At the moment, Britain is experiencing a bit of self-revelation, and that face in the mirror is not entirely beautiful. However brief this moment turns out to be, it is most welcome. We have waited for it -- the world has waited for it -- for a long time.
The recently elected Tory prime minister, David Cameron, was visiting Pakistan recently, giving speeches and doing whatever it is that heads of government do when they visit each other. (Who would know?) In some public forum, someone asked the PM how Britain could help end the row over who controls Kashmir -- Pakistani Muslims or Indian Hindus. (Maybe they should let the Atheists have a go at it?)
Here is his surprising reply: "I don't want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world's problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place." Wha-at? Britain is responsible for so many of the world's problems in the first place? Say it isn't so, David!
Whatever his limitations may be, and they may be legion, I've got to give him credit for telling more truth and admitting more mistakes than his predecessors. Can you imagine Lord North in the 18th century, or Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century, or Winston Churchill in the 20th century, admitting so much?
And that is not all. By no means. The Independent, a respected part of the British press, is running a series of articles examining the run-up to the great Global War on Terrorism. On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, it reported on a meeting in October 2002, five months before the US and the UK and the Coalition of the Willing invaded Iraq. It would appear that while the multinational oil giant BP was publicly expressing "no strategic interest" in Iraq, it was privately pleading with elements in Tony Blair's government, expressing sentiments greatly to the contrary. I only know what I read in the papers, so check the source and draw your own inferences.
The following day, April 20, 2011, another article was published, in which a reference is made to an officer in the Ministry of Defense who -- in May 2002, fully ten months before the invasion -- said to the reporter who wrote the article, "We're planning for ground operations to start on 19 March next year." In reality, the war began on 19 March 2003, with a preliminary air attack by the US on March 18.
Do you think the fix was in, or is this just me?
By the way, I'm not particularly blaming the Brits for starting this part of the GWOT. The Establishment Pentagon and its willing enablers, the Bush Administration, bear total responsibility for this lie-enshrouded war, in my opinion. The British part was simply to advance the usual self-serving lies. And serve up a share of cannon fodder, to assure them a "place at the table" when the Cakewalk into Baghdad was over. God Save the Queen -- especially as the patroness of the British East India Company. And let the natives be damned, as usual.
But now David Cameron speaks out. The times they are a-changin'? Probably not. They have a phrase for this in the circles of British Security. It is called "limited hang-out."