Systems of governance that are seized by a tiny cabal become mafia states. The early years—Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the United States—are marked by promises that the pillage will benefit everyone. The later years—George W. Bush and Barack Obama—are marked by declarations that things are getting better even though they are getting worse. The final years—Donald Trump—see the lunatic trolls, hedge fund parasites, con artists, conspiracy theorists and criminals drop all pretense and carry out an orgy of looting and corruption.
As events are unfolding there may soon be no more wriggle room for all those involved in the lies and cover ups. Their Nuremberg may yet await. It is owed to those who lost their lives for a pack of lies. For the people of Iraq it is a sacred accounting, a debt of ultimate honour and a woefully inadequate apology which might at least demand reparations.
On the basis of the evidence before Chilcot, there is little reason to doubt that the Blair government misrepresented the intelligence to parliament and to the British public in order to make the case for an illegal war in which 179 British soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died.
‘The War You Don’t See’ (2011) is a powerful and timely investigation into the media’s role in war, tracing the history of ’embedded’ and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan and disaster in Iraq.
The Colin Powell memorandum in preparation for the Crawford summit of April 2002 (yes, that Powell, who has undertaken some considered Pilate handwashing ever since), was more damning than most. It outlined what the British role behind justifying an imminent war with shoddy grounds would look like.
Latest Blair revelations should serve as an urgent warning to MPs, especially Labour MPs, who are contemplating voting for war in Syria.