used to the stench of their own hypocrisy that they can

justify anything. No doubt Lord Macdonald will soon be telling viewers that the

bombing raids were necessary to defend the democratic rights of the

military-industrial complex to maximise profits, without which nothing can work

and, therefore, if we want a better system of privatised transport in Britain we

must understand the bombs are necessary. The brazen opportunism of New Labour

culture appears to be reflected in the Labour Party as a whole and has affected

its capacity to think critically.

The

orthodox casuistry among loyal columnists and courtiers is to justify

inconvenient realities—–Israeli possession of nuclear weapons and colonial

brutalities inflicted on the Palestinians, Turkish oppression of the Kurds, the

clerical dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, etc. —— with a breathtaking cynicism.

Thus Blair’s Personal Assistant for Foreign Affairs, ex-diplomat Robert Cooper

writes on P.42 of ‘The Post-Modern State and the World Order’ that: ‘We need to

get used to the idea of double standards.’ He also informs us casually that ‘the

reasons for fighting the Gulf War were not that Iraq had violate the norms of

international behaviour’, but the need for the West to keep a tight grip on

‘vital oil supplies.’

Together

with the bombing, the sanctions regime kept in place by Clinton and Blair ands

now Bush and Blair, has cost the lives of, taking the lowest estimate, 300,000

children. As the jets take off again for yet anothere bombing raid on the

shattered and famished remnants of a Third World Country, why is the Labour

Party so silent. A country mobilised for war by shameless demagogy can in a more

disillusioned mood become vulnerable to other and more consistent demagogues.

Dissent that refuses to be a spectator, but insists on wedging itself into the

forbidden zones of modern politics is vital as a physic for any functioning

democracy. Dissent in Britain has become atomised. It reflects a hostility to

all traditional politics and is confined to single-issues related to the

environmental and animal rights. Most of these deserve support and yet something

was missing. I wonder whether those who were extremely upset a few years ago by

the cramped living conditions in which calves were shipped to slaughter-houses

in France ever spared a thought for the number of children who died in Iraq from

malnutrition and lack of medicine as a direct result of the inhuman sanctions

policy imposed by Washington and London. Time to wake-up folks.

 

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