Protempore – Issue 67

Posted by in August's Magazine

Aren’t American politicians wonderful? They are more than happy to sanction illegal wars and invasions across the globe that result in millions of innocent civilians suffering death, destruction and mayhem; to back up Israel in its relentless starvation of the Palestinians; and to act with impunity in their perceived role as the world’s police force. And what do they do when the world sits up and starts to ask awkward questions about their seemingly inexhaustible appetite for shock, awe, belligerence and state sponsored terror? They tell the world to wear it.

They’re not remotely interested in justifying their policies and actions to anyone. The invasion of Iraq by George W Bush and his bloodthirsty neo-con cowboys was illegal. Tough. George’s daddy was pissed off because he couldn’t run Saddam Hussein out of the oil-rich desert so junior marched in with absolutely no justification whatsoever. It was illegal and George, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair et al should be sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial for war crimes. Don’t believe me? Ask Hans Blix.


Sham elections
The former chief United Nations weapons inspector recently appeared before the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war. He told the inquiry that there was absolutely no justification for the war. In all of the time that he and his team had been searching for the infamous weapons of mass destruction, they found nothing. But the US marched in regardless. I also marched, along with countless others in protest at what we believed to be an illegal invasion, to no avail. And what have the Americans and their gutless allies achieved? Ask Sami Ramadani, an Iraqi living in Britain.

Like many others, he watched as the war left behind a country destroyed, with millions dead, maimed, or orphaned. He has witnessed the horrific consequences of the invasion – including mothers giving birth to deformed babies as a result of the invading forces use of chemical weapons. He also knows about the long-term consequences. Bush and Blair made a great deal of noise about bringing democracy to Iraq. Ramadani has witnessed those Iraqis brought to power by sham elections bleeding the country dry through corruption and the sell-off of Iraq’s resources to multinational companies. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have drawn attention to the widespread use of torture and judicial killings. It is illegal to be a member of a trade union just as it was under Saddam. Paul Bremer, the US envoy who ruled Iraq after the invasion, revived Saddam’s infamous ‘decree 150’ in 2004, effectively banning all public sector unions. Activists are now treated as if they were terrorists. Ramadani points out that only last week troops and police raided the offices of workers’ unions across the country, following a government decree under the 2005 anti-terrorism act, to ban them and seize their assets. He is convinced that America is steering Iraq’s political and economic direction in order to position itself for a similar invasion of Iran. Well do you know what? I want answers.

I want American politicians to come to Scotland and explain to me exactly what they’re up to and provide me with the relevant legislative justification for their relentless meddling in Iraq’s affairs. I want them grilled in the full glare of the world’s media as they attempt to explain what gives them the right to bomb a country to smithereens, murdering its innocent citizens in the process and then raping that country of its economic assets in order to feed their lust for oil in the Middle East. Chances of them popping over to explain? None.

Naive Senators
But what happens when a small country like ours has a government which has the effrontery to make decisions that are actually based on the rule of law? I’ll tell you. American senators want Scottish Ministers to fly to Washington to explain their decision to release Abdelbaset al Megrahi. Hypocrisy? I wouldn’t dream of mentioning it. Whatever you think of Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release al Megrahi, it was made using the law of the land. You might not like that law but that’s what democratically elected politicians do – they make laws and then most of us abide by them. I’m not naïve and I know that politicians do dodgy deals in deserts with dictators but the Scottish Ministers didn’t. They also didn’t speak to BP. You want naïve? American senators demanding that a legitimate government sends ministers to explain decisions based on the law of the land. That’s naïve.

They actually think that just because they’re on some senate committee in Washington they can demand that Scottish politicians appear to explain themselves and everyone will jump. Not this time. It’s Scots law baby, wear it.

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