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The smartest B-gang

When Bondevik outlines his own aftermath, others should object.


[3. November 2006] In October, more than 100 Americans were killed in Iraq. The conflict is locked in and estimates of the number of civilians killed in Iraq since the invasion range from 45 to 50.000. In the United States, the debate around Iraq could be decisive in Tuesday's congressional election. Tony Blair escaped with terror, as it became clear this week that the war is not yet the subject of an official investigation. The Danish soldiers will move base in Iraq, and Danish political commentators and parties want to use the opportunity to send the soldiers home. The opinion has changed, the mission in Iraq is officially declared unsuccessful.

This week, Bondevik's memoirs have given the former prime minister a rematch as the man who made sure that Norway did not participate in the invasion of Iraq. In the book "A life in suspense" he describes an inner life in the government where he himself was principled and peace loving, while others preferred that Norway should contribute. Bondevik writes that he himself saw a war in Iraq that became increasingly meaningless and wondered at Tony Blair's Bush-friendly line on the issue.

In reality, Bondevik was the prime minister whom the 60.000 protesters on Youngstorget called on February 15, 2003, part of the "B gang"; Bush, Blair and Bondevik. Bondevik ensured that Norway participated as much as possible, without taking on the heavy political struggle that it would have been to go about the Storting with the decision. The Bondevik government arranged to lend four advanced radars to the British forces during the Basra invasion. The radars located 1500 Iraqi bombings so effectively that the British Defense Minister sent letters of thanks during the first days of the war. The government lent advanced electronic warfare equipment that we knew was to be used in the attack and allowed 100 men from the Navy, half the conscripts, to escort the US war machine through the Strait of Gibraltar. In addition, Norway contributed significant quantities of weapons.

When journalist Erling Borgen brought this information to the Norwegian people, Socialist Left Party's Ågot Valle promised to demand full scrutiny of what the previous government did during the Iraq war. Now is the time to show that she meant seriousness. Bondevik deserves no peace prize, but an investigation.

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