Sunday, June 17, 2007

Leaving In Disgrace

Tony Blair isn't getting out of No. 10 without a few good kicks on the way. Even before he yields the reins of power former aides and associates are telling all and their accounts make Tony look like a hapless chump - at the very least.

Britain's controversial Channel 4 has produced a documentary in which certain credible types say that, contrary to the assurances he gave the British people at the time, Blair committed his troops to battle knowing the US had no real post-war plan. From The Guardian:

"In one of the most significant interviews in the programme, Peter Mandelson says that the Prime Minister knew the preparations were inadequate but said he was powerless to do more.
'Obviously more attention should have been paid to what happened after, to the planning and what we would do once Saddam had been toppled,' Mandelson tells The Observer's chief political commentator, Andrew Rawnsley, who presents the documentary.

"'But I remember him saying at the time: "Look, you know, I can't do everything. That's chiefly America's responsibility, not ours."' Mandelson then criticises his friend: 'Well, I'm afraid that, as we now see, wasn't good enough.'.

"Blair's most senior foreign affairs adviser at the time of the war makes clear that Blair was 'exercised' on the exact issue raised by the war's opponents. Sir David Manning, now Britain's ambassador to Washington, says: 'It's hard to know exactly what happened over the post-war planning. I can only say that I remember the PM raising this many months before the war began. He was very exercised about it.'

"Manning reveals that Blair was so concerned that he sent him to Washington in March 2002, a full year before the invasion. On his return to London, Manning wrote a highly-critical secret memo to Blair. 'I think there is a real risk that the [Bush] administration underestimates the difficulties,' it said. 'They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean that they will avoid it.'

"Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's envoy to the postwar administration in Baghdad, confirms that Blair was in despair. 'There were moments of throwing his hands in the air: "What can we do?" He was tearing his hair over some of the deficiencies.' The failure to prepare meant that Iraq quickly fell apart. Greenstock adds: 'I just felt it was slipping away from us really, from the beginning. There was no security force controlling the streets. There was no police force to speak of.'"

These revelations, coupled with earlier insights including leaked memos, puts the lie to Blair's flimsy claim that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. It is beyond dispute now that Blair had a full year before the attack on Iraq in which he knew that conditions were perfect for the whole thing to turn into a quagmire after the invasion. Despite all the warnings he still committed his forces to Bush's folly. The interviews make clear that Blair misled his own people and stayed perfectly mute when he knew that George w. Bush was lying to his people.

Have we heard the end of this business? Don't count on it. There are plenty of others with plenty to tell and, now that the floodgates have been opened, it's hard to imagine they'll be willing to put their own reputations at risk to protect their fatally-wounded former leader.
Much as Tony Blair should have been able to see the Iraq invasion as a fiasco waiting to happen, he also should have understood that he stood even less chance of his real actions remaining secret.

Never, ever let a guy who ever looked like this

send your kids to war!


Anonymous said...

Bush gets blamed for everything. The man was a front for the 'Fab Four', to stupid to be allowed to think and had to be limited to the TV presentations.
Of course, the Fab Four are also to stupid to be allowed to think but all they had to do was hide behind George and look what the world got. George is going to Hell for sure but Wolfowitz, Chaney and whatztheir names will never graduate beyond the nether world and that's fitting, don't you think?
Can you imagine how bad it would be for Canada on the Iraq front alone, had Harper got his majority??????????

Anonymous said...

Oh! I forgot to mention Blair.....nuff said.