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Re: Put the Foreign Office on trial ! (fwd)




>But at the same time we must remember that
>the primary one at fault for all the problems of the Iraqi people is not
>the British Government.  Our airstrikes have killed a small number of
>people.  The Iraqi Government has attacked its own people with chemical
>and biological weapons.  So who is primarily to blame?  It is Saddam
>Hussein.  And the last thing we need right now is people like you who are
>prepared to be apologists for him and those who did his dirty work by
>attacking our Foreign Office.

A sensitivity to scale and a well-founded scepticism of the human rights
record of British governments (both home and abroad) do not amount to a
defence of Saddam Hussein. I assume anyone on this list would have the
intelligence to discern as much. Your comical indignation echoes the party
line George Robertson has been hawking (& getting away with) recently.

I think 'we' perhaps bear more than a degree of responsibility for the past
and present 'suffering of the people of Iraq' (as if any of us on this list
had any intimacy with the terror behind that tired phrase). If, as you
indicate, you wish to apportion culpability, how do you interpret Western
sustenance of Saddam during the period of his worst excesses? I won't repeat
the sorry litany now (you can get it from me off-list if you want).

Instead I'll make it easy for you.

'We' helped impose Saddam and the right wing Baathists on the Iraqi people.
We observed, with a nod and a wink, his use of 'weapons of mass destruction'
during the war with Iran, which we enabled (over 1 million people died). We
initially sought to present Halabja as the work of the Iranians (& when this
failed would brook none but the most meagre condemnation of it). We have
consistently failed to countenance a serious democratic, non-CIA anti Saddam
opposition. We (not for the first time) encouraged a popular rebellion in
March 1991 & then abandoned it, leaving the betrayed to be murdered by
Saddam.

I make no reference to the 1990/91 war, the Kurds,airstrikes or the
calamitous effects of sanctions.

Are you still unequivocal about the present balance of responsibility?

Your proprietorial concern for the literal fabric of government is all the
more affecting for its clear sincerity, as is your apparent belief the the
FCO exists to prosecute the cause of civil rights worldwide. I hate to
disappoint you but, having spent some time in the Civil Service, I can tell
you that the latter is not the priority or even the case.

As some well-intended graffiti (opposite my old college in Oxford, although
I'm sure Cambridge varieties exist if you look harder) proclaims, 'Life is
Not an Essay.'



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