by Eric Margolis
Tony Blair's popularity has risen with the end of the Iraq invasion. Britons, like Americans, enjoy jolly little wars in which large numbers of heathen savages are mowed down by western military technology at minimal cost to imperial troops. Add Britain's most recent invasion of Iraq to her list of 19th century colonial "little wars," like the Zulu, Ashanti, Afridi wars and, of course, the more famous campaign against Sudan's Dervishes, and their "fiendish" leader, the Khalifa, a 19th-century version of Osama bin Laden.
In spite of Blair's modestly resurgent popularity, a thunderstorm of questions is coming from parliament, media and the public over Bush/Blair claims that Iraq had to be urgently invaded because it posed, in Bush's words, "an imminent threat to the U.S. and the world," and, as Blair claimed, "Iraq possesses huge quantities of weapons of mass destruction." British intelligence claimed Iraq contained thousands of tons of biological weapons and poison gas, thousands more tons of precursor materials, nuclear weapons fabrication equipment, medium-ranged missiles, 500 km-ranged drones equipped to spray germs, etc., etc
Embarrassed by their failure to so far find a shred of evidence, never mind a "smoking gun," to justify an entirely illegal invasion of a sovereign nation, violating international law and the UN Charter, London and Washington still insist evidence will be found. "We sold it to them; it's got to be there," some London wags are saying.
If it is, it had better be a mammoth underground trove worthy of a James Bond super-villain, not just a few rusty old cans of chemicals left over from the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, when the U.S. and Britain were among Saddam Hussein's principal suppliers of germ and gas weapons.
Don't for a minute believe Pentagon leaks about an "unnamed Iraqi scientist" who says he knows where all the nasties are buried and, what's more, ties Saddam to Al-Qaida. American fans of Rush Limbaugh may swallow this pap; most Brits are too cynical and worldly to accept such crude propaganda; many Brits and Europeans believe the U.S./UK will eventually plant fake evidence.
What's one more fabrication in a war of lies?