Oil will be the driving factor for military intervention in Sudan
* John Laughland
* The Guardian,
* Monday August 2 2004
If proof were needed that Tony Blair is off the hook over Iraq, it came not during the Commons debate on the Butler report on July 21, but rather at his monthly press conference the following morning. Asked about the crisis in Sudan, Mr Blair replied: "I believe we have a moral responsibility to deal with this and to deal with it by any means that we can." This last phrase means that troops might be sent - as General Sir Mike Jackson, the chief of the general staff, immediately confirmed - and yet the reaction from the usual anti-war campaigners was silence.
Mr Blair has invoked moral necessity for every one of the five wars he has fought in this, surely one of the most bellicose premierships in history. The bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998, the 74-day bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999, the intervention in Sierra Leone in the spring of 2000, the attack on Afghanistan in October 2001, and the Iraq war last March were all justified with the bright certainties which shone from the prime minister's eyes. Blair even defended Bill Clinton's attack on the al-Shifa pharmaceuticals factory in Sudan in August 1998, on the entirely bogus grounds that it was really manufacturing anthrax instead of aspirin.
Although in each case the pretext for war has been proved false or the war aims have been unfulfilled, a stubborn belief persists in the morality and the effectiveness of attacking other countries. The Milosevic trial has shown that genocide never occurred in Kosovo - although Blair told us that the events there were worse than anything that had happened since the second world war, even the political activists who staff the prosecutor's office at the international criminal tribunal in The Hague never included genocide in their Kosovo indictment. And two years of prosecution have failed to produce one single witness to testify that the former Yugoslav president ordered any attacks on Albanian civilians in the province. Indeed, army documents produced from Belgrade show the contrary.