In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the American and British governments fabricated stories about Saddam Hussein’s supposed array of weapons of mass destruction. These were said to include nuclear and biological devices, with missiles capable of being launched in 45 minutes. UN weapons inspectors could find no evidence that Iraq had such capabilities. Their work was cut short before the inspectors had an opportunity to visit all the sites on their list. Despite, or because of, the lack of proof, the invasion of March 2003 followed soon afterwards. All the consequences of this imperial adventure for the Iraqi people are too painful to observe. Another result is that ordinary people in Britain have also become prime targets for terror attacks. Well, if the alleged existence of WMD is a ground for regime change, surely the same logic should apply even more forcefully to a government that actually admits it has them. In this regard, New Labour entirely fits the bill. The vote in parliament to renew the Trident nuclear missile system means one thing above all else: the government is prepared to launch these weapons in anger. Ministers are ready to commit mass crimes against humanity in breach of international law.
In the days of the Cold War, successive governments argued that nuclear weapons were needed to counter the alleged threat from the Soviet Union. Well, this hasn’t been the case for more than 15 years. So spending £20 billion on new missiles – a vote only made possible by Tory support – is justified by the Blair/Brownites on the spurious grounds that we live in an uncertain world with threats as yet unknown just around the corner! This is real 1984 stuff. In George Orwell’s book, truth and reality are inverted and perverted. We are not under attack but we could be at any moment from enemies unknown. So just to keep everyone wound up, it is necessary to be armed to the teeth with weapons that can destroy life on earth within minutes (this, incidentally, a day after the government claimed to be "saving the planet" with its climate Bill). The uncertainty in the world is real enough. But it is a product of an out-of-control globalisation process dominated by rampaging corporations and financial institutions. There is understandable resistance to the imposition of market and Western "values" on other countries. This takes many forms, including Islamic-inspired opposition and terrorism. Pointing nuclear weapons at countries like Iran will only intensify this growing crisis and add to global destabilisation. The case for regime change in Britain, with the aim of scrapping WMD, has never been stronger.
Paul Feldman, communications editor