Monday, September 21, 2015

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Those In Public Life Who Made The Catastrophic Decision To Support The Iraq War Have Prospered

Mick Hall sets out Craig Murray's critique of the decision to wage war on Iraq. Mick Hall is a Marxist blogger @ Organized Rage.
Hans Blix told Blair he was 99% sure no WMD

The former government insider and British diplomat Craig Murray recently pointed out while the Iraq war was opposed by the majority of the British people and is regarded today as a massive strategic blunder, if not a war crime by most of the population. The neo liberal elites who actually supported the war in 2003 have prospered, while those in public positions who opposed it have fared less well.

One would have thought given the momentous blunder of those in public life who supported the Iraq war, their careers would have withered and died on the vine, while those who had the courage of their convictions and put their careers on the line by opposing the war would have been advanced.

Sadly this it seems is not the case as Craig Murray points out. Today the refuseniks are absent from the upper echelons of government, the civil service, the security services, the military and the media, including the BBC:

It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population who were opposed to the war.

Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.

Murray then looks to those members of the Iraqocracy who prospered in the media:

The BBC was of course gutted following its revealing of the truth about Iraqi WMD, and the subsequent murder of David Kelly. Following the ousting of Greg Dyke, both Governors and Directors-Generals have been known supporters of the war. Of the 107 bureaucrats in the BBC who earn over 100,000 pounds pa, insiders estimate that only five were opponents of the war. Craig Oliver – who has now left the BBC for Cameron’s media operation – and James Purnell are absolutely typical of the BBC Iraqocracy.

Every current editor of a UK national newspaper supported the Iraq war. At the time of the war there was one editor opposed – Piers Morgan – who subsequently became a derided and marginalised figure. Not only are the editors firmly from the neo-con alliance, but the high profile commentators who cheered on the war – David Aaronovich, Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, John Rentoul, Rod Liddle etc. – have all seen their careers flourish. None has suffered from their appalling lack of judgement.

There is no similar raft of commentators who were against the war who enjoy such constant media promotion and massive salaries. Many, like Peter Oborne, have suffered unexpected career glitches. There is no head of a major TV channel in the UK who was against the war in Iraq.

He then turns to academia and the armed forces:

The theme runs through all the public professions. Of the hundreds of academics who took firm positions against the Iraq War, I cannot find a single example who went on to become a University Vice-Chancellor or Principal. By contrast actual war criminals Richard Dearlove and Valerie Amos were parachuted into academic leadership posts. The Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces were all true believers, compared to the massive scepticism that existed among senior officers.

The City of London is not exempt from the rise of the Iraqocracy:


The Iraq test even extends into the heads of institutions apparently quite unrelated, such as City of London banks and insurance companies. There are a tiny number of heads of FTSE 100 companies who were against the war.

Murray rightly links support for the Iraq war with support for Zionism, neo liberal economics, austerity, tax avoidance, privatisation of public services including the NHS by claiming the fingerprints of the Iraqocracy are over all of them:

It is not that there is an Iraq test. It is that Iraq is the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus. All these professionally successful people share a number of attitudes, of which support for the Iraq War is a good indicator. There is a very strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and fierce Zionism. But there is also a strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and support for austerity economics. The strongest correlation of all lies in support for the Iraq War and for “business-friendly” tolerance of corporatism, TTIP, multinational tax avoidance, low taxation and marketization of public services including in education and health.

To return to where I started, the quite extraordinary thing is that there is a near-universal recognition in wider society that the Iraq War was both completely unjustified and a dreadful strategic blunder. Yet its support is a major pre-condition for membership of the governing elite.

Which may explain why three out of the four candidates during the Channel Four LP leadership candidates debate claimed they have no doubt, no one involved in the decision to go to war over WMDs deliberately misled Parliament and the country at large.

One could almost hear the shuffling of feet when the forth candidate, Jeremy Corbyn pointed out before Parliament voted to support the war, Hans Blix had told Tony Blair and senior cabinet ministers he was 99% sure Saddam Hussein possessed no WMDs.

Even here if the 1% of doubt raised Blair's fears he should have paused the rush to war and allowed the weapons inspectors to finish their job. Instead he deliberately lied to parliament claiming Saddam had weapons of mass destruction which were a direct threat to the UK.

Craig Murray finishes with why the neo liberal consensus is threatened by Corbyn and the SNP:

The answer of course lies in its value as an indicator for a broad range of neo-liberal consensus attitudes. That is why both the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn provide such a threat to the Establishment, through denying those attitudes. The fascinating thing is that the SNP and the Labour Party could be the only public institutions in the UK of any note with an anti-Iraq War leadership. The significance is that, in slightly different ways, both the prominence of the SNP and of Jeremy Corbyn are the result of a public revolt which the Establishment has been trying, absolutely desperately, to cut off.

Ed Miliband did not actually vote against the Iraq War, contrary to popular myth. Having both the Labour and SNP parties led by people who reject the raft of values symbolised by the Iraq test, who have broken through the depleted uranium ceiling, is a massive, massive threat to the meritlessocracy. Institutional control appeared to be complete and impermeable. Suddenly they face the danger of the opinions of ordinary people carrying weight. Expect the media control mechanisms to whir into still greater overdrive.

Craig Murray's article was first published here

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