Archive for October 20th, 2007

In Other Words

From the translated transcript in the NYRB of Bush’s meeting with Aznar prior to the invasion of Iraq. PMA = Prime Minister Aznar; PB = President Bush.

PMA: In reality, the biggest success would be to win the game without firing a single shot while going into Baghdad.

PB: For me it would be the perfect solution. I don’t want the war. I know what wars are like. I know the destruction and the death that comes with them. I am the one who has to comfort the mothers and the widows of the dead. Of course, for us that would be the best solution. Besides, it would save us $50 billion.

This is a translation of a translation, so Bush’s words have a strangeness about them. Shorn of the ‘Yo Blair!’ style patter that might come across in his original words, The President of the United States here is revealed clearly as a lying, murderous narcissist. He doesn’t know what wars are like, because he was never in one (his father pulled strings to get him out of Vietnam), and so he doesn’t know the destruction and death that comes with them, either. He isn’t the one who has to comfort the mothers and the widows of the dead, because he can’t speak the language of most of the people whose deaths he ordered. But he trots out all this to justify his imperial war of aggression.

“The magic number was 30,” said Marc Garlasco, who was the Pentagon’s chief of high-value targeting at the start of the war. “That means that if you hit 30 as the anticipated number of civilians killed, the airstrike had to go to Rumsfeld or Bush personally to sign off.” If the expected number of civilian deaths was less than 30, however, neither the president nor the secretary of defense needed to know.

So, any strike killing up to 30 civilians was pre-approved by the President. After all, he is ‘the one who has to comfort the mothers and the widows of the dead’.

Last week or the week before Che Guevara was featured in a pile of articles. Those most critical of him focused on his reported ruthlessness and his willingness to kill cold-bloodedly for his cause. Even if the worst of the stories published about Guevara are completely true, they pale in comparison to the current US President. At least Guevara had the physical courage to get a gun and fight and put his own life at risk.

Yet provided the civilian impact doesn’t exceed the scale of the Omagh bomb, The President doesn’t even need to be asked. Like he observes himself of Saddam Hussein, ‘he’s a terrorist, a war criminal’, who ought to be taken to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

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Oh My God They Killed…

So, was David Kelly assassinated? It’s certainly possible: the British security services will assassinate people whenever they see fit, for ‘reasons of state’, and it seems unreasonable to think that they would refrain from doing it to past employees. Denis Donaldson, I reckon, was killed by British security services. And I am pretty sure that they engineered the assassination of former loyalist agents such as Billy Wright, Mark Fulton and Jim Gray.

What purpose would it have served to kill Kelly? The most plausible explanation I can think of -if he was indeed murdered- would be as a means of keeping employees in line. If it had looked like a murder from the start, there would have been a public outcry, but the fact of a grim death -self inflicted or not- is enough to put plenty of potential whistleblowers back in their box. And though the reports were of suicide, it seems likely that those with access to secret state information would be more likely than most to consider the possibility that he had been bumped off. Furthermore, it would be a way of cowing the BBC and other reporting outlets into even greater servility when it comes to making inquiries into the workings of power.

Gasp! What am I saying? I must be losing the run of myself. Need another Harvey’s Bristol. Why, it’s only the Russians who assassinate people! The BBC, for instance, has done some stellar reporting on that Litvinenko chap.


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