Saturday, 30 January 2010

Tony Blair [Dodging the Facts] at the Chilcot Inquiry

Blair has been in familiar mode, repeating the old tunes that stress his sincerity and good faith, his firm belief that he was right and his view that it all comes down to a matter of judgment: "This isn't about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception; it's a decision," he said.

He was allowed to maintain that stance pretty well unimpeded, thanks to the much-noted lack of forensic precision from the inquiry team. Again and again, Blair was allowed to reply to specific questions with long, generalised answers.

So, Lawrence Freedman rightly asked Blair whether it was honest to publish a dossier which said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that could be launched at 45 minutes' notice – when, in fact, that figure referred to short-range, battlefield munitions – and was treated to a long response that contained no answer, barring an admission that he hadn't "really focused" on it. A Jeremy Paxman or a John Humphrys – or a jobbing barrister – would have firmly insisted that the former prime minister return to the narrow point at issue. But, with the exception of former ambassador Roderick Lyne, this panel lacks such an interrogator.

Equally irritating has been the inquiry's acceptance of Blair's repeated premise: that Saddam was not in compliance with UN demands that he disarm. It took Freedman to remind Blair that subsequent events had shown that Saddam had, of course, disarmed – because there were no WMD in Iraq, after all.

Tony Blair needs to be immediately put under arrest for War Crimes. The man bears command responsibility for a War that was illegal and sold upon deliberate lies. This guy, and other accomplices, are responsible for the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, January 30th, 2010.]


steven andresen said...

It's my understanding that though there has been this confrontation in Britain between those who engaged them in Iraq, and those who argue now that the war was illegal, such a confrontation here has been pretty much squelched.

There was the argument that you cannot criminalize policy. So, if Bush went into Iraq, for whatever reasons, they have to be considered policy decisions that anyone could have made, and thus, cannot be attacked later on by people with more political power at that later date. The presumption being, I guess, that justice is in the eye of whomever has the most power at the time.

It's my understanding that our political culture now believes that Nuremburg principles are a sham and that if the germans had won, then, people should be alright with whatever they had done. Might makes right, in other words.

I think this would not be surprising to you. It is not surprising to me, I guess.

But isn't this true and wouldn't the MSM ands the political leaders deny such a thing? It would be true, but they could not accept it...?

SpookyPunkos said...

I agree that at the moment there's been little success in arresting those people responsible for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, I do not want to give up on the idea that countries and leaders should be punished for engaging in unproked wars of conquest/destruction.

I think most actions we deem as criminal in nature should be discouraged because of the consequences that doing nothing brings about.

If we can invade a country on false pretenses, and no one cares, then why not kill everyone in that territory and not worry so much about it ? If we do not pull the trigger ourselves then we can distance ourselves from complicity in any crime?

If we are the victim of the crime, then we must simply accept our fate? Depleted Uranium seems to already be doing its work. I would not want to be accepting those sorts of consequences.

I think holding our leaders accountable is important. Getting to that point, from where we are now, will not be easy. Using the Law appears to be one of the places to start (along with educating the population).