31 May 2004

Never mind the truth

Sadly, we are not about to find out. What will in fact happen on June 30 is that a former CIA operative, Iyad Allawi, who was picked by the US with little involvement from the United Nations, will head a puppet regime. This 'sovereign' country will have 138,000 US troops on its soil, not to mention soldiers from Britain and elsewhere, and its 'sovereign' leader will have no control over what they do. 'US forces remain under US command and will do what is necessary to protect themselves,' says Colin Powell.

Tony Blair for once disagreed. 'If there is a political decision as to whether you go into a place like Fallujah in a particular way, that has to be done with the consent of the Iraqi government and the final political control remains with the Iraqi government,' he said. But by the next day he was back in his box. 'We are both absolutely agreed that there should be full sovereignty transferred to the Iraqi people, and the multinational force should remain under American command,' he told the Commons.

In so doing he revealed two of the golden rules in this new era of politics by pronouncement. First, so long as you say things boldly and confidently, they do not have to make any sense. Second, whatever announcement you make last negates all announcements you've made before.

Indeed, Blair, of whom Doris Lessing, the novelist, once said: 'He believes in magic. That if you say a thing, it is true,' is the high priest of this dark art.

If you want a local example, then consider the government's refusal to make Major O''Kane available for questioning by the Senate on the content of the October Red Cross report. Apparently if a report falls in the forest and no-one hears, then there was never any report.

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