Monday, August 07, 2006

Blair's Wars

Who to blame in this nightmare? The Israelis? Perhaps. But who enables the Israeli economy to function? Who 'sells' them weapons (actually since US 'aid' is actually almost all spent on US weaponry, in effect Israel gets the weapons for free)? And those with whom the Israelis discuss their foreign policy, and without whose 'green light' there would BE no foreign policy?

This is why calls for a boycott of Israel is so pointless and beside the point. So what if a boycott begins? The Israeli economy is so tightly bound up with the US economy (in a way the South African economy wasn't) that an financial shortfall can easily be made up by the US.

Which brings us (by a slightly circuitous route) to little Tony Blair. What role does he play in all these actions of Empire?

'Israel's assault on Lebanon is, in many respects, as disastrous as the war in Iraq. But at least then the pre-war hubris and deceit were played out in parliament and at the UN. This latest act of folly took place suddenly, with only the barest of attempts to justify it to global public opinion. And it stems from the core Middle East problem: the decades-old conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. I am told that the Israelis informed George W Bush in advance of their plans to "destroy" Hezbollah by bombing villages in southern Lebanon. The Americans duly informed the British. So Blair knew. This exposes as a fraud the debate of the past week about calling for a ceasefire. Indeed, one of the reasons why negotiations failed in Rome was British obduracy. This has been a case not of turning a blind eye and failing to halt the onslaught, but of providing active support. Blair, like Bush, had no intention of urging the Israelis to slow down their bombardment, believing somehow that this struggle was winnable. Israel has a right to self-defence, but it could have responded to the seizure of its soldiers, and to the rocket attacks, by the diplomatic route. That would have ensured greater sympathy. Now, growing numbers in Israel itself realise that military action will bring no long-term solution.'

Certainly true. But it will have consequences, which will not be good for Britain, the US, Israel, Lebanon or the Middle East as whole.

Incidentally: 'A record of conflict: the death toll from wars Britain has fought under Tony Blair: 71, 617 deaths in 9 years in power'. (note: this is the absolute minimum number: some estimates of fatalities from Iraq go far higher).


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