Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is Blair Trying to Influence Chilcot?

So, Tony Blair now says that it would still have been right to remove Saddam Hussein even if they had known there were no weapons of mass destruction. I agree, and said so at the time. He was a man who had committed genocide against his own people and cconstantly ignored UN resolutions calling him to account.

But what a pity it was that Tony Blair didn't make that case at the time and instead hid behind the skirts of patchy intelligence, dressed up as definite. I suspect he would have taken quite a lot of the country along with him. Instead, people now believe he deliberately lied about the case for WMDs. And that is something he will never be able to escape from.

I am intrigued that he chose to give an interview to Fern Britton just ahead of giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry. It's almost as if by giving this interview he might be trying to influence Sir John's line of questioning. I wouldn't put it past him.


Paddy Briggs said...

It is difficult to restrain one’s feelings of disgust at this latest admission from Blair.

International law does not permit a country, jointly with others or not, from interfering in the internal affairs of another. Obviously if country A is a genuine threat to country B and diplomacy has failed then Country B might feel justified to make a pre-emptive strike against Country A but Country B needs to be very sure of its ground to do this.

The only justification for an attack on Iraq was that Saddam posed a genuine threat. That’s what the WMD debate in the UN and elsewhere was all about. That Saddam was a tyrant to his own people was absolutely not enough reason – the doctrine of “Regime Change” is a doctrine that is repellent and unsupportable in law or in natural justice.

And you Iain were wrong then and you are wrong now. “I agree, and said so at the time. He was a man who had committed genocide against his own people” is true but it isn’t enough, I am afraid, to justify war. If it was we would be planning war against China (Tibet and Tiananmen), Zimbabwe, Burma, and dozens of other countries ruled by dictatorial psychopaths.

Batteredstrat said...

Blair is a slippery character without doubt. However, what surprised me more was that you seem to agree with his assertion that it was right to go to war purely for the aim of regime change.

If that is he case, then our first priority should have been Zimbabwe, because we have more historical responsibility for the current state of that country. Our direct involvement in Iraq ended much earlier. What about Burma? Our involvement as an imperial power there surely made us much more responsible for the outcome there?

I think that if we justify the Iraq action on such foundations, we step onto a dangerous road where our own national interest is quickly suborned to one PM's religious or social conscience.

strongholdbarricades said...

Hopefully this admission will not spare Bliar from the Hague

Without the WMD there was no mandate

Man in a Shed said...

David Cameron should promise a criminal investigation to explore accusations of war crimes against the Labour cabinet if elected.

That'll liven things up.

iCowboy said...

Typical Blair - a soft interview with no prospect of tough questions where he can mould the story to his own ends.

As for why now - well the first couple of weeks haven't shown his government in a terribly good light. I'm thinking this is damage control starting early.

And I agree with Paddy Briggs and Batteredstrat above - there is no provision in international law for us to just intervene in a country when there is no immediate threat to our safety or to its inhabitants. Hussein was a terrible man, but we seem to have very good relations with a whole lot of terrible regimes around the World.

jbw said...

Well said Paddy Briggs & Batteredstrat!

I wonder how many citizens of Iraq have died since we 'liberated' the country compared to what Saddam was doing to his own people.

I'm surprised at your stance on this Iain.

Michele said...

We have no responsibility for the state of Zimbabwe. When the British left it was a vibrant and prosperous country which was not only able to feed itself but also export food. I know I lived there.

The present state of the country is due to one man and only one man - Mugabe. So stuff your 'historical responsibility' - and for heaven's sake read up on the real history of Burma, where the British were trading partners of a very supportive government.

Joe S. ex colonial officer

kasou said...

I am always surprised when reading Press and Blogs at how naive the general press is. Are you guys so stupid you didnt know B'Liar was a manipulator from day dot, that LieBour used disinformation, leaks, news manipulation and cheating to gain votes, and even now I read excuses for B'Liar and Brown.

When will you guys ever learn, give them an inch and they think they are rulers.

FireForce said...

Michele, I would say we do have some responsibility for Zimbabwe, as we made such a balls up of putting mugabe in power.
PaddyBriggs, yes international law does not let us go into a foreign power as you say, but and to me only confirms Blair as another dictator. (I always thought so)
I thought of mine is when people come to this country asking for political asylum, we accept them anyway, so why not give them the military training to enable them when they go back to their country, the means to overthrow their own, that way in this instance of Iraq and Afghanistan our own forces would not be so involved.

norman said...

David Cameron should say now that he will hold a proper public enquiry headed by a respectable judge with powers to cross examine and compel witnesses to attend which should include Blair, his No 10 advisers including the odious Campbell, cabiner members etc.. This will,madd at least 5% points to his poll lead as he could nail these lying imbeciles. Saddam was an atrocious character but if removing was an intenetion it should have been put to vote in the parliament and not lying about WMDs.

Scalyback said...

I'm no fan of Blair, nor do I agree with the way he secured our involvement in the invasion of Iraq. However, I do think we were right to do so, even without the WMD, and to suggest he should be tried as a war criminal is crass stupidity. Save that treat for the real criminals. As regards the comments of Batteredstrat, he is clearly another of the ashamed to be a brit cos we ruined the world brigade. As Michele (or is it JoeS?) rightly says, get your facts right before screaming your holier than thou drivel.
As a nation, we might not always have covered ourselves in glory, but we have done far more good than harm to this world.

Scalyback said...

Oh, nearly forgot! Is Blair trying to influence Chilcot? Probably. Will he succeed ? Not in a million years (if this Inquiry means anything)
Would Call me Dave or Nick Clegg do the same if they were in his shoes? probably.

Colin said...

"I agree, and said so at the time."

Well done, you, iain!

It's a shame and a political disaster that the Tories were as uncritical and unquestioning as you appear to have been, at the time. Their utter failure to properly grasp the consequences of the Iraq scandal and thus hold the government to account, contributed to the biggest foreign policy disaster since the appeasement of hitler. Their (the tories) desperate attempts to appear "statesman - like", relevant and on side with the yanks - at all costs, has hamstrung them ever since.

Let's hope they don't go down this road with AGW and the CRU revelations...

Oh, hang on...

Ean Craigie said...

Iain at times you stun me with the simplicity of your questions. Is he trying to infuence the enquiry is like asking do bears deficate in the forest.

I agree the effort was worth the losses but wish we had of been better prepared and no matter how he twists Jonah Brown must take his share of culpability.

DeeDee99 said...

A war on the grounds of regime change is illegal. Blair couldn't have pursued this with Iraq; even Lord Goldsmith couldn't have been bullied into sanctioning it.

On this basis anyway, Bush and Blair should have been invading Saudi Arabia and forcing regime change ... that is where the 9/11 bombers came from; it is where Osama bin Laden comes from and Saudi Arabia is responsible for funding Muslim fundamentalism throughout the west.

Couldn't do that though could they - it would have triggered the 3rd world war with Muslim Holy lands being invaded. Saddam was a soft target so they went for him. It had nothing whatsoever to do with 'issues in the Muslim world.' Iraq was secular. said...

How proud must they be on what they achieved, Bush and Blair, in Iraq?

tankus said...

Hague please ,and renewal of the death penally for mass murderers.

Alex said...

He probably isn't trying to influence Chilcot, but he is trying to get his spin on the matter heard before he is questioned by Chilcot to minimise the press reaction.

Frankly I am amazed at you naivety in wishing that he had used other arguments, because clearly those arguments wouldn't have had any impact. The only justification for a hostile invasion is that the invaded nation represents an imminent threat to international security.

The idea that Saddam might have used chemical weapons many years beforehand, even before the peace settlement after the first Gulf War, is not grounds for invasion, however much the Iraqi government may have been despised.

Do you really think you are cut out for our national legislature?

Batteredstrat said...

Scalyback & Michelle:

I think you misunderstand my stance somewhat. I am not suggesting that we have any real responsibility for the current state of either Zimbabwe or Burma, what I am trying to do is to put context to the idea that we should chose Iraq as the country to liberate over those two examples, who have much closer ties to Britain as ex colonial territories and members of the commonwealth.

I am no apologist for Britain's colonial past, and am fully aware of the history. The British empire was one of the greatest drivers of social improvement in history.

My point was not intended to suggest otherwise, rather to highlight that if were to choose a foreign policy based on the liberation of oppressed peoples, that there are places that as an Englishman I feel a more immediate historical kinship to, but that to make interventions on such principles is potentially damaging to the national interest.

Goodwin said...

There's some appalling grammer in these comments!
PS Of course he's a war criminal but, in the same way that the bankers are economic terrorists, my bet is he'll get away with it.

Stepney said...

No. You're wrong. And so was war criminal Blair.

If we took that attitude we'd be invading about 20 or 25 countries a year - starting with Zimbabwe.

Unappealing as those countries and dictators are, you cannot start wars on the basis of some warm, well-fed, rich world morality crusade.

These are not our wars to fight and making up reasons for an invasion of Iraq will be one of the lowest moments in our history.

Wrong war, wrong reason, wrong outcome.

Just wrong.


As ever, Bliar resorts to media 'manipulation'. Old habits die hard. Or, in his case, they don't die at all.

guythemac said...

I'm not sure he is trying to 'influence' Chilcot - for what its worth I think the Chilcot Inquiry writes itself (have put my head on the block pre-publishing the Inquries conclusions here:

It is however useful to remind everyone that even though we were wrong about WMD - the Saddam regime was a terrible one so for those who went to fight the removal of him is at least a positive from the whole debacle. I don't look to justify the war on those grounds - just have it in me to see silver linings...

Findmuck said...

So, because Saddam murdered his own people, you and your pal Blair are entitled to go and murder them too? Unless you believe you can invade a country and force a regime change without inflicting mass murder. You're a supporter of genocide yourself, and I hope to God you never get into a position of power.

Joe Public said...

Blair ought to be executed for "Waging aggresive war". (As certain of the Japanese High Command were after WW2)

If politicains who decide on taking this country to aggressive war had to spend 24 months on the front line, the world would be a more-peaceful place.

How many MPs have lost members of their direct family in this useless conflict? NONE. But they're happy to send our brave armed forces to do their fighting for them. Effing cowards.

Leslie said...

He was a man who had committed genocide

I suggest you check the Genocide Convention to which the United Kingdom is a signatory. While a repulsive individual, Saddam Hussein did not commit any act which would meet the statutory definition of genocide nor did he do anything which would have allowed a trial for genocide before either the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice.

It is, of course, possible that you are using the word in a non-technical sense. If that is so, it is clearly an illegitimate and misleading use of the word and the accusation you have leveled is shown to be self-evidently untrue.