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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

That Hammering Sound

Michael Youlton • 10 October 2004

There are days when you watch the news, you swallow hard the terrible bile of disgust and you try to get on with your life. And there are days when a hammering sound nearly splits your eardrums. Impossible to avoid. Yesterday was such a day. I watch the England v Wales match, trying not to think of Bigley and suddenly the thousands among the 55,000 plus ‘English’ fans boo and boo and boo the Welsh national anthem. Not a comment from the expert commentators – not a sound! And then, in silence, the same 55,000 ‘pay their respect’ to the executed Liverpoodlian. And in those 60 seconds of eerie quiet there is the hammering sound in my eardrums. Is it perhaps the echo of the final nails being pounded into the coffin of the Bush Administration's and Blair’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Is it the shame of the ‘New’ Labour Party telling the Queen to honour Blair’s National Security and Intelligence advisors on Iraq?

Last Wednesday, the CIA's Iraq Survey Group, headed by Charles Duelfer, released a 918 page report that once and for all concluded that Saddam Hussein's government destroyed its remaining military WMD stockpiles immediately after the Gulf War in 1991 -- and the last of it following UN weapons inspections in 1996.

The White House is spinning the Duelfer report madly while there is not even a sound from London. Spin aside, there is not even a shred of evidence at all that Saddam and his top aides even discussed the weapons programs after the mid '90s -- nearly a full decade before the United States and Britain launched a preemptive war based on disarming those weapons.

The weapons simply didn't exist, and it's important to not let the record of what the Bush and Blair were claiming go down the memory hole. There was, according to the Duelfer report, no attempt to smuggle uranium from Niger. There was also no attempt to pass weaponry on to Al-Qaeda. The ‘civilised and democratic west’ went to war because, we were told, there was a "grave and growing danger" to our security posed by these weapons -- a threat so imminent and dire that it could not even wait for the few additional weeks needed for U.N. weapons inspectors to do their job. The inspectors, remember, were already in Iraq, and were being given open access to all of Iraq's defenses -- far more access, for example, than the U.S. or Britain would ever permit an international body to have. In retrospect, it looks like the ‘Coalition of the Believers’ launched its war to preempt those inspections -- to stop them before they could conclusively say, as the CIA now has, that Saddam was telling the truth. And here is the hammering sound again, as the Sunday Times today, in a two-page spread tries to explicate why Saddam was “incapable of telling the truth”!! Richard Woods and Nick Rufford in pp. 16-17 argue that “Saddam had no WMD but would not admit it”!!! He, according to the two hacks, apparently, bluffed us and fooled us. Great!

Bush and Blair, on the other hand, were certainly not telling the truth. They, and their cronies, were pressurising their respective intelligence agencies to cook up scare stories about an Iraqi threat -- and doing so, as John Kerry keeps pointing out, in place of the very real and very different type of threat posed by Al-Qaeda. And here goes Claire Short telling us now that Bin Laden’s struggle is “just”!!

Methinks here that there is no legal justification for attacking a country, or a region, or a community, or a person that has never attacked you except for the belief that such an attack is imminent. Other reasons may sound good, but war, and violence, legally speaking, must be a last resort -- not something undertaken just because it sounds good.

Tens of thousands of people of all nationalities have died in a senseless war for exactly that reason -- because it sounded good. What's worse, the war is now enmeshed, as Powell and Bremner recently stated, in a steady downward spiral compounded by the Bush Administration's and Blair’s refusal to recognize that things aren't going well. We'd be a lot better off if Bush and Blairite company could admit reality -- starting with something they've never really done. They could admit, once and for all, that they were wrong about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. That they were wrong in their decision to go to war.

All that leaves is the question of whether they knew they were wrong at the time they were making all those extravagant claims. In the end, it probably doesn't matter. The war is still a vicious and horrible mess, and Iraqis and Americans and British and Poles and Turks and Italians and Israelis and Palestinians and ‘innocents’ like Kenneth Bigley are going to continue to die, in ever-increasing numbers. Whether deposing a cruel dictator like Saddam in this way was a good idea is still open to debate – depending on your standpoint. But on the topic of the matter that justified the war, the debate is now over. Finished.

And the hammering sound goes on. As Dick Cheney and Fox News and Sky News and the Sunday Times and the Sunday World continue to lie. The last one in today’s edition in its front page in huge typefaces arguing that “This trash should be put behind bars”. No, not the Iraqui opposition – no. The reference is to one of the protagonists of the Dunsink travellers engaged in peaceful direct action against the County Council – while shedding crocodile tears for “poor Mr. Bigley”. And a certain Susan Philips, a former Wicklow County councillor, in an article in last Wednesday’s Irish Times, lauding the “visionary” Bush.

Hammer/bang/hammer/boom. Impossible to avoid – impossible to make it stop! Not even after celebrating the Greens’ humiliation of Barthez, Henry and Co. in Paris. No escape.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

12 October 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

George Harrison: An Appreciation
Sandy Boyer

Derrida, doctrinaires, debate
Seaghán Ó Murchú

That Hammering Sound
Michael Youlton

Truth Hurts
Mick Hall

Left Nationalism In Euskal Herria
Anthony McIntyre


The Letters page has been updated.

9 October 2004

Death of George Harrison
Ruairi O Bradaigh, National Irish Freedom Committee and Brian Mór

Can't Deal, Won't Deal
Anthony McIntyre

Update - Youth Suicide Prevention Project
J. Terry Ryan

Father Mc Manus on Ron Lauder, David Trimble, the Orange Order, and Catholic anti-Semitism
Father Sean Mc Manus

Say it in Breac'n English (Part Four)
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Some Inconvenient Facts
Patrick Hurley

Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Irish Question
Liam O Ruairc

The Gates of Hell
Elana Golden

After the Venezuela Referendum
Toni Solo

One for the Road
Brian Mór



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