THE widow of Guardsman Anthony Wakefield, Ann Toward, is 100 per cent correct – Tony Blair is to blame for the death of her husband, and for the plight of her children who are now fatherless.
In fact, he shares the blame with President George Bush for the deaths of up to 100,000 Iraqis who died during the war and the continuing occupation, as well as some 2,000 imperialist coalition soldiers.
We now know, from the published minutes of a top secret cabinet meeting, that as early as July 2002 Blair was plotting regime change in Iraq, while he was stating publicly that he was opposed to going to war to get rid of Iraq’s internationally-recognised government, led by Saddam Hussein.
He requested the then chief of the general staff, Admiral Boyce, to supply him with the military plans for an invasion of Iraq within days.
Britain’s spy chief, Sir Richard Dearlove, told the meeting that war was ‘inevitable’ because ‘Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action’, and ‘intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’.
We also know that at the same meeting, Blair’s Foreign Secretary Straw spoke up to say that the ‘reasons’ for going to war with Iraq were ‘thin’, since Saddam was not a threat to his neighbours, and Iran, Libya and North Korea were much more powerfully equipped with WMD.
He suggested a stratagem of demanding that Saddam allow the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq, a refusal of which would create a much better cause for war.
In fact, Saddam allowed the return of the weapons inspectors, and on the same day that the UN chief inspector, Hans Blix, observed that Iraq was co-operating in the destruction of rockets and other weapons, March 7, 2003, the attorney general handed over his legal advice on the legality or otherwise of the war to the Prime Minister.
This was shown neither to the cabinet nor to the General Staff, nor to the House of Commons, only to Blair henchmen such as Defence Minister Hoon.
This was because, in it, Lord Goldsmith said that a court of justice could find that the war was illegal. He added that war for the sake of regime change would be illegal, and that the force that could be used in a war with Iraq would have to be proportionate to the danger that Iraq posed, which Straw had already said was virtually non-existent.
When the military stated that it would not go to war unless it was assured in black and white that the war was legal – for fear that officers and men could end up before war crimes tribunals – Goldsmith produced a statement that was read to the House of Lords on March 17 that the war was legal.
Blair then addressed the House of Commons ‘fixing the intelligence and facts’ as described by Dearlove, with his notorious statement that Iraq could use WMD within 45 minutes of a directive being given, and was a danger to its neighbours and to British troops in Cyprus.
On March 20, Iraq was attacked by a massive shock and awe air onslaught that was dominated by the aim of killing Saddam Hussein and the entire Iraqi leadership.
There followed the invasion, the occupation, the destruction of the country and the confirmation that Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction at all, and had been completely defenceless.
Iraqis who have resisted the illegal occupation have been killed in their thousands in assaults on cities such as Fallujah and Kerbala.
Blair and his cabinet are war criminals and have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis as well as UK soldiers on their hands.
The military families who are determined that Blair and his cabinet should face a trial are correct.
However, the labour movement must take its own action. It must bring down the Blair government and go forward to a workers’ government that will withdraw all troops from Iraq, pay Iraq compensation for the huge damage that it has sustained and carry out socialist policies at home.