Earlier this month, Reuben wrote an article examining the media’s newfound war-weariness and how, owing to the fact that almost every major newspaper backed the invasion of Afghanistan, it can only express itself in impotent calls for better equipment.
Now of course, the Iraq war was much more divisive. Many journalists were critical of the plans to invade Iraq from day one and some left-leaning newspapers even actively threw themselves behind the anti-war movement. Needless to say, the Mail was not one of these papers. Pick any good cause, and you can guarantee it’ll be cheering for the other side. Which – six years on, zero weapons of mass destruction found, a million Iraqis dead and billions of pounds blown – puts the Mail and the other right-wing papers in a rather difficult position. How to criticise the war now without admitting to their own mistake in backing it?
The Chilcote Inquiry provides the perfect opportunity. As more and more evidence comes to light showing what the anti-war movement knew all along – the war was never about weapons of mass destruction or humanitarian intervention, it was about regime change and had been planned a year in advance – the hitherto pro-war media can plead ignorance. Not only this, but since the right-wing tabloids are swinging towards the Conservatives for the coming election, it provides them a handy (and wholly deserved) stick with which to beat a crippled Labour government.
Of all the papers, the Mail, more than any other, is going down the ‘we were lied to’ route. Today’s Mail on Sunday wrings its hands with glee at Lord Goldsmith’s secret letter revealing Blair’s deception.”The disclosures deal a massive blow to Mr Blair’s hopes of proving he acted in good faith when he and George Bush declared war on Iraq. And they are likely to fuel further calls for Mr Blair to be charged with war crimes,” writes political editor, Simon Walters.
They’re right, of course, we were lied to, and Blair should be charged with war crimes. But as Obi Wan Kenobi once said: ‘Who’s more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?’