Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling 176

It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war.

Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, PUS at the FCO, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.

The BBC was of course gutted following its revealing of the truth about Iraqi WMD, and the subsequent murder of David Kelly. Following the ousting of Greg Dyke, both Governors and Directors-Generals have been known supporters of the war. Of the 107 bureaucrats in the BBC who earn over 100,000 pounds pa, insiders estimate that only five were opponents of the war. Craig Oliver – who has now left the BBC for Cameron’s media operation – and James Purnell are absolutely typical of the BBC Iraqocracy.

Every current editor of a UK national newspaper supported the Iraq war. At the time of the war there was one editor opposed – Piers Morgan – who subsequently became a derided and marginalised figure. Not only are the editors firmly from the neo-con alliance, but the high profile commentators who cheered on the war – David Aaronovich, Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, John Rentoul, Rod Liddle etc. – have all seen their careers flourish. None has suffered from their appalling lack of judgement. There is no similar raft of commentators who were against the war who enjoy such constant media promotion and massive salaries. Many, like Peter Oborne, have suffered unexpected career glitches. There is no head of a major TV channel in the UK who was against the war in Iraq.

The theme runs through all the public professions. Of the hundreds of academics who took firm positions against the Iraq War, I cannot find a single example who went on to become a University Vice-Chancellor or Principal. By contrast actual war criminals Richard Dearlove and Valerie Amos were parachuted into academic leadership posts. The Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces were all true believers, compared to the massive scepticism that existed among senior officers.

The Iraq test even extends into the heads of institutions apparently quite unrelated, such as City of London banks and insurance companies. There are a tiny number of heads of FTSE 100 companies who were against the war.

It is not that there is an Iraq test. It is that Iraq is the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus. All these professionally successful people share a number of attitudes, of which support for the Iraq War is a good indicator. There is a very strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and fierce Zionism. But there is also a strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and support for austerity economics. The strongest correlation of all lies in support for the Iraq War and for “business-friendly” tolerance of corporatism, TTIP, multinational tax avoidance, low taxation and marketization of public services including in education and health.

To return to where I started, the quite extraordinary thing is that there is a near-universal recognition in wider society that the Iraq War was both completely unjustified and a dreadful strategic blunder. Yet its support is a major pre-condition for membership of the governing elite.

The answer of course lies in its value as an indicator for a broad range of neo-liberal consensus attitudes. That is why both the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn provide such a threat to the Establishment, through denying those attitudes. The fascinating thing is that the SNP and the Labour Party could be the only public institutions in the UK of any note with an anti-Iraq War leadership. The significance is that, in slightly different ways, both the prominence of the SNP and of Jeremy Corbyn are the result of a public revolt which the Establishment has been trying, absolutely desperately, to cut off.

Ed Miliband did not actually vote against the Iraq War, contrary to popular myth. Having both the Labour and SNP parties led by people who reject the raft of values symbolised by the Iraq test, who have broken through the depleted uranium ceiling, is a massive, massive threat to the meritlessocracy. Institutional control appeared to be complete and impermeable. Suddenly they face the danger of the opinions of ordinary people carrying weight. Expect the media control mechanisms to whir into still greater overdrive.

176 thoughts on “Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling

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  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Great article Craig, bang on the money, and great title too. I’m shocked but not surprised by your analysis, if such a thing is possible. I see you refer to the ‘murder’ of Dr. David Kelly, is that your position now?

    As for the idea of the ‘Iraq test’ being a reliable indicator of a whole host of other attitudes and beliefs, I once read something similar being claimed for paedophilia among the elite. The article claimed it was the ultimate calling card of sociopathic credentials. Similar to becoming a ‘made man’ in the Mafia.

  • Robert Crawford


    These people are all arse lickers. You are not. Neither is Corbyn.

    I hope the general public realize this fact and vote accordingly.

    After all, it is their well being that is at stake here.

  • Joe

    Fantastic piece of analysis Craig. I’m just back from holiday where I read Murder in Samarkand on the beach. A brilliant book that I would unreservedly recommend to everyone who reads your blog (although I’m sure many will have already devoured it with great abandon).

    Keep up the vitally important work.


  • YouKnowMyName

    Thanks for this analysis Craig. I was recently told that I can privately hold and express any opinion that I wished, other than being against TTIP, hence I am pro-TTIP (I think this aside comment fits perfectly into the interlocked frame of influence of our future Europe)

  • Robert Crawford


    You can’t go on like this.

    You need to get into parliament.

    If you need money, put up a “Subscribe” button.

  • Alcyone

    Great insight, Craig — makes you Stop and Think!

    I yearn for the Clinton Era. Back at the time of the approaching New Millennium, we were lead to believe that we were walking into a rainbow. The most important headlining news items were Y2K and blow jobs in the Oval Office. Look where we actually have come to.

    A whole generation now in High School or joining university, and behind them, know no better.

  • Laguerre

    You’re right. Corbynism is basically a popular revolt. Not against austerity, but against Neo-Liberalism – the harvesting of a massive proportion of the nation’s wealth by the bankers and corporatists. In my view, a lot of it comes from the availability of a technique – the much greater financial control possible through computerisation. A major revolt is due, et Corbyn might spark it, if he handles himself well.

  • Robert Crawford



    Man’s inhumanity to man.

    Thanks anyway. We all need to know how OUR money is being spent.

    I wonder if our soldiers were to see that, would they be of the same opinion as those at the DWP who must surely know that by implementing the policies of this Tory government and Ian Duncan-Smith that people are dying as a consequence?

    Fuck, I don’t think I will ever vote again.

  • Alcyone

    Mary, thanks for that reminder. No, no yearning for either of the Clinton, really. Just, that the 1998 invasion seems like a picnic on reflection. And one was lead to believe that it stopped there, but you are right, it didn’t, did it?

    But, I do think that Clinton was a pussycat compared to the lying-through-his-teeth fiend that is Blair. Now the Hillary version is another thing. I think we can agree that we wouldn’t trust that witch one bit.

  • John Goss

    Craig Murray at his best, where he shines like all keyboard warriors who seek the truth. Fine analysis of the neocon society we have become, a society which has benefited from the spoils of war, while other societies are still grieving from what we have inflicted on them.

  • fred

    “Ed Miliband did not actually vote against the Iraq War, contrary to popular myth.”

    Neither did everybody else who wasn’t an MP at the time.

    Ed Miliband was teaching economics at Harvard in 2003.

  • Roderick Russell


    It is sad that we don’t have a liberal democracy except in pretense but there it is. I am always amazed that people seem surprised that we are controlled by the interests of power elites (through the media, the security services, etc.) and not that of the people in parliament. Our Power Elites supported the Iraqi war, so why should they advance those who opposed it.

    In 1957 historian A.J.P. Taylor published an article called “The Thing”. The thrust of the article was to answer the question: who governs Britain… and it is not our MP’s. According to Taylor it is our behind the scenes “power elites” which apparently Cobbett called “The Thing”. Taylor writes that our power elites really govern Britain and that “democracy is merely a system by which the … [power elites] receive an occasional popular endorsement.”

    He writes about “the complacency, the incompetence, and the selfishness of the thing”. He comments in 1957 that “the Thing is more secure than it was 50 years ago” And I would say far more powerful today, 50 years later. Describing The Thing as a “system of public plunder” he concludes: “Is the Thing any use. Not at all except for its members” His article is well worth reading.

  • Robert Crawford

    Send a copy of these poor children with deformities to every M. P.’s wife.

    Put these pictures on the front of every newspaper, Aye right.

    How bad can our government get, along with the Yanks?


  • Macky

    Ever since it happened the vote on the war on Iraq has been a litmus test; it was obvious that those that voted for it either did so despite knowing the pretense (which I think accounts for the vast majority), or are so incredibly naive & gullible that they should not be in any position involving any kind of responsivity, that kind of stupidity is criminal incompetence & negligence in my opinion.

    It’s hardly a revelation that the same mindset that supported the attack on Iraq, also supports other cases of death & destruction being rained down on defenseless people, such as the other Orwellian named “Humanitarian Interventions”, or the Israeli bloodbaths in Gaza; the term NeoCon exists because of this shared mentality that results in shared common traits, such as racist exceptionalism , Profit before People, War Mongering (good for profits), and Islamophobia,(good for business, & good for Zionism), etc.

  • Robert Crawford

    Are the M.O. D. not “placing” depleted uranium shells from their testing range in Dumfrieshire, in the Solway?.

  • harry law

    The situation is worse in the US, there, Neo Con and other supporters of the lies which led to the Iraq war disaster are welcomed as serious pundits against the nuclear deal with Iran.While here, a news and current affairs Director was appointed at the BBC, James Hardy, who told the Jewish Chronicle “I believe in the state of Israel. I would have had a real problem if I had been coming to a paper [the Times] with a history of being anti-Israel. And of course Rupert Murdoch is pro Israel. According to the Guardian, Hardy now holds “arguably the most important editorial job in Britain”
    He joins James Purnell as BBC Director of strategy and digital. Purnell of course served as Chairman of the lobby group Labour Friends of Israel.All a coincidence of course.

  • Mary

    1998 Not a picnic for the 600-2,000 Iraqi dead. Operation Desert Fox. Another example of the f***ing stupid names for their wars.

    Before that 1991’s Operation Desert Storm and the sanctions.

    ‘In the aftermath of the Desert Storm military operation of 1991, Iraq remained the focus of foreign policy debate in the United States—a policy obsession fueled by the anger of right-wing policy institutes that deplored the failure of the first Bush administration to occupy Baghdad and oust the regime of Saddam Hussein. The reluctance of the Clinton administration to commit the United States to a full-scale war against Iraq, for fear of the political and military consequences, was subjected to virtually unending denunciations by the Republican Party and wide sections of the media throughout the 1990s.

    Friedman played a significant role in this campaign, writing numerous columns in which he promoted the myth that Saddam Hussein’s regime either possessed or was developing weapons that threatened the United States, and lambasting the Clinton administration’s unwillingness to face up to the scale of the supposed danger posed by Iraq.’

    Thomas Friedman and Iraq: A bad case of amnesia
    David North, WSWS
    October 27, 2005

    Felicity Arbuthnot on her experiences in Iraq during the post Desert Storm sanctions.

    The terrible impact of sanctions on Iraq: An interview with journalist Felicity Arbuthnot
    By Barbara Slaughter
    21 April 1999

  • Scott

    Genuine thanks for that post today Craig. Very thought provoking, and providing the reader with enough references to pursue their own investigation if they choose.


  • Macky

    @Craig, again, it is noticeable that you have avoided including War Mongering as part of your “touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus”; everybody know that War is good for business, and to both facilitate & cover this, the Public needs to have official enemies, and need to be saturated with pro-war propaganda, such as in the present situation towards Russia, in which you act as a dangerous “Liberal/Human Rights Activist” echo chamber for all of the MSM’s farcical anti-Russian/pro NATO lies.

  • Anon1

    Seriously though even the the Iraqis don’t bang on about the Iraq War as much as the left does. Most of them were very pleased to see Saddam gone – it was the aftermath that was screwed up. Now we have Islam barbecuing people alive the world really has moved on.

  • Robert Crawford


    If I get anymore links to the atrocities against children I will be dehydrated by all the tears I have shed to-day.

  • Anon1


    It’s abundantly clear that you hate Craig because of his refusal to fellate Putin as you do. We know your ‘position’ on Putin. Do you have to keep reminding us on every thread?

  • eddie-g

    “The Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces were all true believers”

    I don’t agree here. Scepticism within the military ran all the way to the top. There was a chance on the eve of the Iraq War that the chiefs of staff (who’d taken personal legal advice on their own liability) resigned en masse. Why they didn’t in the end is for them to answer, but I know of one in particular who very nearly did.

    More generally, however, Keynes had an answer to this moral absurdity. He wrote: “Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally”.

    And as it pertains to supporters and opponents of the Iraq War, it has never seemed more apt.

  • glenn

    This is a very strange phenomenon. Neo-cons have been an absolute disaster in every respect. They have been wrong on every issue – whether to do with security, finance, welfare, economics, democracy – the list is nearly endless.

    They have taken us to wars we should not have been involved with. They have produced unmanageable chaos in the Middle East. They have brought our banking system to the point of collapse, hollowed out our economies, brought us terrorism as a daily threat, and imposed a security state upon us.

    Instead of anxiously denying they were neo-cons, ever knew a neo-con, and definitely have no sympathies with neo-cons, they now strut around crowing about their neo-con credentials, and act as if we should show more appreciation for their far-sighted wisdom.

    Just unbelievable.

  • Luke


    RE the SNP: screw them. You should still stand. Why don’t you do a Margo McDonald and put yourself forward as an independent candidate? We need more people like you who are willing to publicly say things like this about the war, and about the establishment. Put yourself forward for next year’s Holyrood election.

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