Global Opposition to War Criminal Blair’s Knighthood

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Waseem Shehzad

Jumada' al-Akhirah 29, 1443 2022-02-01

News & Analysis

by Waseem Shehzad (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 12, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1443)

That the British monarchy could even think of conferring knighthood on Tony Blair in the new year’s list of honours boggles the mind. By universal consensus, Blair is a war criminal and should be put on trial for having committed crimes against humanity. He should not be knighted. He played a major role in pushing for war against Iraq in 2002-2003.

On second thought, his knighthood should not come as a surprise at all. Western rulers, especially British, have perpetrated horrific crimes in many parts of the world.

The campaign to withdraw Blair’s knighthood was launched on change.org by actor Angus Scott. Soon after its launch, the petition garnered 1,035,000 signatures and was continuing to grow. “Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society,” wrote Scott on the petition’s page.

“He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone, he should be held accountable for war crimes. Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen,” Scott wrote.

Labour MP Richard Burgon on January 7 tweeted criticism of the knighthood, contrasting it with the treatment of imprisoned campaigner Julian Assange. “It says a lot about what is wrong with our system when, after being one of the leading architects of the Iraq war, Tony Blair is honoured with a knighthood while Julian Assange, who exposed war crimes in Iraq, faces extradition to the USA and a lifetime in prison,” wrote Burgon.

British hypocrisy, however, knows no bounds. Winston Churchill, lauded as a great war-time prime minister, had come with such ‘fine credentials’ as using poison gas against Kurdish tribes in Iraq in 1921. He topped that off with the starvation of more than 4.3 million people in Bengal in 1943 in what came to be called the great Bengal famine. Readily available grain was shipped to Europe and the Bengalis were left to starve in what Churchill said was their own fault because they “breed like rabbits”.

Churchill was also knighted. He was an unabashed racist and bigot. His apologists try to justify his racism by advancing the excuse that it was acceptable at the time. Racism is never acceptable. Period.

Blair’s role in preparing the ground, together with George W. Bush, for war against Iraq and the exact details of the plot have recently come to light. In a secret memo, published for the first time by Middle East Eye, the conspiracy to invade Iraq was plotted between Blair and Bush on April 5-7, 2002 at the latter’s Crawford ranch in Texas. Written by David Manning, Blair’s chief foreign policy adviser, who accompanied him to Crawford, it was shared with a very small select group of people on a “need to know” basis.

The Bush-Blair duo discussed military preparations for war, the propaganda campaign to win public support for it and the trap to be set up for Iraqi dictator Saddam Husain so that he would be caught wrong-footed and thus provide justification for the war. We need to recall that the plan to invade Iraq was made soon after the attacks of 911. This is what General Wesley Clark, the former Nato commander, had revealed in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now in March 2007, following his visit to the Pentagon about 10 days after 911.

The US plan was to take down seven countries starting with Iraq and ending with Iran. Other countries on the US target list were Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon, Libya and Syria. Only Syria and Iran survived the criminal plot, thanks to the brilliant strategy devised by the Iranians led by the martyred General Qassem Soleimani.

Intrigue, deceit and lies, however, are staples of British diplomacy. From the division of the Middle East into small nation states to the implantation of the Zionist monstrosity on the land of Palestine are all part of British intrigue and duplicity. So is the on-going Kashmir dispute that has kept the subcontinent in a state of turmoil for more than seven decades.

Iraq, however, has been a special target of intrigue. Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in January 1990, then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had visited George Bush Sr. to stiffen his back. During that war, the US used depleted uranium shells that poisoned Iraq’s soil as well as water resulting in the birth of hundreds of thousands of deformed babies.

Leading up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was British propaganda that conjured up the image of the mushroom cloud over New York in 45 minutes, alleging that Iraq had a nuclear bomb as well as weapons of mass destruction. The war on Iraq was launched on a “pack of lies”, in the now-famous words of George Galloway.

No such weapons were found because none existed. But for the war-mongers, that did not matter. What mattered was to launch the war to destroy a Muslim country and cause millions of deaths through war and starvation. This was done to enrich the weapons manufacturers and other corporate thieves that rule America and their sidekicks in Britain.

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