Yet the information produced by the recent "inquiry" has been useful. It shows, as argued by anti-war protestors at the time, that Blair stands guilty as charged. He lied to get us to support the pre-planned US invasion of Iraq. Most people saw through his nonsense, of course, but it is nice to get confirmation of the fact.
Then Hans Blix said he believed Iraq had destroyed its WMD ten years ago. This could explain the rush to war. Bush and Blair knew the truth and went to war before the UN weapons inspectors told the world. If that happened then the Bush Junta and its poodle would have had to invent a new "bureaucratic" reason for the invasion.
Of the pre-war justifications for war, not a single one has been proved right. No WMD (little wonder Blair and Bush now talk of "programmes"). No Hitler-like Iraqi war machine. Rather we had a clapped out state using decades old technology trying to resist the world's most advanced war machine (and its poodle). Not that we should be that surprised. Iraq was, after all, picked precisely because it was no threat.
The dossier is a side issue. Regardless of the inane language, arguments and conclusions of Blair's committee, there is no difference between "sexing up" a dossier and selectively picking and exaggerating "intelligence." The real issue is that the government lied to justify an illegal, immoral and imperialist war and that (most of) the media went along with the lies (as usual).
Since September 11th, the US has killed (at least) three times the number of civilians murdered on that day in 2001. In Iraq, it is (minimally) two times that number. According to sources from Iraq, it is over ten times. Yet, as usual, only Western victims seem to count (literally and figuratively, as the US made it clear that it will not count the civilians they kill).
The hypocrisy of the US knows no bounds - dead civilians are only important when they can further US interests. Those killed by Saddam in the 1980s and 1991 only became important once he became a hindrance to the US, at the time they were happily sacrificed for the benefit of the US Imperial need. The same can be said of the victims of the numerous bloodthirsty tyrants, like Saddam, the US supports across the globe today. The same can be said of the Iraqis killed by the US occupying forces.
But all these are basic truisms - or should be. Sadly the ability of the media to kow-tow to power is incredible. Rather than state the obvious truth and place it in its real historical context, the media twists and turns to obscure reality and repeat the party line.
So what now? As far as Iraq goes, we must oppose the occupation. Bush's request for $87 billion to supplement the billions ($3.9 billion a month!) already wasted in war is a sick joke. For every gun made, for every aircraft and tank built, every weapon used, then homes and hospitals are not built, health and education are not funded, the vulnerable and the planet are not protected. Militarism is the theft of resources from those who need them, feeding a corrupt corporate system
Claims that Bush is acting to benefit Iraqis are nonsense. His request for UN aid is only for the benefit of the US, allowing it to free up resources to threaten others by lifting part of its self-imposed burden in Iraq.
To those who claim that the US cannot withdraw until they fix what they have broken, we say that they are wrong. No constructive work can occur as long as the country is occupied. Resources will be directed to the defence and interests of the occupying power, not the Iraqi people. Moreover, they will be wasted in rebuilding what has been destroyed again and again in the fight against the occupying powers.
The simple truth is that Iraq can only be rebuilt in the interests of the Iraqi people when they do it themselves. An Iraq rebuilt under occupation will be rebuilt in the interests of the occupiers - this is what the US has already started to do. More than this, Iraq will only be free and rebuilt when the Iraqi people control their own fate, directly. Only a federation of community and workplace assemblies (anarchism) will ensure an Iraq run by and for its people. If it retains government and capitalism, an independent Iraq will be rebuilt in the interests of the minority in power (i.e. Iraqi bosses rather than US ones). In other words, the struggle against imperial occupation must become a struggle against both home-grown and foreign capitalism. The same, of course, applies here.
And what of here? The "Stop the War Coalition" (SWC) has failed. It did not stop the war, unsurprisingly given its tactics. Marching from A to B, while often necessary, will not stop the state. The massive march on February 15th is proof enough of that. Yet this did not stop the SWC leaflet advertising the 27th of September London march stating (incredibly) "help make it a huge protest which Tony Blair cannot ignore"! While SWC marches may allow the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), whose front it is, to sell more papers, they will not stop the war. It simply expresses the weakness of liberal pacifism and the SWP's opportunistic, reformist and directionless politics.
Voting for better, more socialist, leaders will not work either. Electioneering has always de-radicalised those who use it. Over a hundred years of the labour movement using it resulted in a string of sell-out leaders and, ultimately, Blair himself. Yet many refuse to learn the lessons of history, seemingly surprised when their party tones down its rhetoric to match its reformist practice.
Only direct action, based on a movement which links war to the system that creates it and fights both, could have stopped the war machine. Mass marches are only the launching pad for more effective action - blockades, occupations, strikes, walkouts. While the SWC and SWP paid lip-service to such action, it is clear that they could not organise, nor inspire, them.
Only a strong anti-parliamentarian movement, one which fights capitalism and the state in our workplaces and communities, could have been the basis for an effective anti-war movement. Building such a movement is our task. To stop the next war we need to make the link between war and capitalism. We need to show that the resources wasted in killing people are the product of our unpaid labour and can and should be used to improve our lives, both here and abroad: That war is the health of the state and can only be stopped by mass resistance.
This will be a lot harder than walking from A to B. It means sustained activity where we live and work. It means building the spirit of solidarity and revolt, so that people will feel they have the power to change things by their own efforts, and turn this feeling into reality. It will take time, and will be difficult, but it is the only way.