16 June 2011
“I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.” — Winston Churchill in 1920 when referring to Iraqi tribes people.
Now let me get this straight: In order to save civilian lives (the infamous ‘Right to Protect’), the Empire, through its Rottweiller NATO, not only deindustrializes Libya but it also causes a mass exodus of refugees hundreds of whom drowned and many thousands more were left stranded, attacked and abused. The Pirates attempted to assassinate Gaddafi but succeeded in killing women and children instead. The Pirates bomb educational infrastructure, communications, power, agriculture and terrorize the population from the air and sea with the combined military might of the most powerful countries on the planet. So this is what humanitarian intervention looks like?
The reality of it is that in the ‘good old days’ they made no bones about the issue of keeping the natives in their place, phrases like humanitarian intervention would have made Churchill laugh. Though perhaps, just as with our current leaders and its lapdog mass media, Churchill would have appreciated the propaganda value of ‘humanitarian intervention’ for domestic audiences.
And after all, the Libyans, Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Somalians, Yemenis and Serbians don’t need to be told what ‘humanitarian intervention’ really is.
Check out the following to get an idea of how the Empire viewed the ‘peasants’ back in 1920:
…On 19 February, 1920, before the start of the Arab uprising, Churchill (then Secretary for War and Air) wrote to Sir Hugh Trenchard, the pioneer of air warfare. Would it be possible for Trenchard to take control of Iraq? This would entail “the provision of some kind of asphyxiating bombs calculated to cause disablement of some kind but not death…for use in preliminary operations against turbulent tribes.”
Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis (as well as against other peoples in the Empire): “I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.” Henry Wilson shared Churchill’s enthusiasm for gas as an instrument of colonial control but the British cabinet was reluctant to sanction the use of a weapon that had caused such misery and revulsion in the First World War. Churchill himself was keen to argue that gas, fired from ground-based guns or dropped from aircraft, would cause “only discomfort or illness, but not death” to dissident tribespeople; but his optimistic view of the effects of gas were mistaken. It was likely that the suggested gas would permanently damage eyesight and “kill children and sickly persons, more especially as the people against whom we intend to use it have no medical knowledge with which to supply antidotes.”
Churchill remained unimpressed by such considerations, arguing that the use of gas, a “scientific expedient,” should not be prevented “by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly”. In the event, gas was used against the Iraqi rebels with excellent moral effect “though gas shells were not dropped from aircraft because of practical difficulties” — ‘British Use of Chemical Weapons in Iraq‘
So what’s the difference between the Pirates of today and those of yesteryear? None as far as I can see, all that’s changed is that these days, our rulers have to be more prudent and work a lot harder to sell us the idea of recolonization, disguising the entire sordid affair as ‘humanitarian intervention’. And, if it wasn’t for the direct collusion between the Pirates and the media, I’m certain it would be a lot more difficult to pull off such an outrageous stunt.
To bring it up to date, Churchill’s modern-day equivalent, British foreign secretary William Hague would no doubt be saying that the use of ‘bunker buster‘ bombs on the people of Libya was a ‘scientific expedient’, though no doubt we’ll have to wait fifty years (if at all) before we get to read Hague’s private thoughts on the subject.
And what’s more, Churchill’s view that “only discomfort or illness, but not death” would result parallels the current notion that ‘precision targeting’ and ‘smart weapons’ somehow know the difference between military combatant and civilian. Aside from the sheer imbecility of the idea, it is, just as with ‘humanitarian intervention’, designed to make the notion of blowing people to bits, more palatable to domestic audiences.
In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with the BBC’s view of ‘humanitarian intervention’. In a puff piece for the invasion, the BBC tells us that following a visit to Benghazi William Hague was “‘inspired’ by Libyan rebels”. The piece goes on:
“”But we are also encouraging the National Transitional Council to put more flesh on their proposed transition, to lay out in more detail this coming week what would happen on the day that Gaddafi went. Who would be running what, how a new government would be formed.””– ‘William Hague ‘inspired’ by Libyan rebels‘, BBC Website, 5 June 2011.
Hague’s statement that he needs to know “Who would be running what, [and] how [would] a new government be formed”? reveals the real nature of the invasion and especially of the Empire’s view of its so-called allies in Benghazi.
The bottom line is that in the ninety years that has passed since Churchill ranted on about gassing “uncivilized tribes” not a damn thing has changed except the language used to describe and justify such barbarism. The BBC is quite at home glorifying the use of such gruesome weapons as the following ‘news’ items illustrate:
VIDEO: Preparing Apaches for action in Libya
UK Apache attack helicopters have been used over Libya for the first time, Nato has confirmed. BBC News 04/06/2011
RAF to get Libya ‘bunker busters’
The addition of 2,000lb “bunker busting” bombs to the weaponry of the Royal Air Force is set to boost capabilities for missions over Libya, the Ministry of Defence. BBC News 29/05/2011
How easily the warfare state’s mantras roll off the BBC’s slick tongue. Blowing people up is now “boost[ing] capabilities for missions”. Any idea that this means blowing people to pieces has been surgically removed by the slick media meisters in the BBC’s propaganda/editorial department, espousing views that would not be out-of-place in the England of the 1920s (or even the 1820s!).