Whilst the government called Ed Miliband “a fucking cunt” and a “copper-bottomed shit” for saying no to a repeat of Iraq, it would appear the French – who did say no to Iraq all those years ago – have known that Syria has had chemical weapons for at least thirty years:
The announcement comes after Sunday’s French paper, Journal du Dimanche, said French intelligence agents had compiled information showing that some of the weapons had been stockpiled for nearly 30 years.
And if the French have known it, surely the NSAs and GCHQs of the world have known it just as much.
Which brings us to the matter of a request by a UK company to export precursors of chemical weapons to the Syrian government last year. Here we have the British government’s reaction, via the Lib Dem member of the Coalition, Vince Cable. A little disingenuous to say the least:
The licences for the two chemicals were granted on 17 and 18 January last year for “use in industrial processes” after being assessed by Department for Business officials to judge if “there was a clear risk that they might be used for internal repression or be diverted for such an end”, according to the letter sent by Mr Cable to the arms controls committee.
Mr Cable said: “The licences were granted because at the time there were no grounds for refusal.”
No grounds for refusal – except thirty years of stockpiling, Mr Cable.
So what do we have then? A UK Coalition government, which commits austerity violence on its own population, gaily spending our taxpayer dosh on coming to decisions to export potentially dangerous chemicals to war-torn regions – war-torn regions where their government is one of the few which hasn’t signed international treaties on not using the WMDs that can be made from such chemicals … and this UK Coalition I talk of finds itself able to congratulate itself that it has complied with the law, even as it foul-mouths the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition for saying no to any resulting Western “intervention”.
Which by the way would, as a Facebook photo that just whizzed through my feed pointed out, involve members of our Armed Forces “fighting [in a way] alongside Al Qaeda in a Syrian civil war”.
This, I feel most strongly, is the result of what we might term the psychodrama of austerity unspooling. What I’m not quite sure of is whether we were brutal and incoherent abroad first – and then learnt how to be so at home. Or, perhaps more likely, vice versa – in a (sociopolitical) vice of totally immoral proportions.
When you learn how to treat your own people as scroungers, wasters, chavs and layabouts, how much easier it must be to think that on the foreign stage you can prance your incongruences – brightly flailing their idiocy and unkindness without anyone caring.
He (or she) who can call the Leader of the Opposition a “shit” and a “cunt” is able to see all voters, all opponents, all anti-war activists, all thinking people who are unsure of this matter … everyone who does not instinctively agree with what only starts out as yet another drone- and cruise-missile-led adventure … well, anyone who does not automatically say yes is also going to be seen as a “shit”. No wonder austerity is so easy for them. We are simply bits and pieces of political (sometimes literal) cannon fodder in a cruel and global conflict.
The problem here, of course, and I leave it without resolution on my part, is that whilst Iraq was the war we should’ve said no to – a war, in fact, the French did say no to – perhaps this Syria biz is quite something else.
What’s more, if the French are prepared to declassify intelligence which shows Western governments knew that Syria had stockpiled chemical weapons for nigh on thirty years, and then did absolutely nothing about it, it surely does beg the following question:
“How can our own political institutions and structures choose to make money out of such evil political trajectories – and then expect us to vote in favour of anything the former propose?”
From chemical weapons to Saddam’s unspeakable WMDs to austerity politics where the poor are savaged by the consequences of the acts of the rich, even as the rich are able to emerge unscathed, we have a politics which is broken quite as badly as it ever could be.
No wonder we feel like being shits to the profession. They’ve been cunts to us all along.