News meeows - 23

Tony Blair’s sycophancy towards the US is well-known. He is now defending himself before the first official grilling of sending 45,000 troops to Iraq in 2003. That is six years too late.

His remarks are completely off:

“This isn’t about a lie, or a conspiracy, or a deceit, or a deception, this is a decision. And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam’s history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over 1 million people whose deaths he caused, given 10 years of breaking UN resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programme? I believed ... that we were right not to run that risk.”

Was this his decision or his Party’s? Or was it prompted by America? Had Saddam caused deaths outside his country? Did anyone in Iraq seek western intervention? Now that no WMDs have been found, he is talking about the threat of Saddam reconstituting his weapons programme. Does the West not have the technical arsenal to know about such earth-shaking occurrences? Aren’t they warning the rest of the world about imminent attacks? Weapons programmes do not just drop from certain skies or sprout from the soil of selected nations. It takes some work and that can be traced.

The more amazing comment is Blair being concerned about Saddam breaking UN resolutions. Apparently he had already promised Bush his support to get to the weapons for, “If we tried the UN route and that failed, my view was it had to be dealt with.”

So, the possibility of the UN route failing was there. Could not Saddam have utilised those same loopholes and tardiness?

And then he has the gumption to state that the post-war planning was flawed:

“The planning assumption that...everybody made was that there would be a functioning civil service. Contrary to what we thought ... we found a completely broken system.”

What did he expect? After decimating a country pretending to help it, there would be a system that would work so that the West could arrive to the sound of bugles and put up a puppet regime?

This war was a lie and deceit. And there ought to be international legal provisions to try leaders of countries that use the UN as their toad.

- - -

Can Shahrukh Khan please thank the Shiv Sena? Or has he already done it much before the ‘controversy’? I hate to revisit the IPL saga, but when the first bits of news trickled in I did not read a single comment by the actor. He came in later to say that the Pakistanis and Australians must be allowed to play. Now, the Shiv Sena has asked its party’s loyal workers to tear posters of the not-yet-released film My Name Is Khan.

Last night I was watching a discussion between a SS guy and an activist, Gerson da Cunha. We know what the SS guy must have said, but Mr da Cunha wondered why the Shiv Sena has not done anything about ‘Bombay’ Port or the ‘Bombay’ Times. I found the latter bit intriguing. The gentleman, although among the few truly genuine people as per my instinct, is pretty much visible on Page 3. It was, therefore, a bit surprising that he brought this up. Also, he made a specific reference to the TOI “at Bori Bunder”! As many of you might not be aware, that stretch was called that, the Bori standing for the Bohris – a sect of Muslims. I think he was trying to make a point.

Anyhow, after that I changed channels and there was Sharukh on a news programme talking with Karan Johar and Kajol and they did their hokey-pokey routine. Is anyone from the SS objecting to the promos, the interviews on TV, in the newspapers?

No. Because the SS needs to be in the news and so do the people “in trouble”, especially if the trouble is going to get them the attention they need at the moment.

The Shiv Sena is a public service organisation that keeps our celebrities in fine fettle. The film is to release only in the second week of this month. Our Home Minister P. Chidambaram has come out and spoken about how he would like to see the Pak players in action. He said it was his personal opinion. The Home Minister cannot appear before the media and give his personal opinion on a subject that has the nation in thrall and is already a diplomatic disaster. No one asked him what his favourite video game was.

So, Shahrukh gets Congress support but being a good Maharashtrian he will also be nice to the SS…maybe an apology, maybe a special meeting with the Supremo where ‘the matter will be resolved’? And then a special screening with buttered popcorn?

- - -

How important is it for anyone to have news channels discuss Sania Mirza’s broken engagement? We know that the media is intrusive and we are. If it has to be reported, fine. Be done with it. But, no. They were playing Hindi film songs in the background and brought in the third party factor, too. Worse, her publicity-hungry father was telling media persons about “incompatibility”, and one anchor in the studio said how can they now become incompatible when they were compatible when they got engaged?

Clearly, this woman has no idea. Did the media ask them whether they planned to get married because they were compatible? It could have been that he liked watching her play.

This has given enough grist for the glossies and sundry snippets to debate the issue about women’s achievement and men’s insecurity. Ten people are asked ten questions in ten places and they give ten answers which effectively say nothing that we don’t already know.

For the 'don’t already know' and my views, watch this space. (Hah, isn’t that how the media keeps you hooked? I am just tryin’ my hand at it too!)


  1. I mean, seriously, what were the rest of the people in the British govt. doing when Blair was nibbling at Bush's nose under the mulberry tree?

    People want to be "leaders", but what they do not realize is that when things go sideways, the leaders are made scapegoats by the general public.

    "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad is a real-life tale of King Leopold's Belgium plundering the Congo by terrorizing the local people. The Belgians were all fine with getting free diamonds from the Congo until a British journalist broke the story of how the Belgian soldiers were chopping the limbs off the Congo people to terrorize them to work the mines for free. (Oliver Stone's "Apocalypse Now" -- a tale of the vietnam war --- is loosely based on the scenes described in Joseph Conrad's book).

  2. There was no post-war planning required, All Bliar had to do was read MJ Akbar's columns and the strategy would fall in place.

    If not, he just had to refer to History and all answers would be found there, As to how Iraqi's chase away conquerors/liberators.

    Looks like Britain has not learnt from its earlier experiences.

  3. Farzana,
    A recent movie on the topic - In the Loop - articulates the diplomatic events leading to War on Iraq in a wonderfully satirical way.
    Oh , and BTW, American Democrats are fond of believing and blaming Bush for destruction of Iraq. Bush (Bush Jr.), actually , annihilated / destroyed the Iraqi state. Operation "Let Us Screw Iraq" had started much earlier (in fact, during Clinton Era) before Bush's war started.

  4. Al:

    You think our leaders are following what they watch in films? Seriously, it does look like it.


    Has history ever taught politicians anything except to repeat mistakes?


    Operation "Let Us Screw Iraq" had started much earlier (in fact, during Clinton Era) before Bush's war started

    Hush. Bush does not seem to know this!


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