TONY JONES: One of the world's most respected medical journals has today published an estimate of the number of civilian deaths in Iraq since the war began, putting the figure at 650,000 or about 2.5 per cent of the Iraqi population. The Lancet....
ABC Lateline 12-10-06
Busy Fondling Their Self-Esteem by John Pilger
The great Chilean balladeer Victor Jara, who was tortured to death by the regime of General Pinochet 33 years ago, wrote a song that mocks those who see themselves as rational and liberal, yet so often retreat into the arms of authority, no matter its dishonesty and brutality to others. He sang:
Come on over here
where the sun is nice and warm.
Yes, you, who have the habit
of jumping from one side to the other...
[Over there] you’re nothing at all,
Neither fish nor fowl,
You’re too busy fondling...
Your own self-esteem.
The past few weeks have seen a fiesta of these rational, liberal people who dominate British mainstream politics. For them, the most basic forms of morality and shame, the kind you learn as a child, have no place in public life. On 27 September, the Guardian published a front-page photograph of Tony Blair, a prima facie war criminal, his arms outstretched, his grin fixed. Beside this was a headline, "Charm and eloquence. But a missed chance". Beneath this, Polly Toynbee wrote: "There were some damp eyes dabbed with hankies and men blowing noses. 'Don’t go,' someone said."
Consider such vomit against the facts of Blair’s actual crime – the unprovoked invasion of a defenceless country, justified by lies now voluminously documented, and causing the violent deaths of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children. The word "crime" is verboten among those about whom Victor Jara sang. To spell out the truth would illuminate the collusion of an entire political class.
Instead, the shameless neither-fish-nor-fowl tribunes speak and write incessantly of a "mistake", a "blunder", even a Shakespearean tragedy (for the war criminal, not his victims). From their studios and editorial offices, they declare the mendacious and dishonest banalities of their unclad emperor "brilliant". Al-Qaeda, said Blair in his speech to the Labour party conference, "killed 3,000 people including over 60 British on the streets of
A parallel world of truth and lies, morality and immorality dominates how the crime in
The confidence in the Blair regime that this propaganda will see them right (if not re-elected) is expressed in striking ways. The former Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, the epitome of neither-fish-nor-fowl, who supported a piratical attack on a Muslim country, now aims his liberal, rational remarks at the most vulnerable community in
The Tory leader, David Cameron, the former public relations man for the asset-stripper Michael Green, will follow this legacy, should he become prime minister. Standing on the Bournemouth seafront with his family, including three young children, he emphasised his support for the crime against the Iraqi people, whose children, says Unicef, are now dying faster under Blair and Bush than under Saddam Hussein