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Science, People & Politics. issue 5, volume ii, Volume I, September-October, 2007. Published 11.11.07, 14.15 g.m.t. Final corrected posting: 19.30 gmt, 11.11.07.

...for history is a pattern of timeless moments.

The case for an inquiry into Britain's part in the lead up to,
conduct of, and participation in the damaging
aftermath of the Iraq War of 2003.

ON REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY when the dead of many wars are remembered there is something else we must remember.

We, the British people, did not ask members of the British forces in Iraq or anywhere else to die for us. We ordered them to defend us up to the point of sanctioning them to kill on our behalf, and to defend the freedoms that it has taken centuries to accumulate. Were those freedoms in danger and which ones? Since the anti-War campaign is adamant and proffers powerful arguments that the War was not sanctioned by UN resolutions then Britain ipso facto went to War under its own Sovereignty and no one elses. Not Blair as Bush's poodle, but Prime Minister and Cabinet with the backing of parliament.

Yet Judge Thomas of New Zealand has singled out then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, as an alleged criminal, indictable on a charge of the crime of aggression.

Wrong. Not necessarily on the indictment. But which jurisdiction did the judge have in mind, and does the case for an indictment impact Mr Blair's role as a peace envoy for the Quartet? And what was the Cabinet doing whilst the Prime Minister was committing his crime? Knitting bed socks? Without knowing all of who knew what and when before the step-by-step decisions were taken to deploy Navy, Army and Air Force it is hard to say. And, obviously, there is more to be known, because in the forward to the Butler Inquiry of 14th July, 2004, "reviewing the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction", the committee writes (p2):

"It may be asked what further we could add by going over such heavily traversed ground. ......we have had the considerable advantage of the further passage of time which has allowed us to consider the evidence that has emerged since the war on Iraqi (sic) nuclear, biological, chemical and ballistic missile programmes and the result of post-war validation ......we have had much wider access ......Even so, we do not pretend that ours can be the last word on every aspect of the issues we cover."

No, Judge Thomas is wrong in his less than dispassionate and scholarly review because he missed the point that the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces is Her Majesty the Queen. If the War was contrary to British military rules of engagement, human decency or defence of the British Realm then she, not the Prime Minister, must take her place in a Court Marshall.

What, quite separately, Tony Blair or the Cabinet or the endorsing Parliament or the secret services might be guilty of is unclear. High Treason probably, and they - Parliament - might have forgotten to repeal the death penalty for that crime.

This matters because Tony Blair is currently acting as a peace envoy in the volatile Middle East on behalf of the UN, Russia, the European Union and the US. He was there for 24 hours last Sunday (4th November 2007), and Science, People & Politics is still waiting for answers to the questions it emailed to his hotel suite in Jerusalem and gave to his local press representative by phone: Who appointed you? Who is paying your salary and/or expenses? To these questions one ought to add: to whom are you responsible?

Blair needs credibility and Good Will for his formidable task. If there are whispers that he is actually a war criminal and indictable of the crime of aggression, then the UK and those who did not renounce citizenship in protest at the Iraq War, and because he is a former Prime Minister of the UK, must needs pay for the Public Inquiry needed to acquire the evidence for his prosecution and defence. If he is potentially liable to charges of high treason for deceiving and endangering the liberty and standing of the British Commander-in-Chief then the Inquiry is needed for both the Military and Civil Court cases against respectively the Commander-in-Chief and the then Prime Minister. The UK's credibility as a nation able to make unilateral decisions via parliament to wage War - just think about the content of the armamentarium into which the British Commander-in-Chief can dip - as a Sovereign State and to trade internationally in good faith, may well rest on the outcome of such an inquiry.

Trying to off load responsibility for such power and terrifying weaponry onto the United Nations, as John McDonnell MP (Labour, Hayes and Harlington.) does in his manifesto, reviewed elsewhere in this issue, smacks of aspiring collective political cowardice or lack of rigorous thinking about the implications of such a policy. UN resolutions reflect the foreign policies of many Nations. Does McDonnell really want to place British Tornados and aircraft carriers in the hands of the United States, exercising its hegemonical power and influence via diplomatic relationships and control of capital, exchange rates and purchasing power? Does he want to make the UK vulnerable to legal cases built in international law that pluck decisions in support of current cases from decisions with other historical contexts and national agendas. International and national law are different beasts.

With so much at stake the Public Inquiry that former MP, Alice Mahon, advocates begins to make a lot of sense. Even though Public Inquiries are very expensive in terms of money and the intellectual muscle they call up.

Such an Inquiry might not need to be urgent or expeditious, as the remits dictated for the the reviews by Lord Butler (Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction) and Hutton (Investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly), but could be conducted, slowly, carefully and painstakingly, and start before the first Gulf War of 1992.

On the day that Britain gave its own "order to fire" in 2003 what exactly at that moment was the state of knowledge before the War Cabinet? What weaponry had been ordered up by the quartermaster/s in what order and against what specific eventualities and did that create an unstoppable momentum?

Alice Mahon has uncovered via parliamentary written questions to the Rt. Hon. Adam Ingram MP, when Mahon was still sitting, and from a clarifying response given to her via her parliamentary successor, Linda Riorden MP, that 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (US: 1 MEF) serving in Iraq in 2003, "used a total of 30 MKK weapons in Iraq between 31st March and 2 April 2003, against military targets away from civilian areas." Which areas, and why firebombs?

Specifics, moment-by-moment decisions, and the overall strategic thrust of British foreign policy along the geographic axis from Pakistan to Iraq: does the strategy need to be reviewed? Military research and procurement can take decades. So much that happens now is based on science and technical analysis from a decade or so earlier. Are we as a Nation careening forward in a foreign policy strategy under the same momentum as separate earlier military analyses?

This matters because it needs to be clear that when Britain wages war it is The Queen who in our current less than humane hereditary ad hominen system of defining ourselves as a State ultimately is responsible and who may face a Court Marshall. Despite Europe, the EC and any other international body, her being found guilty in a Court Marshall would throw a significantly large economy on the world stage and 60 million plus people into serious disarray.

THE GENERAL EDITORIAL LINE OF A CALL FOR AN INQUIRY INTO THE IRAQ WAR WAS AGREED BY THE EDITOR AND DEPUTY EDITOR ALONE. EDITORIAL ADVISORS WERE NOTIFIED OF THE GENERAL LINE TO BE TAKEN. THE ARGUMENTS IN THE ABOVE EDITORIAL WERE DEVELOPED AND THE EDITORIAL WRITTEN BY THE EDITOR, HELEN GAVAGHAN, WITHOUT FURTHER CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPUTY, THOUGH THE DEPUTY EDITOR WAS AWARE OF THE CONTENT PRIOR TO PUBLICATION. THE ARGUMENTS OF JUDGE THOMAS APPEAR IN "WAR CRIMES", PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2005 (repeat 2005) BY "SPOKESMAN FOR THE BERTRAND RUSSELL PEACE FOUNDATION". THIS ADDITION, POST PUBLICATION OF THE EDITORIAL, WAS INSERTED FOR CLARITY IN RESPONSE TO CONCERNS EXPRESSED POST PUBLICATION BY THE DEPUTY EDITOR THAT ATTRIBUTION MIGHT NEED TO BE CLEAR AND A MORE SPECIFIC SUGGESTION BY EDITORIAL ADVISOR, MARTIN REDFERN, THAT THE ATTRIBUTION PERHAPS OUGHT TO BE CLEAR.

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