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You would think there would be some limit. You would think that, deep down, an individual would know, or feel, or sense that their actions were so disgustingly outrageous that they should just stop. But no such limit exists. Would that it did, and would that it might spare us the upsurge of bile induced by such moments.
On May 12th 1996 a particularly chilling one arrived. Asked, ludicrously, by a CBS news reporter if the death of half a million Iraqi children was ‘worth’ the apparent damage to Saddam Hussein’s infrastructure, and so – they said – to his capacity to build a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, Madeleine Albright replied: ‘we think the price is worth it’. It was the kind of depraved statement that makes you ashamed for your whole species.
Tony Blair’s September 24th 2002 Iraq dossier, quite aside from its false claims of 45 minute WMD attacks, somewhat complicated Albright’s foul rambling. Robert Fisk accurately noted the true magnitude of its claim that Saddam had managed to stockpile WMDs:
“Now we were being told – if Blair was telling the truth – that the price was not worth it. The purchase bought with the lives of hundreds of thousands of children was not worth a dime. For the Blair dossier was telling us that, despite sanctions, Saddam was able to go on building weapons of mass destruction.”
After ten years of murderous sanctions, after eight years of annihilating the people of Iraq, after presiding over the deaths over a million Iraqis and Afghans, Tony Blair was appointed peace envoy to the Middle East within hours of leaving political office. Imagine, just for a moment, that Stalin had stepped down as leader of the Soviet Union in 1950 and immediately been appointed peace envoy to Eastern Europe; Blair’s 2007 appointment would rival, if not surpass, such a disgrace.
It continues to this day. On June 8th 2011 The Guardian reported that Mr. Blair was calling for a ‘wider plan for the Middle East’. Announcing his support for a NATO removal of Muammar Gaddafi, Blair recommended that Western governments issue a ‘change or be changed’ warning to Middle East leaders (leaders that, he neglects to mention, have been propped up by Western governments for the last 40 years). There was one particularly vile phrase that our wonderful peace envoy employed: ‘we need to have an active policy, be players and not spectators sitting in the stands, applauding or condemning as we watch’. Mr. Blair’s phrase makes sense only under the presupposition that ‘we’ are in charge of the world. He entirely neglects the crucial question, which is what the people of the Middle East actually want.
It is for the people of the Middle East, who deserve the right to be masters of their own destiny, to decide what they want, and overwhelmingly that is not Western ‘intervention’. Is there anything more depraved than the fact that Tony Blair is giving advice on how to bring peace to the Middle East?
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/giuseppenicoloro/