I shouldn't be writing this. I have little time for anything but real work this month, and should put the intellecutal crack cocaine of blogging to one side, especially when it is little more than an exercise in venting spleen and dismay.
But two things I read propel me on a day when 65 people are reported killed by bombs in Baghdad and the UN estimates that 34,452 Iraqi civilians were killed in 2006 (last week the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees announced an emergency appeal for what it said were an estimated 3.7 million Iraqis displaced internally or fled abroad as a result of the fighting. The agency said that about 1 in 8 Iraqis had left their homes, in what it called "the largest population movement in the Middle East since Palestinians were displaced following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948".)
First, what looks like further confirmation in a Guardian report that Tony Blair and his government lied, yet again, in support of the claim that the rule of law should be "balanced" by concerns of national security. It would be nice to be funny like Al Franken in Lies and the Lying Liers Who Tell Them, but somehow the joke just doesn't come. Does Blair already have directorships with BAE and the Carlyle Group lined up for when he steps down?
Second, Paul Rogers's December briefing for the Oxford Research Group. This digs deeper than the significance of the dispatching of Saddam Hussein on which it focuses at first, and is worth reading in its entirety. But it is unpleasant, and timely, to be reminded that if Saddam's role in the Anfal campaign had been tried in open court, "there is little doubt that much evidence would have been presented on the nature of the relationship of the regime to western states, especially the United States". The guy just had to go. [Rogers is scrupulous, reminding readers that France and the Soviet Union were key arms suppliers to Saddam]