24 May 2008

Mumia Abu-Jamal celebrates Bob

Well we know the British parliament for £1.80 a pint bitter, expenses for garden furniture and a general attitude of 'fuck the politics where is my lunch'.

To Mumia Abu-Jamal the mother of democracy looks a bit better from the other side of the Atlantic...here he is praising Bob Marshall-Andrews work on an inquiry into the Gulf War....obviously the minority of radical MPS who do work for social change demand our sympathy...Adam Price and the long suffering John McDonnell come to mind...hope to have a few Green MPs in Westminster soon to get involved. But lets face it, Westminister is usually the last place where politics happens...but then again as Mumia reminds us, it looks like the Paris commune compared to the supine US congress.

Bob's campaign work against the Kingsnorth power station is great and he lives in a famous eco-house...right that's enough being nice to members of the Labour Party for this year...on to Mumia....very nice example of Mumia's brilliant political journalism by the way.

A Congress That's More Than A Rubber Stamp
[col. writ. 5/15/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

As America limps toward the November elections, fatigued by the
exertions of war, numb to the lofty promises of politicians, in dread of the economic
dragons growling on the horizon, the role of Congress could not be more

That's one of the reasons that GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John
McCain (R. Ariz.) has called for a change in congressional tradition, to one which
allows the President to answer questions before the body.

It reminded me of the March 25, 2008 vote in the British House of
Commons, where members of Parliament debated whether to open an official inquiry
into the reasons for starting the war. Not surprisingly, the vote lost,
largely along Party lines, as the ruling Labour members voted to protect their
party, which sponsored and spearheaded the Iraq War, and avoided a formal inquiry.

Most, but not all.

A dozen Labour backbenchers bolted party ranks to express their support
for an inquiry, in terms rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic.

And even though the inquiry vote failed by some 50 votes, it marked a
period of questioning of the sort that should actually precede wars, not follow
them. Robert Marshall-Andrews, a Labour member of parliament (MP) from
Medway, brought up the infamous Downing Street memo, which told uncomfortable
truths about the then coming war. Marshall-Andrews announced:

"The first is what was revealed in the Downing street
memo of July 2002, reported by The Sunday (London)
Times in an unusual contribution to the debate. It was
recorded that at that meeting in Downing street in July
2002 Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of secret
intelligence or 'C', as he was known, had reported from America to
the War Cabinet,....that:

'There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military
action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But
the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the

According to the then Foreign Secretary, "Bush has made up his mind to
take military action.... But the case was thin."

Ultimately, of course, it didn't matter. Who needs evidence, when you
can make it up?

M. P. Marshall-Andrews then spoke words that will never be heard in the
U.S. Congress:

"The real point of the debate, and of any inquiry that
may be held, is not to learn lessons so that we do not make mistakes again.
That is one reason, but I want an inquiry to be held into the Iraq war because
I want those responsible to be brought to the book and to justice. If
necessary, they should be brought to international justice, but I want us to be
the ones who bring them to it."

At this point, Conservative Party member, Humphrey Malins,
of Woking, joined in:

"I support the honorable and learned gentleman's argument
with all the strength that I can muster, but may I remind him gently that
some Opposition Members at the time took the view that he is expressing? I was
one of those who resigned as a shadow Minister because of the illegal war.
Does he agree that, when we look back at our parliamentary lives, we may well
regard the decision to go to war with Iraq as the worst and most horrible
decision that this Parliament has made?"

Labourite Marshall-Andrews would heartily agree, and he would add:

"Indeed, beside that decision, all our other achievements
and deficiencies -- and there have been many of both--pale into
insignificance. The circumstances and repercussions of what we did then have swept well
past Iraq. As Tacitus noted, one victory can create a thousand enemies, and
that is precisely what happened."

These are some of just a few voices in the Parliament of the junior
partner in the Iraq debacle.

When should we expect such voices in the U.S. Congress?

--(c) '08 maj

{Source: Labour & Trade Union Review, (No. 187: May 2008), pp.4-5.

1 comment:

James Caspell said...

Bob is a strange one - for all of his rebellion (I think between 2001-2005 he was the most rebellious Labour MP, he still endorsed Brown for the leadership instead of John McDonnell. Would love to know why!?

Vote No Heathrow

Just had this via Roger Hallam of Vote No Heathrow, please spread the word. Things are rapidly taking off for the campaign now the hung...