What is JNV & the JNV Network? JUSTICE not VENGEANCE logo
Home page
What is JNV?
JNV's principles
What we do
Anti-war Briefings & Documents
Events Diary
Useful links

Mailing lists

Sign the Pledge of Resistance against an attack on Iraq
The London Blasts


The London Blasts: Media Review

DAY 20: Wednesday 27 July 2005


Prime Ministerial Realism And Denial






Former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major has linked the Iraq conflict with the London bombing campaign. The Guardian reports:


Sir John said events in the Middle East, including the Iraq war, may have made the threat of terrorism more immediate but had not created it.

"What has happened is not that the Iraq war and other policies created that threat - I think it was there and growing, though it wasn't in full bloom.

"It is possibly true that it has made it more potent and more immediate but, having said that, I think there is absolutely no doubt that we were going to have to confront terrorism at some time."


The BBC adds this sentence following on directly from the above:


"And what I suppose you might say about the events of the Middle East is that they have brought it forward and brought it into focus."


In other words, there is a causal connection between British foreign policy in the Middle East and the London bombings, and the increased risk of terrorism in the UK.




Yesterday, Tony Blair did as we predicted in yesterday's Media Review, and shifted his position on the links between the bombings and Western foreign policy in the Middle East. The Prime Minister said, in his monthly press conference, 'I think, incidentally, I read occasionally that I am supposed to have said it is nothing to do with Iraq, in inverted commas. Actually I haven't said that. If you go back and look at the comments I have made over the past couple of weeks.'


Absolutely true. Mr Blair is too wily to deny such a link (Jack Straw is less nimble, and that is why his change of position two days ago was so jarring). What he has done, consistently, when asked about the link between Iraq (and British foreign policy in general) and the heightened risk of terrorism, has been to avoid the question and point to the long history of al Qaeda-type attacks before 19 March 2003. Implying that such a link is absurd, and not worth disputing, without actually denying it head-on.


The new official line is carefully crafted. Mr Blair makes the critical admission: 'I can see how these people use these issues to recruit people.'


Then he follows it with this spin: 'But you have just said to me something that I think again needs to be dealt with. You have said well cannot you understand how these people justify a sense of grievance by reference to what is happening in Iraq. And my answer to you is no.'


This is the standard confusion between 'understanding what motivates someone to carry out an atrocity' on the one hand, and 'accepting the justification given by someone who carries out an atrocity'. It is a simple device, but executed with masterly professionalism by the Prime Minister, in a typical display of close-up magic. No one lies like the Prime Minister.


Here is a more developed version of the same maneouvre, from the same press conference:


'Frankly the obscenity of these people saying it is concern for Iraq that drives them to terrorism. If it is concern for Iraq, why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them. Why are they every day in Iraq trying to kill people whose only desire is for their country to become a democracy. Why are they trying to kill people in Afghanistan. Why are they trying, every time Israel and Palestine look as if they could come together in some sort of settlement, they go and wreck it. Why are they killing people in Turkey. What is their excuse there, or in Egypt, or in Saudi Arabia. They will always have a reason and I am not saying that any of these things don't affect their warped reasoning and warped logic as to what they do, or that they don't use these things to try and recruit people. But I do say we shouldn't compromise with it. I am not saying anyone says any of these things justify it, but we shouldn't even allow them the vestige of an excuse for what they do. That is my answer to that.'


Mr Blair accepts that the thinking of al Qaeda-type bombers may be affected by the continuing war in Iraq, and that they may use the war to try and recruit new bombers. He avoids the two central points: that the war in Iraq has made more people willing to carry out these kinds of atrocities; and that he entered into the war in full knowledge that this was an almost certain consequence of the invasion. (See the last entry in our first Media Review.)


Mr Blair actually insinuates that anyone making these points is verging on offering a justification to the bombers, a 'vestige of an excuse'.






JNV welcomes feedback.


This page last updated 27 July 2005




^ Top

The London Blasts