War criminals should not pass “go”

Tony Blair may believe that “anti-Americanism” is “madness” and the Iraq war is a noble struggle akin to the fight against the Nazis – who writes such hyperbolic and dishonest nonsense? – but the Iraqi people are struggling to cope with “liberation“:

More than 20% of Iraqis live in abject poverty despite the boost in government’s social security program, a report by the Ministry of Planning reveals.

The poverty level is bound to increase due to inefficiencies in the distribution of food rations which are credited for saving the country from starvation.

Facing tough armed resistance and political inaction, the government has proved much less efficient than the former regime which U.S. troops ousted three years ago in handing out food rations.

Iraqi families now get less food than before and certain essential items have gone missing from the food ration card.

Prices of staples like rice, sugar, flour and vegetable ghee are soaring. Iraqis without income find it extremely hard to make ends meet.

The government has expanded its social security program which now covers hundreds of thousands of families.

But welfare benefits are meagre and fall short of meeting basic needs. Under the new social security arrangements a poor family – one without support or income – gets an average of 80,000 dinars.

The sum is much bigger than what civil servants made under former leader Saddam Hussein. But prices have skyrocketed particularly of fuel, rent and other basic needs.

The Australian media has lost all critical faculties during the Blair visit, and their analysis has been typically fawning. It’s worth considering the words of a real journalist, the Guardian’s Richard Norton-Taylor, who recently suggested that the US/UK alliance “has become nothing but one-way traffic”:

A senior British military commander in the invasion of Iraq said the other day that Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, should be tried for war crimes. He was speaking in private and, I assume, did not mean to be taken literally. But there was no mistaking the anger in his voice.

Is it in Britain’s national interest to be so closely allied to a US that takes Britain for granted, to an administration that sets up Guantanamo Bay – where the treatment of prisoners led a high-court judge to remark that “America’s idea of what is torture is not the same as ours and does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations”?

This is the path that Australia is following. Once again, the media is content being ciphers for state terror. Blair was told that Iraq would descend into chaos, and yet he talks about “favouring freedom.” He is as contemptible as Milosevic, though his hands are far bloodier.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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