Saturday 22 October 2016

Those who are responsible for atrocities must face trial

Published 09/07/2016 | 02:30

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Photo: REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Photo: REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool

Robert Fisk, without doubt the most incisive commentator on Middle East affairs, once again put into plain words not only the duplicity but the unmitigated lies of the political elite of the UK (Article: 7 July 2016). That Tony Blair continues to try to excuse himself by claiming that his actions were taken in good faith, even though they led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and that he knew that his sanctioned report of weapons of mass destruction were, at best untrue to secure support for his friend George W. Bush; that he was guilty of duping the British electorate for his simpering cry to be allowed to be Bush's lapdog in the ridiculous hope of seeming to be an accomplished statesman; that this has continued by Cameron with the deception of the so-called 70,000 moderates who needed the help of Western democracies in Syria.

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Unbelievably, the responses of all sides in the UK has been "let us learn from our mistakes." This has always been the way that the ruling elite in the UK, or anywhere else, has tried to deflect truth and justice away from the guilty. What we should insist upon is that those who are guilty of the outcome of their actions should be tried, either in the Courts of their countries or the International Court of Justice.

Some might say that this is a naive call, but against this accusation of naivety is the certainty that if we do not insist on this justice for those hundreds of thousands of deaths, those responsible will continue in their disregard of human suffering.

Either we insist on justice or we must share in the guilt of what will happen to innocents.

We have a responsibility and we should insist that these crimes are not committed in our name.

We should remember what Martin Niemöller said of the Nazis: First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist; then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist; then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew;then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

Because, for the time being, because we are still able, we must demand that those who were responsible be brought before the Courts and tried. Any lack of such action will result in the same crimes happening in the future with total disregard and with utter contempt of the dead.

George Dalzell, Dublin

Blair and Bush will walk away

The publication of the Chilcot report is a damning indictment of Tony Blair's judgement and his entire career in politics. The report found that "all peaceful options were not exhausted" before the UK joined the US in declaring war on Iraq. It also found that further sanctions and monitoring would have curtailed any alleged ambitions Saddam Hussein had to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The principles of jus ad bellum, clearly define that the aim of war must not be to pursue narrowly defined national interests, but rather to re-establish a just peace.

This peace should be preferable to the state of peace had the war not occurred. It also states that there must be a Probability of Success and most importantly only as a Last Resort.

The reality is that the USA with the UK were pursuing narrowly defined national interests. It is no coincidence that Iraq has oil resources. This war completely unravelled the economic, social and religious fabric of Iraq and plunged it into 13 continuous years of war.

Most notably it gave birth to one of the most barbaric terrorist organisations to have existed - Isil. That invasion sowed the seeds of revolution in the Arab world and brought civil war, conflict and destruction to millions of innocent people.

The refugee crisis currently being witnessed in Europe is a direct result of American and British jingoism and the lurid ambitions of two egotists. It cannot be attributed to anything else since the reasons people are fleeing the Middle East have their roots firmly in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The question now is, if Tony Blair will face any charges for his role in the 2003 invasion or is the International Criminal Court reserved for 3rd World despots who have fallen out of favour with their 1st World financiers?

The reality is that Blair's decision to take the UK to war in Iraq in 2003 falls outside the Court's jurisdiction. In other words Blair will walk away scot free, as will George W Bush.

Philip Jones, Artane, Dublin 5

Complicit in the Iraq war

In your Editorial of July 7, you rightly state that "War is the ultimate obscenity" and that "It must always be a measure of last resort, never the chummy response of one good old boy to another". Sadly, despite the street protests of over 100,000 Irish people, we were made complicit in the 2003 Iraq war, by allowing US war planes use Shannon Airport.

This was allowed, apparently, through our Government's fear of upsetting our US chums.

Today, our Government continues to allow US military planes use Shannon airport, not out of any misplaced sense of chummy cooperation between Nations, but purely for profit. When will the Government end this ongoing obscenity.

Roy Palmer, Moycullen, Galway

We must restore confidence

In view of the recent, and not so recent financial scandals that have come to light in the charity sector, it is high time that each organisation in this area of operations carried out their own comprehensive audits on a regular basis to ensure that all of their houses are in good order.

Charity begins at home. It would be a great pity if the trust and generosity of the general public, which many small regional and urban charities depend on in the main to keep the show on the road, was adversely affected by a small number of unscrupulous individuals.

All of these charities provide vital support and services to thousands of very vulnerable people, and are a lifeline to so many the length and breadth of the country. The work they carry out and the services they provide have been neglected, and in some cases poorly financed by successive governments over many years. It can only be hoped that the appointment of a charities regulator will tighten up this sector once and for all, and restore much badly needed confidence again to the users, staff, volunteers and the generous general public in the years ahead.

Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo

Effects of Brexit

It is a cause of concern that every time one listens to the radio, either an expert or a professor informs us ordinary folk of the solutions to all our problems. The concern is that the Professor knows more than God and worse still the expert knows more than the professor. But now nobody knows the effects of Brexit.

Michael O'Mara, Patrickswell, Co Limerick

Irish Independent

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