The War against Reason

There's an old story about Oliver Cromwell. After he had taken the Irish town of Drogheda the citizens were brought to the main square. Cromwell announced to his lieutenants: "Right! Kill all the women and rape all the men." One of his aides said: "Excuse me, general. Isn't it the other way around?" A voice from the crowd called out: "Mr Cromwell knows what he's doing."

December 1, 2002 · 3 min read

That voice is the voice of Tony Blair — “Mr Bush knows what he’s doing.”

The fact is that Mr Bush and his gang do know what they’re doing and Blair, unless he really is the deluded idiot he often appears to be, also knows what they’re doing. Bush and company are determined, quite simply, to control the world and the world’s resources. And they don’t give a damn how many people they murder on the way. And Blair goes along with it.

He hasn’t the support of the Labour Party, he hasn’t the support of the country or of the celebrated “international community”. How can he justify taking this country into a war nobody wants? He can’t. He can only resort to rhetoric, cliche and propaganda. Little did we think when we voted Blair into power that we would come to despise him. The idea that he has influence over Bush is laughable. His supine acceptance of US bullying is pathetic.

Bullying is, of course, a time-honoured US tradition. Addressing the Greek ambassador to the US in 1965, Lyndon Johnson said: “Fuck your parliament and your constitution. The US is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fellows continue itching, the elephant they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good.”

He meant what he said. Shortly afterwards the colonels, supported by the US, took over in Greece and the Greek people spent seven years in hell.

As for the US elephant, it has grown to be a monster of grotesque and obscene proportions.

The terrible atrocity in Bali does not alter the facts of the case.

The “special relationship” between the US and the UK has, in the last 12 years, brought about the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia. All this in pursuit of the US and UK “moral crusade” to bring “peace and stability” to the world.

The use of depleted uranium in the Gulf War has been particularly effective. Radiation levels in Iraq are appallingly high. Babies are born with no brain, no eyes, no genitals. Where they do have ears, mouths or rectums, all that issues from these orifices is blood.

Blair and Bush are of course totally indifferent to such facts, not forgetting the charming, grinning, beguiling Bill Clinton, who was apparently given a standing ovation at the Labour Party conference. For what? Killing Iraqi children? Or Serbian children?

Bush has said: “We will not allow the world’s worst weapons to remain in the hands of the world’s worst leaders.” Quite right. Look in the mirror chum. That’s you.

The US is at this moment developing advanced systems of “weapons of mass destruction”, and is prepared to use them where it sees fit. It has walked away from international agreements on biological and chemical weapons, refusing to allow any inspection of its own factories.

It is holding hundreds of Afghans prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, allowing them no legal redress despite their being charged with nothing, holding them captive virtually for ever.

It is insisting on immunity from the international criminal court, a stance that beggars belief but which is now supported by the UK. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Tony Blair’s contemptible subservience to this criminal US regime demeans and dishonours this country.This text was first delivered as a speech to an anti-war meeting at the House of Commons. Harold Pinter is a playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist.



Keep an eye on these key battlegrounds in the US midterms

The U.S. midterm elections take place on November 6. We asked four grassroots activists, all currently canvassing to get out the vote, to tell us which candidates they are backing and what their elections might mean for US politics.

The deadly dangers of the ‘special relationship’

The ties which bind the 'special relationship' between the UK and the US are a toxic mix of militarism and free trade. By Andrew Smith

By withdrawing from the Iran Deal, Trump is gambling with the future of the planet

Jettisoning the deal risks nuclear escalation at a delicate time in Middle East relations, writes Kate Hudson from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament


North Korea is just the start of potentially deadly tensions between the US and China

US-China relations have taken on a disturbing new dimension under Donald Trump, writes Dorothy Guerrero

Letter from the US: Dear rest of the world, I’m just as confused as you are

Kate Harveston apologises for the rise of Trump, but promises to make it up to us somehow

One-state in Palestine: equality, democracy and justice

Omar Barghouti asks whether Donald Trump, in his recent break with America’s long-standing support for the two-state solution, has unwittingly revived the debate about the plausibility, indeed the necessity, of a single, democratic state in historic Palestine?