Wednesday, July 06, 2016

He Knew. Tony Blair Knew.




It's going to take days to digest the 2-million word Chilcot Report into the British government's decision to partner up with the Bush-Cheney regime to invade Iraq.

For years Tony Blair has been going on about how the conquest of Iraq was absolutely the right thing to do. The end, sending Saddam Hussein to the gallows, justified the means, the invasion, and the endless aftermath - the various wars without end that are the hallmark of today's Middle East.

Blair is actually playing two cards: the justification card and the sympathy card. Perhaps finally realizing that Chilcot would skewer the justification ploy, Blair has now been baring his profound anguish and suffering over how it all went wrong.

1441

The Bush-Blair Bandwagon ultimately relied on a UN Security Council resolution, 1441, as authorizing their devastating attack on and occupation of Iraq. 1441, however, did no such thing. To wrangle it through the UNSC where both France and Russia stood to veto it, the Anglo-Americans assured the doubters that the resolution did not constitute authority for war and there would be no war on Iraq without a further, express resolution. That, of course, never happened.

Tony Blair knew the Security Council had not authorized the attack he and Washington were planning. That's why the Brits tabled a further resolution, the one they had promised to bring to seek the Security Council go ahead. Only it quickly became apparent that resolution would be defeated. That led Blair to withdraw the resolution before any vote. Blair knew he needed authority. He sought approval. Then he backed off and he's been trying to cover  his tracks ever since. It was a monumental blunder.

Chilcot, according to reports, concludes that Blair knew war on Iraq was not authorized by the UN Security Council. He knew it was an illegal war and he, a war criminal, for ordering it. The rest of the report, as far as I can tell at this early stage, is window dressing. As for the post invasion aftermath, Chilcot does dispose of Blair's persistent dismissal of critics as resorting to hindsight. Given that an occupying power has a number of clear obligations to the occupied people, including providing for their security, Blair might be on the hook on this score as well.

What comes of this now is unclear. Will Blair be prosecuted? He ought to be but that doesn't mean he will.



UPDATE:

Blair, of course, has written a book, A Journey: My Political Life. I'll leave the review to Foreign Policy's Thomas Ricks.

17 comments:

Toby said...

There was a time when attacking Third World countries, over turning governments and assassinating tin horn despots was all in a days work for the leader of a powerful country like England. Blair looks to be like a deer in the headlights wondering why he can't get away with it too.

Owen Gray said...

With Brexit and the Chilcot Report, Mound, the British governing elite has been exposed as totally corrupt and incompetent.

Kirby Evans said...

Every time I hear Blair defend himself with the claim that the "intelligence" said there were WMDs, I remember Hans Blix who was in Iraq for many months before the war. He told the West over and over that there were no such weapons, but Blair totally disregarded him.

The Mound of Sound said...

I was struck in watching Blair's reaction just how much he seems to have aged over the last month or two. Today he looks unduly drawn, gaunt and old. There's an air of desperation that has grown more strident.

Chilcot's report is a bit like the fist in a velvet glove. It's an exercise of reading between the lines and yet it does take down a lot of Blair's standard excuses.

I cringed as Blair opened with his spiel about how Britain was just part of a coalition of 40-countries led by the United States. Just a bit player. I'm surprised he had the gall to try that one on.

The only way to sort this out is to put Blair in the prisoner's dock.

Anonymous said...

Tony Blair reminds me of the first lines of a song written by a great Canadian entertainer that goes "My boy's gonna play in the big leagues; my boy's gonna knock em dead" because that's was Tony's ambition - to play in the 'big leagues' which is why he teamed up with the brainless Bush gang. If what I've read is correct, he was also dazzled at the same time with the attention he was receiving from one of Rupert Murdoch's ex-wives. Just another small town boy wanting to make it big! What a disaster he caused for millions of innocent people when he teamed up with the Bush/Cheney cabal.

Anonymous said...

What I noticed was Blair saying that he "accepts responsibility". This has been the theme of high-end PR hackery worldwide for a decade or more. harper standing up and "apologizing" for something that Canada did to First Nations, and not being in the slightest bit apologetic even as he mouthed the words. Etc. In fact, "apologizing" or "accepting responsibility" are just hollow utterances from politicians signifying fuck all these days, beyond "Shit, you got me!"

The Brits ought to haul Blair up on charges so he can get his motormouth wound out to 7200 rpm in a courtroom, lying through his teeth as spontaneously and easily as he is so capable of doing in the Public School fashion of Eton and Harrow pupils. On public view in court, his utter uselessness and conniving nature would become much clearer to more people. Only if he's found guilty will he actually be in a position to "accept responsibility". As he well knows.

A nasty little piece of work.

BM

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Can you imagine if you were an Iraqi listening to Blairs drivel. One million Iraqi citizens died. Their country has been demolished and devastated and is now run by various ISIL groups who think nothing of creating explosions in downtown Bagdhad cafes killing more Iraqis.The sheer violence and cruelty that has and continues to be done to the Iraqi people caused by the US and Britain is jaw dropping.there was no such thing as faulty intelligence. Hans Blix told everyone that there was no such WMD in Iraq. That is not what Blair and Bush wanted to hear. Saddam Hussein was a dictator. A dictator that the US and Britain supported until they did not.Someone should fly Blair and Bush Jr. to Iraq and let them loose to fend for themselves.
2 chicken hawks running through the Desert.

The Mound of Sound said...

"sorrow, regret and apology" - what a curious thing to say for a guy who claims what he did was absolutely the right thing, the only thing that could have been done. How does one apologize for doing the right thing?

@ Anon 12:12 - I had the sense at the time that Blair was swept up with the idea of being Bush's sidekick, his BFF. His correspondence to Bush indicates that he had a powerfully grandiose notion that, together, they were going to create a new world order.

@ BM - the sincerity of Blair's arguments is demonstrated by their inconsistency. His claims are irreconcilable, something which any prosecutor would pounce on to devastating effect.

@ Pamela - it is difficult to watch Blair's pathetic claim that the destabilizing impacts of toppling Saddam and leaving Iraq wrecked had no knock-on effects on today's wars without end. this is apparently something he desperately needs to believe and so, like some fictional madman, he just keeps repeating to himself.

Lorne said...

I do recall, Mound, that Blair was frequently referred to as Bush's poodle. That says it all, doesn't it?

The Mound of Sound said...


Lorne, I think Blair's been living one giant "oh shit" moment since he tabled and then had to withdraw the motion for a Security Council resolution authorizing war. He knew he needed UNSC authorization for the invasion. His government had promised the French and Russians there would be no attack absent Security Council approval. Merely seeking that further resolution was an admission of that. He knew that, if the motion was voted down - and there was no doubt it would be - he would be unable to persuade Parliament to support the war. So he pulled the motion and went overtime contriving dodgy intelligence dossiers.

Blair got caught up in something he couldn't control. Even when he decided to stick with Bush he must have been hoping, praying that it would all go over smoothly and quickly which would silence his critics. Then, when that didn't happen and Iraq turned into a bloody quagmire, Blair's worst nightmares came to pass.

Al Qaeda was reborn. Iraq descended into sectarian civil war. A corrupt regime took power in Baghdad. Afghanistan became everyone's Maelstrom. ISIS was born. The rest of the Middle East was destabilized. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died, millions more were displaced. It's all on Blair's head.

Anonymous said...

This was not a "blunder" or "accident" or "mistake" caused by a faulty intelligence.
Those criminals who were orchestrating an invasion of Iraq knew EXACTLY what kind of mayhem they are purposely creating.
A..non

Anonymous said...

Blair knew all right. The whole world knew if they were paying attention. The lies were being debunked as fast as Blair and Bush could make them up - the nonsense about yellow cake and mobile weapons labs, the ridiculous claim that Saddam was behind the anthrax scare, and the absurd notion that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attack.

BM is right that mouthing empty platitudes about taking responsibility is just a PR strategy. It costs Blair nothing to say he takes responsibility for the war.

I haven't started reading it yet, but I'm not sure the Chilcott report adds to what we already know. If you want to see proof that the UK MPs knew they were embarking on an illegal war, watch Robin Cook's resignation speech. There was a man of honour.

Cap

Anonymous said...

This all took place while I was living in S. Korea. The Koreans were appalled that Blair was backing George Bush. Koreans never ever liked George. As far as Koreans and other Asian countries were concerned, there were no weapons of mass destruction In Iraq. We foreigners living in S. Korea were flabbergasted at Blair's decision. It has been widely said, that George Bush may not have invaded Iraq if Blair had not sanctioned the move. As for Hans Blik, everyone knew the man was telling the truth as did the Germans. The need for all Brits to reach the top of British society as having made it, is an inbred desire. In Britain if a person hasn't "made it" as to the unwritten doctrine of success, a person is "nothing". Look at what is taking place at the moment with Brexit. Blair needs to face the music. It must be great to break democratic law and get away with it.
Anyong.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention!!! see below..
It's time to take down the "establishment"
First we have to define "establishment"
For sure Blair is part of it.


http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/jul/16/david-kelly-death-10-years-on

Troy Thomas said...

Well, now it makes sense why the Blairites were so desperate to try and oust Corbyn from the Labour leadership, as Corbyn's been on record a few times mentioning Iraq and war crimes in the same sentence, and how people need to 'face the consequences'.

Steve said...

Not a mention of Dr David Kelly, still dead. Another nail in the Harper coffin of credibilty.

The Mound of Sound said...

Excellent point, Troy. I hadn't connected those dots but they do fit very neatly. Thanks.