Justification for War


Norman Baker’s book has been generating some questions. It is very encouraging to see that those using FIRE Project portals read the book reviews and take time to email questions and comments. As the FIRE Project is a volunteer-staffed operation, we have scarce volunteer time available for administration. As a result, we have limited the facilities on our portals for group discussion because of the amount of time required in removing spam and unacceptable offensive postings that have become so common on the Internet. At the present rate of emails, we may end up producing a David Kelly FAQ section but, in the meantime, we will attempt to post comment on BSD and Broadly Risks. For those who wish to email questions and comment, please send your emails to editors@broadlyboats.com where we will attempt to respond generically to groups of questions, researching as necessary and posting comment as below:

Norman Baker has included some of the theories for the justification of war, as they apply to his investigation of the very strange death of Doctor David Kelly. It is not an exhaustive list, but it is applicable to the primary question, which is whether David Kelly was killed, or died in some other way.

The main focus today is on the relationship between Bush and Blair, with an assumption that the Bush Administration is driven by so called neocons. That is a simplistic view of the situation.

The story really goes back into the Nineteenth Century when Americans were still committing genocide against the aboriginal tribes of North America and their black slaves were recently ‘liberated’. For a mixture of motives, some well-meaning and some deeply racist, a group of Americans hit on the idea of returning slaves to Africa. Liberia was a creation of this political and social concept. Black Americans were encouraged to ‘return’ to Africa, and that included those who had been born in America, knew nowhere else, and would have probably been happy to remain in the US, even without full and true emancipation.

From those roots developed the idea that Jews should have a homeland. Although this suffered from a difficulty to decide whether being Jewish was a racial type, or people supporting a common religion. A very long time ago, a group of people around the Black Sea, who were not genetically Semitic, converted to the Jewish religion. Over centuries the descendents of these people may have inter-married with Semitic people, but some probably did not, and there have been many non-Semitic converts over the centuries. Without extensive genetic testing, it is impossible to know how many people genetically originated from the ancient tribes of Israel. In one sense it is not in the least important, but in terms of claims on an historic homeland it means that some people are claiming a homeland that is not part of their history in direct lineage and in several respects similar to the claims of European Crusaders on The Holy Land.

What makes racism a farce is that humans are genetically very similar, where ever they come from, and groups have migrated so many times that any original groupings are long since lost. The result is that a person who takes a particular racist position might be in for a very sharp surprise when his or her DNA is checked.

One place considered for this new Jewish nation state was in East Africa, although Zionists were always interested in a return to Palestine, which they regarded as their natural and historic homeland. Although, genetically, Jews and Arabs have far greater similarity than some politicians may wish to acknowledge, there was a wealth of cultural and religious difference. As a result, any mass immigration of Jews to Palestine was bound to create terrible tensions in addition to the tensions naturally created when any aboriginal population is faced with an influx of immigrants. At best, it was only a marginally better idea than trying to dump Zionists in East Africa.

During the 1914-1918 War, the British allied themselves with the Arab tribes agains the Turks. That removed Turkish rule from the Middle East and it created a number of new nation states, for which Britain held a responsibility. From 1918, Zionists began to move into Palestine. Had there been no discovery of oil in the Middle East, history might have turned out very differently, but then it is also true that it would have been different without the 1939-1945 War.

This war created two situations that were guaranteed to provide the basis of lengthy and bitter conflict. One factor was the large amount of weapons, and other military equipment, that was sent out for the British, Germans and Italians as the North African Campaign flowed back and forth. A great deal of this equipment ended up in the hands of Zionists and Arabs. The second factor was the genocide perpetrated against the European Jews by the Germans. That created a combination of guilt, horror and fear that resulted in massive movement of European Jews to Palestine, the opening of terrorist warfare by Jews against the British in Palestine and the forced creation of the State of Israel. Europe has tended to side more with the Arab nations and the US has tended to side with the Israelis, although the situation has been further complicated by the development of the Cold War which has seen Russia and NATO competing to back particular groups, where the strategic value of Middle East oil has been the strongest motivation.

Taking in that context, the primary interest of the nations outside the Middle East is in the oil reserves located there.

Within the Arab world there are a complex series of tensions and motivations that include religious differences, tribal differences, and political differences. Many of those tensions are not adequately understood by countries outside the area.

Saddam Hussein was motivated to expand his personal power and wealth. This nationalist expansion was to result in a major and protracted war between Iraq and Iran, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The multi-national force that went into the Gulf in 1990 went in under a clear UN mandate and with the joint motives of restoring Kuwaiti independence and protecting oil reserves. Very wisely, the allied forces stopped at the Iraqi border having ejected the Iraqis from Kuwait. There was no mandate and no intent to effect regime change.

It is easy to write the Bush Administration off as a bunch of warmongering red necks, but it is not an accurate assessment.

Before the Bush Presidency, Clinton and Blair embarked on an invasion to effect regime change. It was aimed at supporting Al Qaeda and Albanian Muslim rebels against the Serbs. The justification was that the US and Britain would be protecting poor ethnic Albanians from Serb genocide. A propaganda campaign was launched, using selective intelligence and a great deal of spin. It created a modern precident for a war of aggression by large and powerful countries with the intent to effect a regime change. It also set the scene for the spinning of meagre and partial intelligence as though it was verified fact.

Blair and Bush therefore followed a precident set by Clinton and Blair. The US was always open in describing the objective as being regime change to protect oil reserves for Americans and Europeans. However, the UN does not accept regime change as a legitimate reason for invasion of a sovereign State by another. This led to the US and British Governments largely ignoring their intelligence services and State Departments in favour of taking more favourable comment from Iraqi rebels, and other sources, which was then used as the basis for a propaganda campaign in an attempt to justify invasion.

What was really unfortunate was that no one had thought what to do once the invasion had been successfully completed. The attempt to justify invasion on the groups of a supposed threat from Iraqi WMD meant that failure to find any implied a failure of mission. However, no one seriously believed that Iraq was about to launch World War Three with a massive stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons delivered by advanced long range missiles, or that Iraq was directly allied to Al Qaeda and responisble for the attacks on the US. Equally, those involved in intelligence gathering and analysis did not believe that Iraq was completely without such weapons and delivery systems. The popular belief within the intelligence community was that weapons inspections and sanctions had reduced Iraqi capability and what remained was scattered around the country in hiding places from which it would not be possible to bring the weapons rapidly to military forces for immediate use.

After the invasion, when Bush and Blair admitted a failure to find the weapons, and an attempt to rejustify the invasion as freeing a people from cruel repression, the intelligence community was generally of the opinion that some small weapons stocks might remain well-hidden but, in all probability, the surviving WMD capability had been moved to Syria and Iran. Huge stocks of conventional weapons were left unsecured by the invasion troops and were looted by the various Iraqi factions who then began a civil war. That demonstrated just how easy it would have been to move small stocks of WMD and documentation to Syria and Iraq.

Bush and Blair had put themselves and their countries in a very difficult position. The public justification for war was that Iraq posed a clear and present threat to its neighbours and to Europe with an intent to launch unprovoked war using weapons of mass destruction. Finding a few dispersed legacy stocks of WMD would have been even worse than finding nothing because it would have directly exposed the lie on which war was justified. Finding evidence that remaining stocks had been moved to Syria and Iran was equally unwelcome because it would have required new campaigns against these WMD threats at a time when Bush and Blair were discovering that there was no universal Iraqi resistence to Saddam and the Ba’ath Party and therefore no government in waiting who could be installed. The realization was dawning that all the previous intelligence advice was correct and Iraq was in immediate danger of becoming a new Balkans and Sunni and Shia Muslims were about to fight each other and the Kurds. This mean that the main achievement of the Anglo American military invasion force was in providing a focus for these warring groups against the invader. That suggested a total disaster if the invaders withdrew and the Iraqis had only each other to fight. Inevitably Syria and Iran would support rebel groups and Al Qaeda would greatfully seize the new opportunity to cause death and misery to civilians.

It is now clear that at least one faction in the Bush Administration saw Iraq as the beachhead from which to launch a series of wars of reconstruction against neighbouring states and particularly against Iran and Syria. That approach required the early establishment of a quisling government in Baghdad, to free US forces for new actions in the neighbouring countries. Without that puppet government, the US did not have the resources to guard the camps in Iraq and strike out against new targets. That prospect became progressively more remote as US public opinion became less supportive of the Iraq adventure.

The growing mess, in which Dr David Kelly became trapped for no reason other than his honesty and integrity, created serious problems for people in several countries for similar and different reasons. Many of those people were not only frightened of the truth that he was assisting to emerge, but they were also sufficiently ruthless to think little of killing someone to remove an irritation.

The stakes were higher for Blair because he had signed up to the International War Crimes Tribunal system. That meant that he and his Government could be brought before the Tribunal as war criminals. Bush was more secure because the US had not signed up to the scheme. On the other hand, there were some very dark elements around Bush who had considerable financial motivation to silence critics of the invasion of Iraq. To that has to be added the very complex tensions of the Middle East. From that ferment comes a rich area for conspiracy theory.

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