The Guardian concludes that Sir John Chilcot delivered a highly critical verdict on Iraq war but reports that ex-PM says: ‘I believe we made the right decision’
Source: Tony Blair unrepentant as Chilcot gives crushing Iraq war verdict | UK news | The Guardian
I watched Tony Blair on television read out his statement and answer reporters questions. At that stage, I had only seen the headlines on Twitter. It was only later that I read the executive summary of the Chilcot Report and read many detailed reviews in the world’s media.
Let me introduce my bias. At the time, I thought the Iraq War was a proper intervention based on information publicly available in the media. For many years, I thought that Blair was an outstanding statesman and politician although my own politics is more conservative.
When I heard Blair I could empathize and relate to his arguments. I thought that he handled himself brilliantly. His oratory was outstanding. I was partially swayed by his argument; he’s a very talented speaker.
It was only when I read the executive summary of the Chilcot Report that my views on Blair hardened (Open the link and read the official report). I could see that Blair was an extremely arrogant and vain person with a large ego. Normal checks and balances were ignored and Blair raced to war to gain his place in history. It was particularly disgusting the way Blair manipulated the media and parliament to rubber stamp his pre-agreed actions with the US neocons.
In conclusion, I think that Blair was wrong not to apologize unreservedly. Whilst many still argue for Blair to be tried as a war criminal, legal experts suggest that the case is not watertight.
Also Blair ducked a question about his lucrative business interests advising Arab countries who were supporting terrorism.
This post from Dr Alf and the time it took Chilcot to report on what we already knew and was obvious is symptomatic of a greater problem, namely people in authority thinking that they can do whatever they like.
A little history needs to be brought to bear on the situation.
In the period before the 1st Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was seen as a man we in the UK wanted to do business with, and my former partner’s daughter in law’s father was based there as a director of Condor Construction with a workforce of 4000 men building whole towns for Saddam Hussein plus roads and infrastructure. Some contracts were so large they had to be signed by Tariq Azziz, Saddam’s number 2 and some had to be countersigned by the man himself. At the same time Donald Rumsfeld,the French Defence companies, and others were busy selling Saddam Hussein all kinds of “weapons of mass destruction” but not anything that could be remotely construed as a nuclear weapon or anything that could be turned into one. At the time, we (the UK) were trading with him and he was useful to us – we were happy to turn a blind eye to the things he was doing to his own people and that applied to Blair, Short, Straw and Gordon Brown as well as other UK Governments, the US Government and most European ones.
In addition, Saddam Hussein had no ability to launch weapons capable of reaching Europe or the UK and we knew that he hadn’t, which is why Alastair Campbell who was Tony Blair’s closest confidante wanted the dossier “sexed up”. Some of that dossier, relating to Niger was so bogus that George W Bush refused to rely on it and said so publicly.
The invasion of Kuwait happened because April Glaspie a US State Department official made a statement which to put the most charitable spin on it led Saddam Hussein to believe that if he invaded nothing would be done to stop him. Glaspie’s statement was never corrected publicly so the question has to be asked why that was so and why we in the UK failed to say it was precipitous or better still wrong.
The weapons inspectors never found any weapons of mass destruction remotely resembling anything that Blair and Campbell claimed that Saddam had.
The invasion of Iraq was planned years in advance, and was ‘wargamed’ using a technique known as OODA LOOP, built into the Pentagon’s “Wisdom Warfare” system, and to build a coalition of the willing of 40 countries and then wargame an entire war certainly took a lot of resources and planning which had to have happened over a long period of time with accurate intelligence or at the very least intelligence developed over a long period of time.
We in the UK are a “5 eyes” country, sharing intelligence between ourselves with America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and in the case of America, there are NSA officers sitting in air-conditioned offices in GCHQ Cheltenham.
As far back as the 1980s, American spy satellites could read the numbers on the epaulettes of Russian soldiers uniforms from space, so somehow we are supposed to believe that Saddam Hussein could move troop concentrations and “weapons of mass destruction” across open desert without being spotted some 20 years later with far more powerful optical technology?
The planning for the Iraq war was part of a strategy to effect regime change in five countries, namely Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Libya.
The plan for Iraq was Balkanisation into a Kurdish element, a Shiite element and a “Salafist Principality” which we now know as the Global Caliphate or ISIS.
General Wesley Clarke can be seen on You Tube in full uniform talking about how and when he learned of this strategy whilst visiting the Pentagon and being shown maps of the re-ordered Middle East by a Pentagon strategist who met him there.
A look at the PNAC website confirms the overarching strategy for regime change in the Middle East and other places so one might have expected a competent UK Prime Minister and his officials to have taken the trouble to read it but it seems Tony Blair didn’t do that either.
The Chilcott Report is an exercise in stretching out work that should have taken one year into a seven year period when Chilcott and his apparatchiks earned £700 a day at taxpayers expense to come up with a clever whitewash of the guilty men and woman involved.
Blair apparently lied and was acting when he made his apology which will be of no comfort to those affected. His actions since demonstrate no honour, no contrition and no remorse. He was told by MI6 of the patchy nature of the intelligence and one man resigned because of pressure from No 10 to strengthen the case for war, yet we are somehow expected to believe that Blair “acted in good faith”?
Blair was warned about the possibility of inter religious strife many times, including by Sir John Major, so saying as Blair did that he could not have foreseen the aftermath as being as difficult as it was, simply does not wash and cannot be true.
Lord Goldsmith’s legal advice about the legality of the war has never been published even in “blue pencilled ” form, so without that Blair, Brown, Short, Hoon et al, can never be implicated although its non publication I think speaks volumes.
Dr David Kelly was somehow able to shoot himself from the front, at point blank range, yet without leaving a single fingerprint on gloves or on anything else….Another of life’s great mysteries perhaps but the refusal of Tony Blair’s Government to allow a full inquest by doctors is not.
I would like to think that some good will come out of this, that “lessons will be learned” but sadly my head tells me otherwise.