Monday 17 March 2003

Is Tony Blair crazy, or just plain stupid?

by Eric Margolis

Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, proposed a "compromise" last week to the deadlocked UN Security Council: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq should go on TV and admit he had weapons of mass destruction and had committed other transgressions.

Blair's offer, reeking of mock sincerity, was clearly crafted to dampen down a storm of Labour party criticism over his sycophantic support of President George Bush's impending crusade against the Saracens of Iraq. But it was an offer Iraq was certain to reject, thus ending diplomacy and opening the way to war.

Small wonder the French call Britain "perfidious Albion." Blair's demarche was high hypocrisy, even by Downing Street's usual standard. Why doesn't the insufferably sanctimonious Blair go on TV and explain why Britain still retains nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in sizable quantities? Are they to stop a cross-channel invasion by France or the Vikings?

Perhaps Blair could discuss Winston Churchill's plan to use poison gas against any German landing in World War II. More to the point, Blair should explain why Britain and the U.S. supplied Iraq with germ warfare agents and many of its chemical arms during the 1980s (confirmed in U.S. Senate hearings). Or why British government technicians, discovered by this writer in Baghdad in 1990, were producing anthrax and Q-fever germ weapons for Iraq?

Instead of harping on Iraq's brutality, Blair might discuss Britain's savaging of Ireland, brutal colonial conquest of almost half the known world, the addiction of millions of Chinese to British-grown opium, and crimes in India, Africa and Burma. And admit that some of today's worst political problems - Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, India vs. Pakistan - are due to British imperialism.

Blair may well owe a political debt to the financiers and press barons who launched his meteoric political career and badly want this war.

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