THE OFFICIAL US commission into the 9/11 attacks has delivered a devastating blow to the lies that launched the war on Iraq. Last week the commission ruled out any link between Iraq and Al Qaida. The commission is a mainstream body made up of establishment US politicians. But it found there was "no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States".
The commission also addressed the claim that Mohammed Atta, the leader of the hijackers, had met an Iraqi agent in Prague in April 2001. The commission said, "Based on the evidence available-including investigations by Czech and US authorities plus detainee reporting-we do not believe that such a meeting occurred."
The New York Times reported, "It's hard to imagine how the commission could have put it more clearly. There was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaida, between Saddam Hussein and 11 September."
The claim about Iraq and Al Qaida is not some small detail. Blair told MPs in the run-up to war, "We do know of links between Al Qaida and Iraq."
In his famous address to the UN in February last year, US Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed Iraqi agents were visiting Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Many people believed their lies. In the run-up to the war 57 percent of people in the US believed that Iraq helped Al Qaida and one in five believed that there was a direct link between Iraq and the 11 September attacks.
But having spun their intricate net of lies, Bush and Blair still cannot admit the truth: no weapons of mass destruction, no Iraq link to Al Qaida, no liberation in Iraq after the war. To admit they were criminally wrong (or deliberately lied) would be the first sentence of their resignation letter.
So a day after the commission reported, Bush was still claiming, "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaida is because there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaida." Blair echoed Bush, with a Downing Street spokesperson repeating that Blair "has always said Saddam created a permissive environment for terrorism and we know that people affiliated to Al Qaida operated in Iraq".
Those who launched the war will try to justify it to the end. But the world can see they have created agony and chaos. A week before the fake "handover" of sovereignty the resistance in Iraq continues to grow.
And the turmoil is spreading far beyond Iraq. Saudi Arabia was always seen as the most stable of Middle Eastern states. Now hardly a day passes without a kidnapping, a bombing or a shooting in the streets. Bush and Blair have made the unthinkable into a commonplace.
There must be no let-up in our opposition to the occupation of Iraq. There will be no peace, democracy or freedom until the last US and British troops leave Iraq.
That's why there are protests planned this week to meet Bush as he flies into Europe to attend the EU-US summit in Dublin and the NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
And there will be protests across Britain, and around the world, to coincide with the fake "handover" of power next Wednesday, 30 June.
Pensions: an issue for millions of workers
Around 10,000 people marched in London last Saturday in a protest, organised by the TUC, against the great pensions robbery. The right to a decent pension is also a key issue in the planned strike by Network Rail workers next week. For full march report see page 15, for Network Rail see page 16
Come to MARXISM 2004 a festival of socialist ideas featuring some of the best speakers on the left, 9-16 July, central London for more information turn to page 13