Worth Sending Our Troops to Die For 4

Last night three more British soldiers died in Iraq.

There are people who can talk with chilling detachment about the deaths of other people. There are even people who can talk this way about the deaths of other people, while they are actively planning to cause those deaths. Peter Ricketts is one such person.

Is he a criminal in a secure unit at Broadmoor? No, he is Sir Peter Ricketts, KCMG, Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I just watched him standing alongside David Milliband, as our new Foreign Secretary gave his little homily on taking office.

Ricketts, then Political Director of the FCO, was a major player in the concoction of the lies about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. Ricketts’ minute to Jack Straw of 22 March 2002 is damning.


Ricketts defines the problem with public opinion:

we have to be convincing that:

– the threat is so serious imminent that it is worth sending our troops to die for;

There is only one possible interpretation of Ricketts letter. He is well aware that the threat is not really that imminent at all.

But even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW fronts…

Nonetheless we must work on

bringing public opinion to accept the imminence of a threat from Iraq

Otherwise the public might get uppity about dead British soldiers. Seeing Ricketts standing next to Milliband reminded me how facile Brown’s spin of “Change” really is. Until we get rid of the people who led us into illegal war on the basis of lies, from not just the Cabinet but the Civil Service, there will be no real change.

For more of those memos between the guilty parties, go to


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4 thoughts on “Worth Sending Our Troops to Die For

  • Sabretache

    "Until we get rid of the people who led us into illegal war on the basis of lies, from not just the Cabinet but the Civil Service, there will be no real change."

    I seriously doubt there will be any real change to HONEST' government no matter what, and that pretty much every UK politician at Privy-Council level, regardless of party persuasion is, by definition, complicit in the dishonesty. Western Liberal Democracy is quite simply rotten to the very core and Parliament is a poodle. The above hints at why. There is clearly a solid agreed imperative among the NATO Allies – with the US at its heart, that the need to secure as much control as possible over what remains of the worlds oil endowment is a non-negotiable, unmentionable (publicly) absolute. If we can't have a compliant 'democracy' in Iraq, then its collapse as a functioning State is the next best thing, with as many deaths and exiles as possible to make long-term control that much more viable. When you consider the well documented black operations of the CIA and our own MI6 in the ME over the past 50 or so years (much of it officially confirmed in the recent release of the CIA papers see: http://tinyurl.com/yrqemg ), the Orwellian nature of the West's global preaching and domestic fear-mongering becomes sickeningly obvious.

    Personally I'm beyond anger. I confine myself to renunciation of the insult 'British' these days, and do my best to ensure that my children, grand children and others I hold dear are aware of the West's moral bankruptcy and less unprepared for the dire consequences that I see flowing from it in the not-too-distant future.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Yes Ricketts' memo is typical of those Civil (public?) Servants who merely do their masters' bidding. Clearly a man with no conscience, no scruples whatsoever. Worse than that, he seems not to have the slightest idea of what is in the nation's long term interests.

    Anyone with half a brain would have understood – long before these incursions – that the continuing cost, financial and social, would warrant against such action. Of course, Ricketts, and those of his ilk, have no 'moral compass' at all. Nor would he have understood the realities of wars in the Middle East.

    So, here we all are then, with no plan or means of easy extraction, doomed to continue our presence in both theatres of war almost indefinitely, with mounting death and destruction all round, and the potential for enormous ongoing costs (of all sorts) and massively expensive reparations. This is hardly an FCO triumph, is it?

    Wonder what Ricketts got his KCMG for – was it for collusion, keeping his mouth shut? That particular appointment has certainly debased the currency. But then again, what are 'Honours' these days, apart from payoffs for dubious loyalty and outright mendacity? Hardly surprising that a lowly corset-maker chose to refuse even one of the more junior Orders.

  • johnf


    Apologies, I have been out of the loop for the last ten days or so and have thus been unable to answer a question you asked me back then about whether there are any surviving members of END. Apart from Mary Kaldor and Bruce Kent I don't know of any active people. Edward Thompson's widow Dorothy is still very much alive but is not active politically.

  • Foddy


    I would imagine that Ricketts' KCMG was given purely for length of service (in other words, doing his master's bidding for x number of years). I seem to remember a Yes Minister (or Prime Minister) episode, in which Humprhey Appleby commented on the practise.

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