If you’re going to tell a lie, the saying goes, it might as well be a big one. And the lies do not come any bigger than the shameless editorial in this morning’s edition of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, in which the Murdoch goons try to dump the blame for their own bosses’ folly by claiming that the fault for Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War lies solely with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. That’s not quite true, is it?
Maxine Shameless strikes again
The point of the rant is to try and persuade the paper’s dwindling readership to trust politicians (ho ho ho): “SCEPTICISM of politicians is healthy. But too many people, fuelled by social media, indulge in knee-jerk cynicism and baseless distrust which has become appallingly destructive”. But the Sun is less trusted than what people can read on social media. And their blame game is just laughable.
“The fault originates with Tony Blair and his liar Alastair Campbell … Convinced they were doing God’s work, they cared nothing for truth. Their war in Iraq, with its hideous consequences, wounded our MPs’ reputations … The expenses scandal shredded what remained”. The Iraq war, in the retelling, is Blair’s, and his alone.
That will come as a surprise to many who recall that one Rupert Murdoch was in the vanguard of the call for war. As Roy Greenslade pointed out at the time, there were 175 Murdoch papers around the world in 2003, and by the most miraculous of coincidences, all 175 of them shilled unequivocally for the Iraq war. Every last one of them.
Rupe had his own agenda for backing war - he thought it would lead to cheaper oil: “The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy … would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country … Once it [Iraq] is behind us, the whole world will benefit from cheaper oil which will be a bigger stimulus than anything else”.
The Sun, then under the less than benign editorship of Rebekah Wade, put out an article “instructing readers to cut out and use the faces of those who opposed the Iraq war as a dartboard”. It told “You can aim your own missiles at the cowards and traitors who opted to support Saddam Hussein rather than the brave troops who laid down their lives for freedom … These are the people who wrongly told us that war would last months, the Iraqi people did not want it and many thousands of civilians and coalition soldiers would die”.
That article was later pulled. But a copy has been preserved. Heck, even Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, told the Leveson Inquiry “I’m not sure that the Blair government - or Tony Blair - would have been able to take the British people to war if it hadn’t been for the implacable support provided by the Murdoch papers. There’s no doubt that came from Mr Murdoch himself”. The Sun was so gung-ho, one of its feature writers resigned.
And why today’s calling of “liar” on Alastair Campbell? Well, perhaps this has something to do with it: “Rupert Murdoch joined in an ‘over-crude’ attempt by US Republicans to force Tony Blair to accelerate British involvement in the Iraq war a week before a crucial House of Commons vote in 2003, according to the final volumes of Alastair Campbell's government diaries”. Sadly for the Sun, Big Al got that into print five years ago.
There has been no legal action since. And there won’t be. For the Murdoch press to drop cheerleading for the Iraq war on anyone else is beyond shameless.