Sunday, 13 December 2009

Blair lied, thousands died

Tony Blair, as you may have gathered, has essentially admitted that the WMDs story - in the run up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq - was opportunistic and false. He's acknowledged that WMDs were not the real reason for the invasion of Iraq, saying he'd have gone ahead with UK participation even if he'd known there were no weapons to be found. A number of politicians have pointed out how much harder Blair would have found it to win parliamentary support, if he had not had the WMD prop to rely on.

Blair was always adept at PR. His back is against the wall here, but what he's basically doing is trying to manage the flow of information about the preparations for war: it's going to be tough for him when he appears at the Iraq inquiry (early in 2010), so he's getting some of it out there now. This minimises the impact later. It's also fair to speculate that Fern Britton was never likely to be the most fearsome interrogator.

One of Blair's favourite tricks was played for all it is worth - presenting a political situation as a matter of personal character. All that matters, so he's suggesting, is that he's a well-meaning guy, who's flawed but just did what he thought was right. You would never think it had anything to do with US geopolitical interests and Britain's role as chief accomplice, based on the worldview of our political and military elites. This all becomes obscured. Stop the War's satirical 'confession' reveals the truth that Blair will, unfortunately, never speak.

Thankfully most people aren't content with Blair's retrospective whitewash of his own conduct. My impression is that it's re-igniting some of the passionate opposition expressed back in 2003. And this time there's the advantage of us knowing that we were correct in the predictions we made, considering the disastrous outcomes of the occupation.

The inquiry is revealing more and more of the facts about the background - none of which reflect well on those who made the political decisions - and Blair's appearance will serve as a focus for protesting at continuing injustice.

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