Tuesday, January 01, 2008

In a queer twist of history...

Britian/the United Kingdom doesn't actually have a written constitution. It has instead a "gentleman's agreement" under which Parliament operates. George Monbiot, writing in The Guardian Online, explains how this quirk allowed Blair to go into Iraq with Bush--thus implicating British troops in the largest series of war crimes since the Nazis.

"If you doubt Britain needs a written constitution, listen to the
strangely unbalanced discussion broadcast by the BBC last Friday. The
Today programme asked Lord Guthrie, formerly chief of the defence
staff, and Sir Kevin Tebbit, until recently the senior civil servant at
the Ministry of Defence, if parliament should decide whether or not the
country goes to war. The discussion was a terrifying exposure of the
privileges of unaccountable power. It explained as well as anything I
have heard how Britain became party to a crime that may have killed a
million people.

Guthrie argued that parliamentary approval would
mean intelligence had to be shared with MPs; that the other side could
not be taken by surprise ("do you want to warn the enemy you are going
to do it?"), and that commanders should have "a choice about when to
attack and when not to attack". Tebbit maintained that "no prime
minister would be able to deploy forces without being able to command a
parliamentary majority. In that sense, the executive is already
accountable to parliament". Once the prime minister has his majority,
in other words, MPs become redundant.

full article

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