Socialist Worker

Even the diplomats don't back the war

Issue No. 1899

'DOOMED TO failure." That was the conclusion of 52 ambassadors and top officials in a letter to Tony Blair slamming his relationship with Bush and his policies on Iraq and Palestine. These officials come from one of the most privileged and loyal layers of the British establishment.

Yet Blair's craven support for Bush has stung even them into attacking him. Their comments reflect the wider concern in the British establishment with Blair's policies. They also destroy the key arguments used by Bush and Blair. "The international community has now been confronted with the announcement by Ariel Sharon and President Bush of new policies which are one-sided and illegal and which will cost yet more Israeli and Palestinian blood," says their letter.

"This abandonment of principle comes at a time when rightly or wrongly we are portrayed throughout the Arab and Muslim world as partners in an illegal and brutal occupation in Iraq. To describe the resistance as led by terrorists, fanatics and foreigners is neither convincing nor helpful. The Iraqis killed by coalition forces probably total 10-15,000 (it is a disgrace that the coalition forces themselves appear to have no estimate), and the number killed in the last month in Fallujah alone is apparently several hundred including many civilian men, women and children."

The diplomats' letter confirms what the anti-war movement has been saying for the last 12 months. A top Arab newspaper last week summed up the anger many feel over the war. It described how the US Apache helicopters in Iraq were emulating Ariel Sharon's repression of the Palestinians.

The paper said, "Apache freedom, Apache democracy and an Apache regime are all that the Bush administration has given Iraq so far." The response of the British diplomats shows just how isolated Blair has become, and how weak he is.

They are driven by a desire not to see British foreign policy in ruins. But their stance should encourage the millions of others sickened by the slaughter in Iraq to try even harder to get rid of Bush's ever-loyal ally Blair.

End the Occupation of Iraq, Freedom for Palestine demonstration, this Thursday, 29 April. Assemble, 5pm, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1. Demonstrate outside US embassy, 6pm. Called by Student Stop the War Coalition.

Fiat strikers in Italy

Fiat workers in Potenza, southern Italy, fought with police on Monday of this week, their seventh day on strike. The workers are battling for more pay and against changes to their shifts. Police attacked the strikers after they refused to move away from the Fiat plant entrance.

May Day protests show spirit of resistance

MAY DAY is international workers' day. For over 100 years it has been the day when workers have celebrated solidarity and internationalism with the slogan "Workers of the world unite". From Russia during the 1917 revolution, to Portugal during its 1974 revolution May Day has been a chance for workers to demonstrate their strength.

May Day protests were at the centre of political strikes in the 1980s in apartheid South Africa. May Day demonstrators have defied repression in Turkey and South Korea to march. This year many protesters will march despite being banned and in face of armed police.

One thing will be present on all the May Day demonstrations-opposition to war on Iraq. Socialist Worker urges all its readers to get involved in this year's May Day demonstrations, and to seize the opportunity of the bank holiday weekend to campaign for Respect, which can help deliver a blow against Blair on 10 June.

  • May Day march, Saturday 1 May, assemble 12 noon, Clerkenwell Green, London. Called by South East TUC and Globalise Resistance

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    Article information

    What We Think
    Sat 1 May 2004, 00:00 BST
    Issue No. 1899
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