"Then shall the realm of Albion come to great confusion"
posted by k
Today the Prime Minister stood on H.M.S. Albion in Plymouth.
He promised war. His speech didn't make sense. He said peacekeeping was a retreat unless it was accompanied by "war fighting". Perhaps he thinks the Sermon on the Mount contains the verse, "Blessed are the war fighters".
The speech takes the usual line that 9/11 was a turning-point in history, which makes a good story. The speech is full of stories. Moving seemlessly from 9/11 to Afghanistan to Saddam Hussein, the story suggests Saddam was involved in 9/11. He wasn't. The story almost says that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There weren't. The truth about western involvement with Taleban and Saddam Hussein doesn't fit. Inconvenient truths are kept out of the way.
It's a very dangerous story. It ends as a spy story and conspiracy theory. There's a world-wide enemy whose tentacles are everywhere, infiltrating states and communities. Governments often turn to conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories help win elections (think of the Zinoviev letter or the so-called "Protocols of the Elders of Zion").
Look closely at Blair's story:
"Put simply, September 11 2001 changed everything. Three thousand people died on the streets of New York. They did so as a result of a terrorist, suicide mission. The mission was planned and organised by the Al Qaida group out of a failed state, Afghanistan, thousands of miles away. The state was run by a fanatical, religiously motivated dictatorship, the Taleban. Even now, the bald facts of what happened are utterly extraordinary.
"But though September 11 did indeed change the way we look at the world, the profound nature of the change for our armed forces was not immediately apparent.
"In October 2001, the Taleban in Afghanistan was subject to military action. Within two months by the use of vast airpower, they were driven from office. In military terms the victory seemed relatively easy. The cost to our forces was minimal.
"Eighteen months later, with Saddam consistently refusing to abide by UN Resolutions and with alarm at the proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Iraq was invaded. This time it was more difficult and more costly. Nonetheless, Saddam was removed within 3 months, again by the exercise of overwhelming military firepower.
"What was unclear then but is very clear now is that what we were and are confronted with, is of a far more fundamental character than we supposed. September 11 wasn't the incredible action of an isolated group, a one-off strike masterminded by Osama Bin Laden. It was the product rather of a world-wide movement, with an ideology based on a misreading of Islam, whose roots were deep, which had been growing for years and with the ability to mount a radically different type of warfare requiring a radically different type of response. What we face is not a criminal conspiracy or even a fanatical but fringe terrorist organisation. We face something more akin to revolutionary Communism in its early and most militant phase. It is global. It has a narrative about the world and Islam's place within it that has a reach into most Muslim societies and countries. It adherents may be limited. Its sympathisers are not. It has states or at least parts of the governing apparatus of states that give it succour."
This isn't just propaganda to win an election. This is propaganda to justify an unceasing war. This is the new empire.
Blair tells us what he expects. We should be very afraid:
There's a gale outside. The world hurtles to catastrophe. It's time to take a stand against the madness and lies.
Note: The photo by Peter Kennard was in the window of Santa's Ghetto in Oxford Street last year. It is even more relevant now than it was three weeks ago.