When it comes to starting a diplomatic crisis or a war, truth is never an option.
In spite of being treated with kid gloves by the media, the governments in Washington, London and Canberra are suffering from major credibility deficits.
A parliamentary report into the ‘hostage’ crisis some months back has conceded Craig Murray’s point that the maritime map published by the Ministry of Defence was actually confected from thin air – that between the ears of defence ministers. The report says that the map could be regarded as “deliberately misleading”, that there is no certainty in the coordinates given by the British government, and that the government was lucky that Iran didn’t contest it. There hasn’t been much time, given the very rapid lurches by the Brown government, to reflect on the extraordinary mendacity of the regime we’ve recently ousted. The Blair era might well have been known for nothing much more exciting than sell-outs and sleaze had it not been clear early on that the priggish lawyer in charge was also a fervent imperialist. From the first bombing of Baghdad in 1998, the usual spate of very British lies and hypocrisy were augmented by a blood-curdling moralism drawn directly from Cold War B-Movies.
And as the policies became more outrageous, the deceptions became more egregious, never reaching such a ridiculous height as during the summer of death in Lebanon. And so, by the time the troops were siezed in the Gulf, hardly anyone could believe a word the government said. And they still didn’t get it: they confidently expected that if they pressed the old buttons, brought out the flags and the imperial bunting, and issued resolute messages via The Sun and the usual scum press, they would galvanise a mass of support against the Mad Mullahs. It must have been a shock to discover that people were more willing to believe the Iranian government than the British one. From start to finish, the farrago showed what a dwindled figure the former Prime Minister cut, what a petty crook he had become in the eyes of most. Most Americans would be happy to see Cheney impeached, and quite a few would like to see the same happen to Bush. I believe that most Britons would probably be content to see Blair hanged. Either by the Mahdi army, or on the end of stockings with an orange in his mouth after a failed erotic asphyxia transaction, it makes no difference.