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  1. #1
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    When our Political systems go wrong.

    It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

    And while that is a partial quote from a man whose main excellent quality was a huge dislike for Fascism and the Nazis, it is one well worth keeping in mind at all times in our politically turbulent times.

    So on that note, and not wanting to keep muddying the water in the EU Brexit vote thread, i needed to air this little thing for consideration, and it is a thing:

    'Tony Blair faces calls for impeachment on release of Chilcot report':

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...chilcot-report

    Senior figures from Labour and the Scottish National party are considering calls for legal action against Tony Blair if the former prime minister faces severe criticisms from the long-awaited inquiry into the war in Iraq.

    A number of MPs led by Alex Salmond are expected to use an ancient law to try to impeach the former prime minister when the Chilcot report comes out on Wednesday.

    The law, last used in 1806 when the Tory minister Lord Melville was charged for misappropriating official funds, is seen in Westminster as an alternative form of punishment that could ensure Blair never holds office again.

    Triggering the process simply requires an MP to propose a motion and provide supporting evidence as part of a document called the article of impeachment which has no time limit placed upon it. If the impeachment attempt is approved by MPs, the defendant is delivered to Black Rod before a trial.

    A simple majority is required to convict, at which point a sentence can be passed which could, in theory, involve Blair being sent to prison.

    However, MPs have said the attempt will be symbolic and is unlikely to result in imprisonment.Salmond, the former Scottish first minister, said there “has to be a judicial or political reckoning” for Blair’s role in the Iraq conflict.

    “He seemed puzzled as to why Jeremy Corbyn thinks he is a war criminal, why people don’t like him,” he told Sky News.“The reason is 179 British war dead, 150,000 immediate dead from the Iraq conflict, the Middle East in flames, the world faced with an existential crisis on terrorism – these are just some of the reasons perhaps he should understand why people don’t hold him in the highest regard.
    I followed the run up to the Iraq War (Part II) with interest. I knew Saddam for the Tyrant he was, but also knew the west had played a large part in his creation, and that in recent modern history Saddam was a staunch ally of America in relation to the Iraq - Iran war.

    I also knew that it was pretty much 100% certain Saddam and Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. I was less sure on the whole 'Weapons of mass destruction' thing, he had been given chemical weapons by us in the past and used them on the Kurds, so he may have had or been working on improving that capability.

    But as we now know, all those claims made by Tony Blair in our Parliment about this capability were 'sexed up' via the infamous 'Dodgy Dossier'.

    It is also pretty evident giving the rise of ISIS/ISIL and global terrorism in general, that the whole basis for this was this Iraq invasion and subsequent action in places like Afghanistan. All because our Prime Minister of the day more or less lied to his Parliament and his country.

    I hope the Chilcot report is as thorough as it can be, reflecting the information that is now public record, and i hope this will indeed lead to Tony Blair facing some consequences for his actions, actions where a defence of 'I believed i was doing the right thing' is frankly not enough when weighed up with the global chaos those frankly disingenuous reasons have proven to be.

    We shall see, but i'm keeping my fingers crossed for real justice, if for no other reason than to warn future political opportunists that yes indeed their actions may well come back to haunt them when proven to be the wrong actions.
    Last edited by ZakG; 04-07-2016 at 09:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Hmm an entirely symbolic gesture like this won't really do much, we already in this country kind of know this. Tony Blair's reputation has been shattered because of it, and yet he still profits from things and still goes on talk shows and stuff. And eve nif this happens these things wil lremain the same so Meh.

    On a genral note it really is kind of depressing that even now I can see Tony Blair as a really good politician and probab;ly the best one we have had in awhile. It makes you shiudder really.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZakG View Post
    It is also pretty evident giving the rise of ISIS/ISIL and global terrorism in general, that the whole basis for this was this Iraq invasion and subsequent action in places like Afghanistan. All because our Prime Minister of the day more or less lied to his Parliament and his country.
    I know very little about the Blair situation, beyond what I hear around these forums, but I felt I should address this particular point. Afghanistan happened before Iraq, and a lot of what we see today would probably have happened in some form even with Saddam still in place. Perhaps not ISIS specifically, but perhaps still. The Arab spring and all the turbulence that followed would probably still have happened, so I'm hesitant to put those conflicts on the Iraq war, even though it hardly helped (and did indeed reinforce existing sentiments of "Muslims vs the west"). Having Saddam in place might not have stopped ISIS from establishing themselves there, since Iraq could have seen the same development as Libya under Ghaddafi.

    I'm not endorsing the Iraq war, but I don't think it would be sunshine and roses without it either, as a lot of what we see today has been developing for a long time and was already in motion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanbuoy View Post
    I know very little about the Blair situation, beyond what I hear around these forums, but I felt I should address this particular point. Afghanistan happened before Iraq, and a lot of what we see today would probably have happened in some form even with Saddam still in place. Perhaps not ISIS specifically, but perhaps still. The Arab spring and all the turbulence that followed would probably still have happened, so I'm hesitant to put those conflicts on the Iraq war, even though it hardly helped (and did indeed reinforce existing sentiments of "Muslims vs the west"). Having Saddam in place might not have stopped ISIS from establishing themselves there, since Iraq could have seen the same development as Libya under Ghaddafi.

    I'm not endorsing the Iraq war, but I don't think it would be sunshine and roses without it either, as a lot of what we see today has been developing for a long time and was already in motion.
    This. While Iraq/Afghanistan certainly did not help, the cancer of extremist islamic terrorism was already on the rise for many years. Arab nations were also long due a destabilizing event like Arab Spring, if anything the war in Iraq might have delayed it, because it allowed to focus on foreign invaders.

    Bush was an idiot and Blair was a foolish follower but blaming them for all the islamic/mideast woes greatly overestimates the Western influence on the islamic world.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    It seems like Blair committed treason against his nation, in my mind, he is a war criminal, he should be treated as such if such is proven.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mouton View Post
    Bush was an idiot and Blair was a foolish follower but blaming them for all the islamic/mideast woes greatly overestimates the Western influence on the islamic world.
    I only partly agree with this insofar that the western influence on the islamic world has been very significant since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the latest. Bush and Blair were simply continuers of already established policy: It's hard to imagine that the islamic world would look like the place it was today if the Iranian coup had not happened.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xzi's Avatar
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    Iraq was a petty play for oil and to avenge the black eye Saddam gave GWB's daddy during that administration. GWB was literally our worst president ever and please don't try to argue otherwise because I'm sure we've had nobody else who decided to bring chaos to an entire region of the world on just a whim. Not to mention all the xenophobia it stirred up, now with the US wondering what do about the "Muslim problem" constantly when nobody gave the Muslim community a second thought before Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Cherry on top is that Osama Bin Laden was a CIA-trained operative. Whether he was active in a larger conspiracy or not I have no idea, but the fact remains that the US had far more to do with turning him into what he was than the Muslim community did. Shit, they blamed the assassination of Malcolm X on Muslims as well, and that was probably the CIA then, too. The US is horrible at introspection and quick to anger, and those two things in tandem have allowed some truly evil people to manipulate the country's actions over the years.

    As for Tony Blair, I remember thinking at the time that he was stupid for signing on to that whole quagmire, but all he did was agree with the US, which was to be expected given the strong alliance between the two countries. And yet he might face some form of actual punishment, unlike all our leaders of the time who committed a massive number of war crimes and now surely sit retired in some mansion with 24-hour servants.
    Last edited by Xzi; 04-07-2016 at 09:03 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanbuoy View Post
    I know very little about the Blair situation, beyond what I hear around these forums, but I felt I should address this particular point. Afghanistan happened before Iraq...
    Ah yes, thanks for the correction. It started two years earlier it seems, my confusion coming from the fact i had not really paid a lot of attention until we started to hear about the abuses at Bagram airbase detention centre.

    I certainly will not be going into any part of the debate that is along the lines of 'Muslims are evil because Islam is an evil religion', just in case the section of the forum (there always is a small vocal section in all forums these days) that get all hot under the collar for that kind of thing are hoping for more of that?

    Not only do i find that simply offensive and overly simplistic (hey welcome to Brexit Britain’s mentality!), it is not a truth anymore than saying all Germans are Evil because of Hitler, or British people are Evil because of Tony Blair, or that Christianity is Evil because of institutional child rape and that old historic Crusades badness. It's a truly stupid line of thinking with zero rationality. I think there is another thread better suited for Islam hate around here? If not please go make your own :)

    So with that specific issue (hopefully) dealt with, i have a few links to some news stuff building up to the Chilcot report being released, and as the first main topic in this thread being about how our Democracy can become hijacked when we do not pay enough attention to the details, these links have some good reading to think on:

    'Iraq Chilcot inquiry: Bitterness in Baghdad':

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36706265

    Almost 24 hours after the massacre of civilians in Baghdad by so-called Islamic State, young men were digging frantically through the basement of one of the shopping centres that was destroyed.

    They were looking for human remains. But all they found were some shoes and a pile of black ash. It was hot in the basement. The fire was still smouldering. Warm, scummy water dripped from the ceiling.

    Outside, hundreds of people had gathered. Being there was a form of defiance. In the Iraqi capital, any crowded, dark street is a potential target for a suicide bomber.

    Perhaps sharing infinite sadness makes it easier to bear. Many people cried, or prayed. I saw a Christian clergyman lighting candles and making the sign of the cross as well as young people chanting a Shia Muslim anthem for the dead.

    Just because so many Iraqi civilians have been massacred does not make senseless killing any easier to bear for the survivors.

    It is doubtful whether Iraqis who are so caught up in the pain of daily life will take much interest in the long-delayed publication of the UK's official inquiry into its part in the invasion of 2003.

    Kadhim, like many Iraqis, blames the invaders for starting a chain of events that destroyed the country. He longs for the certainties and stability of Saddam's time.

    First, he says, he realised it was not going to be liberation, but occupation. Then he hated the corruption, mismanagement and violence in the new Iraq. Most of all he despises Iraq's new leaders.

    "Saddam has gone, and we have one thousand Saddams now," he says. "It wasn't like this under Saddam. There was a system. There were ways. We didn't like him, but he was better than those people."

    "Saddam never executed people without a reason. He was as solid as a wall. There was no corruption or looting, it was safe. You could be safe."
    'Senior British officers knew of 'wetting' of Iraqi civilians, inquiry told':

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...s-inquiry-told

    All of this was made possible by a group of political elites in Washington, the neo-conservatives, acting as 'enablers' in particular for American oil and arms interests, and of course having Bush as an easy to direct President (with Tony Blair along for the ride).

    A truly excellent film series to get a better understanding of the role of those neo-conservatives (and their ideological enemies) in creating our current world situation (ie one of rampant Terrorism, both state-sponsored and of the more traditional kind) is the one by Adam Curtis called The Power of Nightmares:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_of_Nightmares

    It is possible to find full links to it, just in case you have not watched it, and probably they are the most politically relevant films to have been made is this post-9/11 world. Highly Recommended.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xzi View Post
    Iraq was a petty play for oil and to avenge the black eye Saddam gave GWB's daddy during that administration.
    Sorry, but could you explain this please? What black eye? The first Gulf war was a resounding succes for the coalition forces, leading to a decisive victory on the ground after 100 hours. If someone got a black eye, it was Saddam.
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  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    Sorry, but could you explain this please? What black eye? The first Gulf war was a resounding succes for the coalition forces, leading to a decisive victory on the ground after 100 hours. If someone got a black eye, it was Saddam.
    Rather I should phrase it as he returned to finish the job his daddy couldn't in removing Saddam from power, even though he was one of the few stabilizing forces in the region. Granted, Saddam was a grade-A asshole, but so was Dick Cheney, who was basically allowed to be president by GWB for eight years.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    It seems like Blair committed treason against his nation, in my mind, he is a war criminal, he should be treated as such if such is proven.
    "X is a traitor!" or "X committed treason!" is pretty much the worst kind of Godwin, and also very silly because once one starts with that, we can more or less label pretty much everyone who ever had any serious kind of power as a "traitor" (not least people like Roosevelt, Churchill, etc.).

    It's smack-talk of an unhelpful kind, however emotionally satisfying. I say this having been guilty of it myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    I only partly agree with this insofar that the western influence on the islamic world has been very significant since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the latest. Bush and Blair were simply continuers of already established policy: It's hard to imagine that the islamic world would look like the place it was today if the Iranian coup had not happened.
    Do not forget Soviet meddling too. Russia is still at it. So like, unless "the West" includes Russia/the Soviets, that's a big, big oversight - and a sadly common one.

    That said for sure it would be different, but would it look any better? I guess that's the question I'm increasingly asking. I mean, we assume the democratically elected socialist leader of Iran stays in control for a while, but for how long? Do Islamists appear anyway? The example of Turkey seems to suggest that they might - it's steadily transforming into a sort of dictator-for-life scenario and pushing rightwards and religious-wards at some speed. It could be reversed but... I expect what we'd have instead of the current middle east is a lot more in the way of stable dictatorships - not democracies. And they'd fight with each other. A lot. Several of them would have gone harder and better for nuclear weapons than they did in reality.

    I mean, we'd probably have less terrorism, but as much as it's a shitty thing to say, terrorism doesn't really kill that many people or cause THAT much of a problem.

    Would Israel have been able to survive that situation, with more organised and unfriendly leadership? Maybe. They might even have done better. They might have made friends and manipulated the situation. I could actually easily see Iran and Israel being friends, bizarre as it might be - even according to the ADL, Iran is one of the least anti-Semitic Muslim countries and indeed less anti-Semitic than many non-Muslim countries.

    It's an interesting scenario to consider, and I used to think it would definitely have been better, but whilst I think it would definitely have been better for some nations, I'm not sure we wouldn't have just a different shit show. Also even if the West and Soviets hadn't messed with the ME directly at all, the political influences due to power would have been there. Hmmm.

    PS Fuck Blair in case anyone is wondering. That scumbag!

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Playing in what ifs is a dangerous business. Especially dangerous if you're trying to assign criminal blame on someone. Though in the balance it seems like the Middle East would be a bit more stable if the place hadn't been bombed to shit. Purely in terms of people who had running water now not having running water tend to be "tetchy" at best and murderously angry at worst. Though the sanctions regime throughout the 90s had a lot to do with that as well.

    Can Blair be impeached though? I know it's a weird old law of Parliament but he's not holding office currently so it'd be odd, unless it's position on the Privy Council.

    People on the left demanding war crimes charges seem to be going a bit OTT, it would be a weird precedent legally speaking. I'm fairly sure no state has actually renounced the legal capability to declare war (even Japan retains it despite their constitution). A charge of misleading Parliament or some formulation of perverting the course of justice/democracy would seem to actually be the thing, if those charges can even be brought as I'm not sure lying to Parliament is entirely a crime.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZakG View Post
    I certainly will not be going into any part of the debate that is along the lines of 'Muslims are evil because Islam is an evil religion'[...]
    Sorry, but I have to ask if these paragraphs were somehow directed at me, or if they just happened to directly follow a paragraph aimed at me. If they were directed at me... why?

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZakG View Post
    I certainly will not be going into any part of the debate that is along the lines of 'Muslims are evil because Islam is an evil religion', just in case the section of the forum (there always is a small vocal section in all forums these days) that get all hot under the collar for that kind of thing
    So far as I've observed, there's no such section on RPS. I've seen it on other forums, but not on this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Playing in what ifs is a dangerous business. Especially dangerous if you're trying to assign criminal blame on someone. Though in the balance it seems like the Middle East would be a bit more stable if the place hadn't been bombed to shit. Purely in terms of people who had running water now not having running water tend to be "tetchy" at best and murderously angry at worst. Though the sanctions regime throughout the 90s had a lot to do with that as well.

    Can Blair be impeached though? I know it's a weird old law of Parliament but he's not holding office currently so it'd be odd, unless it's position on the Privy Council.

    People on the left demanding war crimes charges seem to be going a bit OTT, it would be a weird precedent legally speaking. I'm fairly sure no state has actually renounced the legal capability to declare war (even Japan retains it despite their constitution). A charge of misleading Parliament or some formulation of perverting the course of justice/democracy would seem to actually be the thing, if those charges can even be brought as I'm not sure lying to Parliament is entirely a crime.
    Lying to parliament a crime? Parliamentary convention, isn't it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Lying to parliament a crime? Parliamentary convention, isn't it?
    It sure seems not to matter in the US re: perjury before Congress. The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, did everything but openly admit to doing it while he was still in office, and nothing was done about it. He told Congress, under oath, that the NSA doesn't intentionally collect data on Americans. Then a couple months later Snowden's leaks happened and showed that the NSA had a top secret court order allowing them to gather data on over 120 million Americans, and the very next day Clapper confirms that yes, the NSA does collect data on Americans after all. His response when asked about why he told Congress differently was "I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no." So saying the program didn't exist at all was the most truthful response he could think of when asked if the program existed.

    But then, we know that the political elite and the rich aren't beholden to the same laws as we plebes are. And it's just been reinforced very recently with the FBI essentially saying "We found over 100 classified documents where they shouldn't have been, and evidence of multiple laws being broken, but we don't think anyone should be prosecuted for the crimes" when they finished their investigation into Clinton's emails. Some animals are more equal than others, it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanbuoy View Post
    Sorry, but I have to ask if these paragraphs were somehow directed at me, or if they just happened to directly follow a paragraph aimed at me. If they were directed at me... why?
    No, not at all.

    But i just wanted to put a warning for anyone about to wade in with something like 'Well the reason the middle east is in chaos is because of Islam'. or something like that? If so i suggest their own thread as this is specifically about when our democratic political systems can get 'misused', and we currently have the classic and interesting example of the Iraq War and the pending Chilcot Report that was tasked with looking into the issue. No Muslim hate required in this thread thank you. It's about other more important stuff :)
    Last edited by ZakG; 06-07-2016 at 09:03 AM.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xzi View Post
    Rather I should phrase it as he returned to finish the job his daddy couldn't in removing Saddam from power, even though he was one of the few stabilizing forces in the region.
    I wouldn't say couldn't there, but rather didn't, and for a very good reason. The mission of Desert Storm wasn't to depose Hussein, it was to eject the Iraqi military from Kuwait, which it did rather easily. Had Bush Sr. opted to drive all the way to Baghdad I think the result would have been the same as it is today, just older now. For this I give Bush Sr. credit, though it is important to remind people that the specter of Vietnam was still on people's minds in 1991. The American people were deeply concerned about entering another quagmire like that. Had this same sentiment been present for Bush Jr. the mess we see today might not have happened; unfortunately the decisiveness of Desert Storm and the freshness of 9/11 clouded our collective judgment.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fumarole View Post
    Had Bush Sr. opted to drive all the way to Baghdad I think the result would have been the same as it is today, just older now. For this I give Bush Sr. credit, though it is important to remind people that the specter of Vietnam was still on people's minds in 1991.
    At the time, I didn't see it, but in hindsight you're absolutely correct, and I should have given Bush Sr. credit then for excellent foresight. It's interesting that Cheney served as Bush's Secretary of Defense and didn't understand what Bush Sr. did. I don't doubt he had it spelled out for him in detail in 1991 and still chose to ignore it 10 years later.

    The main reason I recall W. having a grudge against Saddam was that Saddam supposedly tried to have Bush Sr. assassinated. I'm not really sure whether the plot was real - maybe someone better informed can shed some light on that. I know 11 Iraqis and 3 Kuwaitis were convicted of trying.

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    A large part of the reason he wasn't deposed the first time, at least as far as I've heard, is that many of the other Middle Eastern nations in the coalition wouldn't allow it. The coalition was formed to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and to prevent invasions of further countries, so it's primary purpose was to just return the status quo. If the US had removed Saddam at the time, it would have been diplomatically disastrous because it would have been a betrayal of that coalition and would have probably lost the US every Middle Eastern ally other than Israel.

    That's something I've heard from veterans of the Gulf War, including my dad who was an officer and had to field the "why didn't we take him out?" question at the time.

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