Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blair faces critics from pulpit and public as Britain remembers Iraq.

Tony Blair was called "a war criminal" yesterday during a service at Saint Paul's to commemorate those who have fallen in Iraq. The father of one of the 178 Brits who have died in that conflict issued the condemnation whilst refusing to shake Blair's hand which he said, "had blood on it."

When two million people marched through London in an attempt to stop the Iraq invasion, Blair famously stated that the marchers "would have blood on their hands". So, whilst the father's words might seem harsh, they are - in reality - only Blair's own words being delivered back to him.

Peter Brierley, whose son Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley died in a road accident while on service in Iraq barely a week after the invasion in March 2003, publicly snubbed the former prime minister at a reception that followed a service commemorating those who served in the conflict. As Blair proffered his hand, Brierley told him: "I'm not shaking your hand, you've got blood on it."

Later, Brierley, from Batley, West Yorkshire, who has campaigned for a number of years for an inquiry into the war, said: "I believe Tony Blair is a war criminal. I can't bear to be in the same room as him ... I believe he's got the blood of my son and all of the other men and women who died out there on his hands."

And the Archbishop of Canterbury also piled on the criticism by stating that the leaders who led us into this war had forgotten the cost of such wars.

"Many people of my generation and younger grew up doubting we should ever see another straightforward international conflict, fought by a standing army with conventional weapons," Williams said. "We had begun to forget the realities of cost. And when such conflict appeared on the horizon, there were those among both policymakers and commentators who were able to talk about it without really measuring the price, the cost of justice."

It's astonishing to me that Blair has never accepted that what he did was so very wrong. But then, I suppose people are able to convince themselves of anything rather than admit that their actions have resulted in misery and death for so many thousands of people. How could he ever truly accept that he had - no doubt convincing himself that he was on the side of the God's - created a conflict that was immoral and wrong and based on a set of complete lies.

In truth, I probably expect far too much when I wonder if Blair will ever admit that he was wrong. Because, if I put myself in his shoes, were I ever to think I had done anything as dreadful as what he has done, I would probably jump off London Bridge in shame.

So Tony will probably go to his grave insisting that it was the right thing to do. How can he do otherwise?

As Williams stated, Blair's mistake was that he set out to fight "invisible enemies – letting ends justify means, letting others rather than oneself carry the cost, denying the difficulties or the failures so as to present a good public face."

There is always an involuntary shudder which goes through me when I see someone humiliated in this way. It's a natural reaction born from empathy and the feeling of how humiliated I would be were anyone ever to do such a thing to myself. In that moment, I almost feel sorry for Blair.

But then I remember that it was his inability to empathise with the young men and women who he was sending into that dreadful war, it was his desire to align himself with Bush and the neo-con movement, which resulted in that father's terrible loss.

Were I in that man's position, I don't think I could have shaken his hand either.

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Anonymous said...

Blair has the blood of at least 100,000 on his hands when he took Britain to war in Iraq, based on trumped-up Israeli intelligence that was accepted and disseminated throughout the intelligence communities by the US.

Subsequently resigning as prime minister, he thought he could influence the Palestinian conflict with Israel - and spectacularly failed. Nobody looked or listened to him because he had no knowledge whatsoever of the Mid East.

If there were justice in the world, then Blair, Bush, Sharon, Olmert and Barak would all have to face charges of perpetrating war crimes.

Kel said...

If there were justice in the world, then Blair, Bush, Sharon, Olmert and Barak would all have to face charges of perpetrating war crimes.

I agree 100%.

Anonymous said...

Then let there be justice! A worldwide campaign by ordinary people to have the accused brought before an international court.

Would have to be outside of the UN - as the US, on behalf of itself and Israel, has an over-riding veto in the Security Council.

Let's call it 'WORLD JUSTICE 2009'.

Sign-up here! ................

Kel said...

We should start an on-line petition to have them brought before the International Court of Justice.