Thursday 19 December 2002

Don't Mention The War

The whole country is obsessed by Cherie's silly property scandal, which is rather unfortunate given that her husband is blindly walking into a nuclear conflict that Ian Bell almost certainly doesn't understand

Trivial as it may seem after a week of comedy-drama chez Blair, I thought I should probably mention that the United States might be dropping a nuclear bomb or two sometime soon. Nothing serious, you understand -- neither the Prime Minister's wife nor the Daily Mail have been informed -- but America's aperitif to war on Iraq runs something like this: if Saddam happens to think of deploying one of the chemical weapons he might (or might not) happen to possess, the Pentagon promises faithfully to respond with one of the dinky new nukes it is dying, by pure coincidence, to test.

I have struggled to find the United Nations resolution that would sanction this behaviour, much as I have struggled to find the resolution that even justifies the threat, but the chances are I should know better. While the country is transfixed by faxes, fixers and fitness trainers, a genuine massacre is being prepared. Will it be just, legal, or rational? Who cares? The important thing is that Cherie is not a superwoman.

America is barking, so to speak, while Britain wags an obedient tail. The logic that sent UN inspectors into Iraq has been turned on its head. As of last week, chief inspector Hans Blix and his boys in blue no longer have to demonstrate that Saddam possesses weapons of mass destruction. Instead, Saddam has somehow to prove that he owns nothing of the sort. His 12,000-page personal report card has been appropriated by the Americans -- who have turned the UN into a wholly-owned subsidiary for the purpose -- and the very fact that it contains nothing incriminating is being treated as conclusively incriminating. Why trust a liar just because, at the point of a gun, he tells the truth?

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