Monday, May 02, 2011

Blair's 'gratitude' sums it up

The killing of Osama Bin Laden may satisfy America’s lust for revenge but ordinary people have paid a massive price in the hunting down of al-Qaeda’s US- trained leader.

Since the infamous 9/11 attacks, untold numbers of civilians have been killed in Afghanistan by American and British forces who have occupied the country for a decade.

America used the lie that Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were joint partners in crime, even though they regarded each other as enemies, to invade Iraq. Hundreds of thousands have been killed subsequently, and many driven into exile.

Where there was no al-Qaeda presence before in Iraq, there certainly is now. Even Britain’s MI5 warned former prime minister Blair that the 2003 invasion would increase the risk of terror attacks in Britain.

Blair’s sickening statement today, expressing "gratitude" to the US, and declaring that the killing of Bin Laden showed that "those who commit acts of terror against the innocent will be brought to justice, however long it takes" equally applies to himself.

The issues and causes that have served as recruiting grounds by jihadists everywhere remain absolutely unaltered and unresolved since 2001.

The Palestinians, for example, are perhaps further away from the legitimate goal of self-determination than they were. President Obama has followed his predecessor’s policy, isolating the elected Hamas government and backing Israel’s aggression in Gaza and in settlement building.

Puppet American regimes like the ones in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain continue their pro-Western policies and crack down on dissent with impunity and silence from Washington. American troops remain in Iraq.

There is also a sense that the timing of the US operation – miles inside Pakistan and without authority from the country’s government – is also to do with Obama’s attempt to paint himself as a true patriot and a man the country should re-elect next year.

The fact that the news led to rallies on world stock markets and boosted the dollar says as much about the fragility of the global economy as it does about anything else.

Similarly, state-authorised terror in the shape of the Nato war on Libya has given the beleaguered Coalition government in Britain something to brag about. Cameron’s indifference to the death of one of Colonel Gaddafi’s sons and three children in an illegal targeted assassination attempt is a warning to us all.

With the British economy teetering on the edge of a double-dip recession – boosted only by spending spree on bunting for that wedding – war is good for business.

Enemies abroad are being matched by the targeting of the enemy within. The pre-emptive arrests before the wedding were in the spirit of the authoritarian state built by the previous government. Riot police battering Bristolians protesting about yet another Tesco store aimed at driving small shops out of business is also a sign of the times

The market state, as we have warned, long ago abandoned its stewardship of the economy and the welfare of its people in favour of promoting business as the only business of the planet.

Shorn of social responsibilities, the state constantly falls back on its true nature – as an instrument of repression within its borders and military action outside. None of this makes the country a safer place to live, but then the ruling classes are not particularly interested in this as they don’t travel on the Tube or frequent other likely terrorist targets.

In historical and practical terms, the curtain is coming down on bourgeois democracy. We are obliged to replace the decayed political system with something much more democratic and representative, where financial interests are replaced by social and community need. Saturday’s meeting of the People’s Assemblies Network in London has taken on a new significance.

Paul Feldman
Communications editor

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