Friday, January 29, 2010

Here we go...

This is what I said Blair would do the other day:

This was the same reason that Blair was extremely careful, when talking of Saddam's supposed weaponry, to always insert the words "I believe" into his sentences on the subject. He was very careful never to assert that what he was stating was factual, he always made sure that he had covered himself by insisting - all be it terribly subtly - that he was actually stating his personal opinion.
And ten minutes ago, he did just that.
The former PM says it is justifiable to say intelligence on Iraq was "beyond doubt" because he prefaces the phrase in the foreword of the September dossier with the word "I believe" and he says he genuinely believed it… that was, in effect his reading of the intelligence and he "couldn't understand how anyone could come to a different view".
He now claims that he "couldn't understand how anyone could come to a different view". This is the kind of deceit that I expected him to engage in. He inserted "I believe" into the sentence to give himself exactly this kind of cover.

Here's what he actually said:
"What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons and that he has been able to extend the range of his ballistic missile programme."
Most people heard that the evidence had established Iraq's WMD capacity "beyond doubt". His insertion of "I believe" did not make many people think that this was simply his own personal opinion. I said the other day that I thought he inserted this cover "terribly subtly", but Blair is now making out that it was so obvious that he "couldn't understand how anyone could come to a different view".

He has also started relying on the defence that it is easy for us to make the case we are making because of hindsight.

But nearly two million people took to the streets of London to protest the Iraq war. When we marched we did not have the benefit of hindsight which Blair thinks everyone criticising him is now relying on.


Blair has just said that he expected Iran, because they had been at war with Iraq, to have been more amenable to the invasion.

That's simply staggering. Bush had named Iran as part of the Axis of Evil. Surely it had occurred to Blair that, as the Iranians had practically been warned that they were next for invasion, it was in their interests for Iraq to be in chaos?

How can he have seriously expected the Iranians to wish to help make their own invasion more likely?


He was asked if he had any regrets and, with the families of the dead sitting around him silently, he stated that, although he was "sorry" it had been "divisive", he believed it had been right to remove Saddam.


Glenn Greenwald reminds us that, here in Britain, we have at least had an inquiry. In America, Obama insists that the US must look forward and not backwards.
Still, one could hardly imagine George Bush and Dick Cheney being hauled before an investigative body and forced, under oath, to testify about what they did as a means of examining the illegality of that war. Doing that would fundamentally conflict with two leading principles in American political life: (1) our highest political leaders must never be accountable for actions they take while in power; and (2) whether something they do is "illegal" -- especially the starting of wars -- is utterly irrelevant.
Indeed, in the US the former Vice President routinely insists that the war crime of torture "worked" and chides the Obama regime for refusing to continue practising his crimes.
When Mr Blair left he was booed by some members of the public and two women shouted at him "you are a liar" and "you are a murderer".
Bush and Cheney aren't even asked to go through that level of discomfort.

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