The Guardian | Owen Jones: We know how the story goes. The decision for war is made long in advance. That becomes the end point, and the evidence must be marshalled to achieve that goal. A long-lasting government suddenly becomes an imminent threat. Exiles with minimal connections to their country of origin, but with fat bank balances, extensive links with rightwing thinktanks, multinational companies and western security services are wheeled out to solemnly declare that war must be waged on their homeland. A litany of never-ending human rights abuses is endlessly detailed: the sort ignored by our elites if they are committed by our allies, like the Saudi dictatorship, which has plunged Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Critics of war are demonised as stooges or useful idiots of an enemy that imperils national security and menaces its own people, and as haters of their own country.
It happened in Iraq, it happened in Libya, too: both countries were swiftly drowned in blood and chaos. In a just world, one might expect the cheerleaders of these catastrophes – which ended in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, the maiming and traumatising of countless others, created millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, and turned both nations into playgrounds for violent extremists – to be driven from public life in disgrace. Instead they retain their influence – within the US administration (most strikingly in the form of John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser), within the leading echelons of the Conservative party, and within the commentariat. And, without shame but with much bloodlust, they set about building the case for a new war with Iran.
After Jeremy Corbyn suggested that the Trump administration’s pronouncement of Iranian guilt over the tanker attacks needed to be scrutinised, and that “Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf,” he faced a barrage of denunciations. You see, you are more likely to be regarded as a respectable politician if you casually call for wars that will incinerate sleeping infants and annihilate wedding parties than if you call for de-escalation and peace. Never mind that EU foreign ministers echoed Corbyn’s position, demanding an independent UN investigation and more evidence.
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