Save the Children from Tony Blair and Others like Him
IN FOCUS, 1 Dec 2014
The reason that Tony Blair can be given a global legacy award, despite his crimes, comes down to the level of awareness of the British public.
Save the Children gave Tony Blair, a man who contributed massively to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis during the decade he was the UK prime minister, a “global legacy award.” How can this charity get away with doing something so monstrous?
The reason is simple. The vast majority of the UK public do not have a clue about the consequences of the war Blair and his superiors in the USA launched in 2003. As of May 2013, a professionally done poll found that 59% of the UK public believed fewer than 10,000 Iraqis died as consequence of the war. The UK media buried this ComRes poll (they routinely mention other polls done by ComRes) as effectively as they buried the death toll in Iraq. Very similar polls done years earlier in the USA found an equivalent level of ignorance. Little wonder that Save the Children can openly honor a mass murderer. Scientific studies support estimates of 500,000 – 1 million Iraqi deaths as a result of the war Blair played such a key role in bringing about. Only 6% of the respondents in the ComRes poll estimated more than 500,000 Iraqi deaths.
Before the illegal war was launched in 2003, US/UK policy was one of crippling sanctions (enforced by the UN) combined with airstrikes. Two of the UN officials (Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck) who ran the oil-for-food program in Iraq resigned in disgust at the barbarism of policies they claimed (citing UNICEF statistics) killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children during the 1990s.
The best available evidence shows that US/UK actions over the past 24 years have killed between 1-2 million Iraqis, hundreds of thousands of them children. Blair aggressively backed the war and the sanctions during the decade he was in power. It’s therefore beyond any reasonable doubt that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children were killed, orphaned or otherwise traumatized for life because of crimes he perpetrated. The UK public just doesn’t know about it. Even Russell Brand, in what is, overall, quite a fine book (“Revolution”), neglected to mention the human cost of war in Iraq in Chapter 17 where he devotes attention to the fraudulent pretexts for it.
The InterventionsWatch blog points to other factors that explain Save the Children’s award for Blair:
“…their Chief Executive is a fellow named Justin Forsyth. According to his biography on the Save The Children website, Forsyth was in 2004:
. . . recruited to Number 10 by Tony Blair where he led efforts on poverty and climate change . . . He was to stay on under Gordon Brown, becoming his Strategic Communications and Campaigns Director.”
The blog also points out that in 2013 the wife of the current UK Prime Minster was appointed Save the Children’s Ambassador to Syria – where the UK continues to help fuel the civil war by arming and funding rebels.
Some may argue that charities cannot afford to denounce people in high places. But what Save the Children is doing by honoring Blair (not simply keeping quiet about him) is enthusiastically contributing to a propaganda system that keeps millions of the West’s victims invisible. Save the Children is helping to ensure that Blair’s successors are well positioned to do similar damage to innocent people around the world.
Timothy Schwartz, who has decades of experience working with charities in Haiti, commented on the work of Save the Children and other prominent NGOs, “I find myself in a kind of argument with a woman who works for Save the Children. It was completely unexpected. I’m trying to be one of the guys, so to speak, so I’m blabbing on about a program for children and how it’s based on misinformation. It turns out that the woman I’m talking to ran the program. But, instead of continuing to defend the program she says something that completely threw me for a loop, she says, ‘it’s not our fault. It’s the donors fault. They keep giving money without verifying what’s really going on. Of course people are going to keep coming up with stories… they create the opportunity… they create the problem.” At some point she finishes saying that, ‘donors are paying to feel good and so they get what they paid for.’ The point is disturbing but rather profound. She was saying that NGOs give a service by taking money from donors and assuring them that it is well spent; the service is that the donor feels good.”
That’s worth repeating. The key service charities must provide to keep going is to make their donors feel good. That’s horrible enough, but it gets worse when you consider who their key donors are. In the USA, studies have shown that the poorest 20% of the population gives about 4% of their meager incomes to charities while the richest 20% give only about 2% of their huge incomes. However, the richest 20% today have roughly sixteen times more income than the poorest 20%. That means charities get roughly eight times more money from the richest 20% despite that group’s lack of generosity. None of the middle income groups gave more than 3% of their incomes to charities in the study I cited above which is from 2007. That means the richest 20% give more money to charities than the poorest 60% of the population. See the table below.
The worse inequality gets, the more heavily charities depend on the rich; the more charities must make elite donors feel good about themselves and also feel good about war criminals like Tony Blair who stuff their pockets.
|QUINTILE||AVERAGE INCOME $||DONATION to Charity $|
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