Is the real reason for the Iraq war really an official secret?

When the government abandoned its prosecution of the GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun, it suggested that Blair had something to hide. The prosecution offered no evidence against Ms Gun, despite her admitting that she leaked information about an American spying operation at the UN in the run-up to the war. She said she acted to try to prevent Britain illegally invading Iraq. Arrested nearly a year ago and charged eight months later under the Official Secrets Act, she is now a free woman.

The decision pointed to the obvious, namely serious doubts in the government about the legality of the colonisation of Iraq. That the prosecution had been recently notified that a key plank of the defence was new evidence that the legality of the war had been questioned by the Foreign Office it seems an obvious conclusion to draw. Rather than disclose the attorney general's advice on the legality of the war, the government dropped the case.

Ms Gun was definitely right to place her conscience above her job or any perceived loyalty to her employer (the state). Her actions were admirable in every respect. She exposed a government willing to use any means available to con its subjects into war. Hopefully this will encourage others, whatever their job and whoever their boss, to follow their conscience rather than simply follow orders.

And what of the reason for war? Do we really need a trial to discover it? Perhaps not.

Jay Garner, the Retired Army Lt. Gen. who was the former interim administrator of occupied Iraq, has recently said a US military presence in Iraq should last "the next few decades." He hoped that US forces stay would "there a long time." "I think one of the most important things we can do right now is start getting basing rights" in both northern and southern Iraq, he said. He also thought that U.S. soldiers could function as advisers, furthering training and development of Iraqi security forces from behind the scenes. The grisly role of US "advisors" in Latin America should not be forgotten.

The reason for this presence in "liberated" Iraq? Garner was clear about this, using an appropriate example from America's imperial past. He noted how establishing US naval bases in the Philippines in the early 1900s allowed the United States to maintain a "great presence in the Pacific." Needless to say, he failed to mention the mass slaughter required to achieve this or the imperialist domination required to maintain it. For Garner, "that's what Iraq is for the next few decades. We ought to have something there ... that gives us great presence in the Middle East. I think that's going to be necessary." How little has capitalism changed in a century!

As we argued before the invasion, oil was only part of the reason for the American imperialist actions. Geo-political reasons, to get a client state in the heart of the Middle East, also played their part. As Garner confirms. Little wonder Blair's government failed to prosecute Ms. Gun.

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