Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blair Should Take Responsibility for Iraq. But He Won't. He Can't

Blair Should Take Responsibility for Iraq. But He Won't. He Can't


By Robert Fisk

The Independent (UK)

September 3, 201o


Has this wretched man learned nothing? On and on, it

went during his BBC interview: "I would

absolutely...","I definitely...", "I believed

absolutely clearly...", "It was very, very clear that

this changed everything" - "this" being 11 September

2001 - "Let me state clearly and unequivocally", "The

Intelligence picture was clear...", "legal

justification was quite clear", "We said completely

accurately... "Because I believed strongly, then and

now...", "My definitive view in the end is..." You

would have thought we won the war in Iraq, that we were

winning the war in Afghanistan, that we were going to

win the next war in Iran. And why not, if Lord Blair of

Kut al-Amara says so.


And I hereby abandon all further reference to Lord

Blair of Kut al-Amara, with its unhappy reference to

Britain's humiliating military defeat in 1915

Mesopotamia. He must be re-created Lord Blair of

Isfahan. Having conquered Saddam, he wants to conquer

Ahmadinejad. "I am saying that it is wholly

unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons

capability," he told poor old Andrew Marr. It was

necessary for the Iranians," quoth he, "to get that

message, loud and clear." Thus did our Middle East

peace envoy prepare us for war with Persia. But I

rather fear the Iranians got his "message" a long time

ago: if you want to avoid threats from the likes of

Lord Blair, you'd better buy a bomb pdq. After all,

what he didn't announce was: "I am saying it is wholly

unacceptable for North Korea to have nuclear

capability." And we all know why.


Sometimes, Blair sounded like the Israeli foreign

minister, Avigdor Lieberman. He and his Israeli boss

believe Ahmadinejad is worse than Hitler - which takes

some doing - and Lord Blair, as we know, is no

appeaser. Oddly, however - since he's supposed to be

our peacemaker between the two sides - "Israel" and

"Palestine" were two words that went totally

unmentioned, even though Blair blurted out to the

Chilcot inquiry that there had been "phone calls" with

Israelis during his decision-making conference with

Bush over Iraq. Marr missed out there. What on earth

were Blair and Bush talking to the Israelis about as

they prepared to take us into this catastrophe?


It was all so very schoolboyish. Yes, "people"

disagreed about the war. "People always want to look

for a conspiracy." And - my favourite - "this debate

will go on." But it's not a bloody debate - it's a

bloody, blood-soaked disaster, for which Blair should

take responsibility. But he won't. He can't. So Iraq's

descent into butchery was all the fault of al-Qa'ida,

of "the external involvement" of al-Qa'ida and Iran.


Iraq was "destabilised by the same external forces that

destabilised Afghanistan." Alas no. The men shooting

and bombing and killing Brits and Americans in Iraq

were largely Iraqis, the very men - and occasionally

women - whom Messrs Blair and Bush thought they were

liberating from Saddam. "People are driving car bombs

into crowded suburbs," Lord Blair said at one point, as

if this was some kind of folkloric tradition, an odd

tribal habit that had nothing to do with our 2003 invasion.


"How can you not feel sorry about people who have

died?" Lord Blair remarked of the victims. What we

wanted to hear was "I feel sorry for the people who

have been killed." Even that might have come a tad

nearer an admission of guilt. "We haven't caused this,"

Blair said in an unguarded moment. Not my fault, Guv! I

noticed, too, how Marr stuck to the minimum 100,000

figure for Iraq's dead, rather than the half million or

million statistic which haunts our former prime

minister. Thus Blair was able to refer to the "hundreds

of thousands of people who died under Saddam". It was

the old story. Blair wasn't as bad as Saddam. And

Blair's nicer than Hitler, more sympathetic than

Stalin, kinder than Genghis Khan. Nope. This whole mess

had nothing to do with Lord Blair. "You have to have

the courage to do what you think is right." But

"thinking" is not good enough. I hope the air-raid

sirens in Isfahan are in good working order.




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