Repent for his sins? No. Blair remains unrepentant
There come days when you hear something on the news that makes you scream and shout and blow your top at the poor person reading the headlines on the radio – if she could have heard me anyway. They say don’t shoot the messenger but I think if she would have heard the rant that spewed forth from my mouth yesterday morning I probably would have left her scarred.
And what was the story that caused me to become a liberal alternative of the Incredible Hulk? Tony Blair quoted in an interview with Fern Britton on the war in Iraq;
“I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments, about the nature of the threat.”
I’m sorry – what now? You would have still gone to war even if there had been no WMD’s – even though we all know that you knew there were no WMD’s! And for what reason? He was a threat anyway? How? This was a man who was “contained”. Even key figures in the Bush administration said so before 9/11. Anyone watching Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 would have seen footage that showed Condi Rice and Colin Powell among others, in the summer leading up to the horrible events of 9/11 saying Saddam was not a threat, that the international communities sanctions had worked to isolate the Iraqi dictator. And yet after 9/11 this changed.
As Richard A. Clarke said in his book Against All Enemies, the war chimes began the day of September 11th, as the Bush administration tried to find a link between Saddam Hussein and the events that had taken place in New York. And Sir Christopher Meyer, in speaking to the Chilcot Inquiry (Iraq War Inquiry) has said that Blair had decided to join his ally George W Bush in an new Iraqi invasion a full year before the war began. A recent article in The Guardian says:
The message from Downing Street was that the 11 September attacks and the subsequent US determination to oust Saddam were established facts, “and it was a complete waste of time … if we were going to work with the Americans, to come to them and bang away about regime change and say: ‘We can’t support it’.”
Many believe that the British governments determination to find a “smoking gun” was to try and find a legal justification for war, but over recent years and as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, told the Iraq Inquiry the participation of the UK in Iraq was “of questionable legitimacy”.
We are already aware that Blair was ready to go to war, but as the years have exposed the lies and holes in the WMD excuse, there has been a backpeddling of reasons for the war. “He is a bloodthirsty tyrant. He has defied the United Nations on numerous occasions. He has backed terrorists in the past.” And now speaking to Fern Britton Blair, in what some see as an attempt to soften public opinion about him before he speaks to the Chilcot Inquiry, has admitted that regine change was a legitimate enough reason for him, that Saddam was a threat and had to be removed.
“It would have been right to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein even without evidence that he had weapons of mass destruction”
And this exposes him once and for all – no matter what the reasons, he and Bush were ready to spin any line to justify the invasion of Iraq. Sir David Manning, Blair’s former foreign policy adviser, has told the inquiry Blair was “absolutely prepared to say he was willing to contemplate regime change if [UN-backed measures] did not work”. And yet here is the crux of the matter – no matter how much Blair and Bush try to say that Saddam was a bad man and a threat to his people (more on that in a second), regime change is against international law – you can’t do it. No matter how vile someone is, you can not go into a nation and remove it’s leader. Okay we all know regime change has been part of US policy over the years, with them removing, sometimes, democratically elected leaders, if those leaders were seen as not friendly to American policies, but it still does not change the fact that there is no legal justification for removing a leader by force. Lord Goldsmith had warned Blair that regime change “cannot be the object of military action.” Invasion under this pretext would have been condemned as illegal.
Blair has insisted in the past that the idea for Iraq was to disarm Saddam Hussein and if he was toppled, this would be an unexpected but not unwelcomed. The problem being this sits uneasily with things Bush has said. Take note of a speech he gave in April 2003 “We support regime change.”
One article [Can Saddam Be Contained? History Says Yes By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt] I read while putting together this blog said:
True, Saddam is a cruel despot, but plenty of other leaders have bloody hands and we aren’t thinking about going after them. Yes, Iraq has defied numerous UN resolutions, but so have a number of other countries and this sin is hardly sufficient justification for war. Granted, Iraq has harbored terrorist organizations in the past, but the groups it has supported do not pose much of a threat to the United States and eliminating Saddam would not eliminate them.
Given what the United States could do in response to any Iraqi attack, Saddam has no incentive to use chemical or nuclear weapons against America and its allies, unless his survival is threatened. This simple logic explains why he did not use WMD against U.S. forces during the Gulf War, and did not fire chemical or biological warheads at Israel. Furthermore, if Saddam is a tyrant who cannot be deterred, what is stopping him from using WMD against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, forces that have bombed Iraq repeatedly over the past decade? The bottom line: deterrence has worked quite well against Saddam in the past, and there is no reason to think that it cannot work equally well in the future.Given this historical record, President Bush’s repeated claim that the threat from Iraq is growing ominously makes little sense, and should be viewed as a transparent attempt to scare the American people into supporting a war. CIA head George Tenet flatly contradicted the President’s scare tactics in a letter to Congress, explaining that Saddam was unlikely to initiate a WMD attack against any U.S. target unless Washington threatened the survival of his regime. Why? Because even if Iraq did acquire a larger WMD arsenal, the United States would still retain a massive nuclear retaliatory capability. And if Saddam would only use WMD if the United States threatened his regime, then one wonders why the advocates of war are trying to do just that.
The war was sold on the weapons of mass destruction, and now you feel, or hear that it was only a question of deployment of arguments, as he said, it sounds a bit like a fig leaf that was held up, and if the fig leaf had not been there, then they would have tried to put another fig leaf there.”
He also says that after 700 inspections, they were close to announcing that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. So what did we go to war for? Why have so many of our troops died or being injured for this war? Why have our own citizens been put at risk (the 7/7 bombers cited British foreign policy as one of the reasons for their heinous deeds)?
Carol Turner of the Stop the War Coalition said it was “extraordinary” that Mr Blair was admitting that he was prepared to tailor his arguments to fit the circumstances.”It’s not a matter of applauding his honesty now; it’s a matter of attacking his lack of honesty and integrity in the circumstances.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8410071.stm
And she is right, this is the actions of an odious man who used spin everyday in power, trying to do the same. And it just adds to the cries of people who believe Tony Blair, along with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (et al) should be tried in the Hague as war criminals. There are no justifications for their war, they are admitting they would have manipulated the reason to go in, and they have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people on there hands as well as our brave soldiers. They went into a sovereign nation on a false pretence and occupied a country that did not want them there. In doing so they upset the already volatile balance in the region and have left a country in the state of civil war. And lets not forget the incursions on our own civil liberties, to combat the threat. Well I am sorry but the only threat has come from inside – from the wolf in sheep’s clothing Tony Blair.
It is not surprising that those who favor a war with Iraq have sought to portray Saddam as an inveterate and only partly rational aggressor. They are in the business of selling a preventive war, and that means that they have to try to make remaining at peace seem unacceptably dangerous. And the best way to do that is to inflate the threat, either by exaggerating Iraq’s capabilities or by suggesting that horrible things will happen if we do not act soon. It is equally unsurprising that advocates of war have been willing to distort the historical record in order to make their case. As Secretary of State Dean Achesonfamously remarked, in politics, advocacy “must be clearer than the truth.” http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0031.pdf