|Drawing by Jon Stich, 2014: "I did this sketch of a vampire on the flight home from LA. It kind of looks more like a psychopathic Tony Blair though, which I’m okay with."|
War criminal Tony Blair in his address today:
The decision to go to war in Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power in a coalition of over 40 countries led by the USA, was the hardest, most momentous, most agonising decision I took in 10 years as British prime minister.
For that decision today I accept full responsibility, without exception and without excuse.And then proceeds to list his exceptions and excuses for what seems likely to be hours of self-justifying and lies. I heard him going on about how the Iraqi military just unexpectedly "melted away" in the face of the invasion, for instance, leaving the Iraqi public defenseless against an eruption of Sunni-Shi'a conflict, without somehow remembering old Proconsul Bremer's orders to disband the Iraqi army and "de-Baathify" the government (which literally created the Sunni "insurgency" when it deprived all those skilled and angry and in many cases extremely violent people of their livelihoods).
For all of this I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe.No, we know exactly how much you express.
And earlier, in his prepared statement:
“The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit. Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country.”If by "laying to rest" you mean ending debate on the question by establishing conclusively that the allegations are true.
Nobody is disputing that Blair may have believed the Iraq invasion in spring 2003 was in what he "believed to be the best interests of the country", because nobody can know what he believed, buried as that is in a web of deep dishonesty.
He may well have believed it, but we still don't know why. The arguments he used to persuade the British public to believe it along with him were based on premises he knew to be exaggerated, dubious, or downright false, as the Chilcot report shows in great detail. And he was determined to go to war many months before he made his decision public, months during which he and his US partner George W. Bush continued to pretend they were working to avoid war and exhaust every diplomatic decision before taking this last resort.
On October 11 2001, Blair wrote to Bush on the proposal of a "phase 2" of the "war on terror",
if we hit Iraq now, we would lose the entire Arab world, Russia, probably half the EU...I am sure we can devise a strategy for Saddam deliverable at a later date.... we just don’t need it debated too freely in public until we know what exactly we want to do and how we can do itand proposed the implementation of a "firm and dedicated propaganda unit" to prepare the ground.
And on July 21 2002, in the "I will be with you, whatever" note, he outlined the job the propaganda unit would need to do, because he "couldn't be sure of support from Parliament, party, public or even some in the Cabinet":
If we recapitulate all the WMD evidence; add his attempts to secure nuclear capability; and, as seems possible, add on the al-Qaeda link, it will be hugely persuasive over here. Plus… the abhorrent nature of the regime. It could be done simultaneously with the deadline.The decision had been made long ago, and it was never about responding to a "threat" that British intelligence had insisted was not so severe or imminent as others. As he wrote to Bush on March 26 2003,
This is the moment when you can define international priorities for the next generation – the true post-Cold War world order. Our ambition is big – to construct a global agenda around which we can unite the world.... That’s why, though Iraq’s WMD is the immediate justification for action, ridding Iraq of Saddam is the real prize.They did it because they wanted to.