BoJo Urged to Release Secret Docs on Wars Under Tony Blair
By Staff, Agencies
A group of UK mothers, who lost their soldier sons during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to release all secret documents pertaining to these conflicts that occurred when Tony Blair was at the helm of the government.
The legal bid is being led by Rose Gentle, supported by five more mothers, including Carol Valentine, Hazel Hunt, Caroline Whitaker, Caroline Jane Munday-Baker, and Helen Perry.
Gentle was cited by the Daily Mail as saying that she has fought "so hard to get at the truth all these years", but that she "has been blocked at every corner".
"Blair belongs in the dock for what he has done and now his own defense secretary has confirmed it. It's time for Boris Johnson to step up and unlock the secrets of these terrible wars and atone for the hundreds and hundreds of unnecessary deaths and suffering. The truth needs to come out now and the only thing that should be locked up is Blair", she added.
Gentle was referring to a previous report by the Daily Mail concerning a senior aide to Blair's Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon, who was ordered to burn a Downing Street memo warning that the 2003 invasion of Iraq could be illegal.
According to the newspaper, this was revealed in Hoon's recently published memoir "See How They Run", which also asserted that he had decided to lock the memo up in a safe at the Ministry of Defense.
As for the mothers' call to Prime Minister Johnson to unlock all state secrets regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it comes after they wrote to their "beloved" Queen urging her to strip Tony Blair of his knighthood.
Last week, Blair, who served as prime minister from 1997-2007, was appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year Honors List, which recognized the achievements and service of notable people across the UK.
In the open letter, the women noted that "as mums", they were "destroyed by the loss" of their children "at war", and that now they are "further devastated to learn that the man responsible for sending them [their sons] to their deaths is to receive the highest honor in the land".
"It makes a mockery of our children's lives, and we are struggling to cope. We are all struggling to understand how a man who has caused so much worldwide upset and devastation could be given such a privileged award", the letter reads.
The mothers accused Blair of causing "untold misery while making himself a multi-millionaire at the same time". The women added that they "do not view him as a man of peace – on the contrary, we maintain he has the deaths of all our soldiers on his hands".
"This has left us all enraged, bewildered, and heartbroken and we beg you to revoke his knighthood which we believe tramples on our sons' sacrifices", they said.
An online petition to have Blair stripped of his knighthood is, meanwhile, swiftly gaining support, with more than 700,000 already signing the document. The petition specifically argues that Blair "was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes".
On 7 October 2001, the UK joined the American-led coalition’s military intervention in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US, in a 20-year campaign that claimed the lives of at least 457 British servicemen.
In a separate development in March 2003, Britain became part of the US coalition-led invasion of Iraq, which was launched under pretext that Saddam Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction [WMD]. No stockpiles of WMDs or an active WMD program were ever found in the country. The UK's death toll from its mission in Iraq, which wrapped up in 2011, stood at 178.