Dodgy dossiers, dodgier decisions


What a surprise. The Labour majority of the all-party foreign affairs committee has decided that Blair did not lie to get Parliament to back America's imperialist war on Iraq. Just, thanks only to its chairman's casting vote.

The logic of the decision seems as dodgy as the second government dossier. On suggestions that intelligence services sources had complained about the government's use of their material, the MPs divided on party lines to conclude that "in the absence of reliable evidence... allegations of politically-inspired meddling cannot credibly be established." So their conclusion of lack of lying is based on lack of evidence. What a surprise: that was the case for the war itself! Interestingly, the committee stated that ministers "hampered" their work by refusing to allow them access to intelligence papers and security services personnel.

It was acknowledged that the claim that Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes should not have been given such prominence. They said it is "very odd indeed" that the government relied on evidence which was since shown to have been forged, namely the claim that Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium from Niger. Moreover, Blair "misrepresented" the status of the second so-called "dodgy dossier" in parliament and that it was "fundamentally wrong" for it to have been referred to by him in the Commons.

Needless to say, this was not considered as misleading the people. And they say, despite the outcome of the war and the lack of any evidence of WMD, "the jury is still out on the accuracy" of the first dossier on Iraq and that "threat posed to United Kingdom forces was genuinely perceived as a real and present danger"? Who are Labour Party trying to kid? Clapped out soviet-era tanks, rpgs and automatic rifles a "danger" to the UK? Little wonder the report was rejected by the committee's minority opposition members.

This issue will not and must not go away. And what is the anti-war movement doing about this? Well, the SWP dominated "Stop the War Coalition" has leaped into action, and called a national march... in three months time! Truly this shows the efficiency of centralised, Bolshevik methods of organising! Blair is under pressure now and the "official" anti-war movement is, well, busy at Marxism 2003. Obviously the SWP cannot walk and talk at the same time, suggesting their party is more stretched than they would like to admit.

The flaws of the SWP approach is clear. It did not stop the war, which was, after all, it's stated aim. Rather than draw some conclusions from that, it is proposing more of the same, namely more marching from A to B. Good for paper selling, bad for anti-militarism or promoting a sense that we can change things by our own actions.

And what of the rest of us? It's easy to criticise, but what have we offered as an alternative? I would have liked to think that we would have called for people to assemble across the country to raise their voices under "Blair lied, People died." In, London we could have called people to assembly in Trafalgar Square and for them to march to march on Downing Street and to mark the death of civilians in Iraq and so-called democracy in Britain. Something similar could have been done across the country. In Glasgow, in George Square. In Edinburgh, outside the Scottish Parliament. And so on. A means by which people can protest against the lies of politicians and the evils of war.

But the necessary organisational infrastructure does not exist. And that is our problem. Ultimately, groups like the SWP get away with their domination and deradicalisation of mass movements simply because the libertarian alternative is so weak and disorganised. Yes, we have our moments and its not all bad, but ultimately we must do more than just complain about the reformism and bureaucracy of the SWP -- we need to provide a better, self-managed, alternative.

Are we up to it? The answer to that question lies with you. A step in the right direction is to produce another "anti-war" special of Freedom for the September 27th march as well as a leaflet to hand out on the day. Hopefully this time we can co-ordinate a joint approach to the event, building on previous co-operative activity.


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