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[casi] Is Tony Blair crazy, or just plain stupid?

THE TORONTO SUN, March 16, 2003

Is Tony Blair crazy, or just plain stupid?

By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor

Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, proposed a "compromise" last week to
the deadlocked UN Security Council: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq should
go on TV and admit he had weapons of mass destruction and had committed
other transgressions.

Blair's offer, reeking of mock sincerity, was clearly crafted to dampen
a storm of Labour party criticism over his sycophantic support of President
George Bush's impending crusade against the Saracens of Iraq. But it was an
offer Iraq was certain to reject, thus ending diplomacy and opening the way
to war.

Small wonder the French call Britain "perfidious Albion." Blair's demarche
was high hypocrisy, even by Downing Street's usual standard. Why doesn't
insufferably sanctimonious Blair go on TV and explain why Britain still
retains nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in sizable quantities?
they to stop a cross-channel invasion by France or the Vikings?

Perhaps Blair could discuss Winston Churchill's plan to use poison gas
against any German landing in World War II. More to the point, Blair should
explain why Britain and the U.S. supplied Iraq with germ warfare agents and
many of its chemical arms during the 1980s (confirmed in U.S. Senate
hearings). Or why British government technicians, discovered by this writer
in Baghdad in 1990, were producing anthrax and Q-fever germ weapons for

Instead of harping on Iraq's brutality, Blair might discuss Britain's
savaging of Ireland, brutal colonial conquest of almost half the known
world, the addiction of millions of Chinese to British-grown opium, and
crimes in India, Africa and Burma. And admit that some of today's worst
political problems - Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, India vs. Pakistan - are due
to British imperialism.

Blair may well owe a political debt to the financiers and press barons who
launched his meteoric political career and badly want this war.

But plunging Britons into an unjust, unnecessary war to please these
neo-imperialists is intolerable.

The only other explanation - that Blair is doing all this out of conviction
- is even more frightening.

Bad enough born-again George Bush apparently believes he is commanded by
to go to war.

That his chief advisers on the Mideast seem to want to recreate biblical

That many of Bush's core fundamentalist supporters believe this war will
hasten the conversion of Jews to Christianity and bring the world's end
through Armageddon.

Blair is too intelligent to swallow such claptrap.

Every Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction site" claimed by British and U.S.
intelligence has thus far turned out, when inspected by the UN, to be

If Blair still believes these clearly debunked claims, he needs help. The
CIA and MI-6 still claim they know Iraq is still hiding stores of nerve
So then, why not give the locations to UN inspectors?

Iraq's feeble, 150-km range al-Samoud missiles might have exceeded their
permitted range by an inconsequential 10-15 km. Big deal. They are being
destroyed. Worry instead about North Korea's new Taepodong-II missile,
the CIA says can deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States.

Unbelievably, Iraq-obsessed Bush dismisses menacing North Korea as only a
"regional problem."

Saddam's notorious "Winnebagos of death" - germ-making trucks - turned out,
on inspection, to be mobile food testing labs. Last week's U.S. and
British-promoted canard, Iraq's "drones of death," were three rickety model
airplanes unworthy of World War I, rather than dispensers of germs, as the
Pentagon claimed. Only one had managed to fly - all of two miles.

Iraq's only true potential weapon of mass destruction, VX nerve gas,
an open question. But Iraq lacks any offensive capability to deliver VX.

Its sole use is as a defensive battlefield weapon, CIA Director George

Iraq's most important defector, Gen Hussein Kamel, who headed its
projects, stated he personally supervised destruction of all of Iraq's
gas in 1991, a fact not mentioned by the White House.

Other experts say any germ or gas weapons held by Iraq have by now
deteriorated through age into inertness. As for Bush's charge Saddam might
give such weapons to anti-American groups, why didn't he do so from 1990 to
2003, when the U.S. was daily bombing Iraq and trying to overthrow his
regime? Because he's not suicidal.

Unable to locate Iraq's U.S./British-supplied weapons, unable to link Iraq
to Osama bin Laden, Bush and Blair shifted gears. They now claim Iraq's
suffering people must be "liberated." But why weren't they liberated when
Saddam committed his worst rights violations during the 1980s, when Iraq
a U.S./British ally? And what about the startling revelation by the former
CIA Iraq desk chief that the gassing death of 5,000 Kurds at Halabja; an
event endlessly reiterated by Bush - may have been accidentally caused by
Iran, not Iraq?

As fast as one lie is exposed, more pop up. The U.S./British propaganda
machine is relentless. For Bush, the war against Iraq will conveniently be
both his re-election campaign and culmination of biblical prophesy. For the
far more worldly British leader, all we can say is Blair, your pants are on

What next in this laughable, pre-war propaganda circus? Will Iraqis be
accused of smoking indoors or hiding lethal nail clippers?

Eric can be reached by e-mail at

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