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Tony Blair lied from the start Inside Labour, few cared that his war was illegal

Bit dodgy (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Bit dodgy (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)


March 17, 2023   4 mins

It was a bright day in March, and the clocks were striking 13. Outside 10 Downing Street, Rishi Sunak stepped forward, bowed his head, and led his country in a minute’s silence. Above him, fluttering in the gentle breeze, was the Iraqi flag.

“Today marks 20 years since the beginning of an invasion and occupation that has been estimated to have cost more than one million Iraqis lives, along with those of 179 British servicemen and women,” he told a TV camera afterwards. “Today, we remember how the then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, warned that the war was not in accordance with the UN Charter and was illegal. Last month, we observed a minute’s silence for those killed in another illegal war, started by Russia in Ukraine. If there is a lesson for all of us to learn, it is that the UN Charter is there for a reason.”

Less than a mile away, at the Houses of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, also observed the minute’s silence. “I have previously stated that the Iraq war was not lawful because there was no UN resolution expressly authorising it,” he said in a statement afterwards. “The decision to commit British forces was taken by a former Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair. My Labour Party condemns all breaches of international law — both past and present.”

And then I woke up… to the dulcet tones of Tony Blair, sufficiently emboldened by yet another soft-soap BBC interview to pronounce, without a hint of irony, on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. When gently challenged over his own invasion of Iraq, he loftily declared that “each case must be judged on its own merits”. Blair, of course, has form with Putin, visiting the St Petersburg opera with him in 2000 as Chechnya was being pulverised. He later said that it is “important we support Russia in her action against terrorism”.

Twenty years ago, as an elected member of the Labour Party’s ruling National Executive Committee, I had a ring-side seat at the launch of the Iraq War. From the outset, I didn’t believe Blair’s claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. According to Robin Lustig, then a presenter on Radio 4’s The World Tonight, my clash with former US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, was the first time anyone had publicly challenged the WMD claim. (So furious was Eagleburger, he started calling me “Buster”.)

From early 2002, it was already clear that America had a political imperative for Iraqi regime change. Tony Blair, far from dissuading President Bush, was actually helping him build an international “coalition of the willing”. On January 28, I sat next to the veteran Labour Left-winger Dennis Skinner at a meeting of Labour’s NEC as he jabbed his finger at Blair and said: “This will be the biggest mistake you will ever make!”

Unbeknown to Blair, I was working closely with Jan Kavan, a former President of the UN General Assembly and Czech Foreign Minister, and Robin Cook, who would later resign from the Cabinet in protest at Britain’s support for the Iraq war. Together we drafted a series of resolutions to be tabled at meetings of the NEC, in the hope that this might encourage a wider revolt within the Parliamentary Labour Party. On three occasions, with only the support of three other members of the NEC, we challenged Blair directly, submitting resolutions demanding that the Labour Government ascertain from the UN Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly the legality of any attack. The 30-strong committee voted us down twice and on a third occasion, as the countdown to war intensified, ruled a resolution “out of order”, which meant that it could not be voted on. This time, I walked out of the NEC meeting in protest. In another meeting, we were briefly handed a copy of the “dodgy dossier”, with its confected claim that WMDs could be launched against British military bases in Cyprus within 45 minutes. Then we had to hand it back.

When we took our opposition for a fourth time to the Labour Party Conference, despite party chairman Charles Clarke’s attempts to persuade us to withdraw our amendment, we were subsequently rounded on by tame, hand-picked speakers in the debate. I was accused of being an “appeaser” and “guilty of making orphans of the sons and daughters of servicemen in Cyprus”. Given that I was the son of a serviceman based in Cyprus who had been evacuated because there was a very real threat of a Turkish invasion at the time, it all seemed pretty hysterical. 

On February 15, 2003, millions of people in more than 600 cities worldwide took to the streets to protest the impending invasion. In London, with more than a million people filling the streets and Hyde Park, I joined speakers including Reverend Jesse Jackson, Charles Kennedy, and Jeremy Corbyn. I had brought the nonagenarian Michael Foot from his home in Hampstead to give possibly one of his last great flights of oratory. In Europe, crowds were even larger. Anti-war organisers reported that the worldwide demonstrations collectively formed the largest peace protest since the Vietnam War.

What have we learned from the Iraq invasion? Precious little it would seem. Today, Gordon Brown, whom I had attempted to win over before the invasion, and who I knew in his heart didn’t really want to go along with it, is calling for a Nuremberg-style special court to try Putin for war crimes; the same was promised for Saddam Hussein and look how how that turned out. Meanwhile, arms control treaties have been ripped up and the UN Secretary-General is invisible enough for most not even to know his name.

In Britain, it is now very difficult to find anyone who was ever in favour of the invasion and dismemberment of Iraq. Yet Tony Blair has never apologised or been held to account; instead, he has become revoltingly rich, partly by advising the kind of regimes he once railed against. Meanwhile, his chief propagandist, Alastair Campbell, is treated reverentially by the media, holding forth with no hint of self-awareness on such vexed issues as “standards in public life”. However, perhaps Peter Mandelson is thriving the most: he is now back in control of a Labour Party that Starmer claims as his own. This is the legacy of Iraq for New Labour: the lies might seem a distant memory, but the liars are most certainly not.


Mark Seddon is a former UN correspondent and New York bureau chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He also worked in the speechwriting unit for the former secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon

MarkSeddon1962

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CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Nothing represents the supine behaviour of the British Government (of all persuasions) towards the US so well as this shameful war. The whole rotten business is/was simply appalling.

The defence of Israel has always been the paramount aim of US Foreign Policy. Israel felt rightly (or perhaps wrongly) that Iraq and Saddam ‘Insane’ represented an existential threat to their very existence and HAD to be removed, by “hook or by crook”.
Thus the did US (and its lickspittle allies) launch themselves on another “Day of Infamy”

Let us not forget however that for the Blair creature to get his War required the votes of 146 so called Tory MP’s. A further 17 abstained, whilst 2, yes 2 voted against.
It is little wonder that many now despair of the morality and intelligence of humanity, and all this before COVID!

‘Consummatum est’.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

It was the beginning of the formation of the globalist Uniparty that rules us now.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

I knew from the time he became Labour leader Blair was a liar. But I remember thinking to myself no British Prime Minister would lie to the country over a matter so serious.
Also the media played its part. I remember the BBC news headlines with an announcement of weapons of mass destruction and 40 minute warning against a video of what looked like ICBMs taking off.
A red pill lesson

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

A liar and a flaming catholic. Such hypocrysy from a”Christian”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

A liar and a flaming catholic. Such hypocrysy from a”Christian”.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

And now the same type of people want war with Russia, using Ukrainian “democracy” as a pretext. The vast majority of Americans want nothing to do with it, and demand that our tax dollars cease being sent to that corrupt little worm running his money laundry of a country. But we no longer have a say in what our filthy government does. We don’t even know who our government actually is, but it’s in the pay of weapons manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and China.

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

But who owns Ukraine?
By some estimates 3.4 million hectares of Ukrainian farm land is the hands of foreign companies and Ukrainian companies with foreign funds as shareholders.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago

There is a difference. Saddam Husain was not looking to conquer the whole of the Middle East whereas Putin has stated that he wants to re-create the USSR and incorporate the remainder of Europe in his new empire.

Tony Day
TD
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

That is a lie, while Mr Putin has made no secret of the fact that he considers the breakup of the old Soviet empire to have been a disaster for Russia nowhere that I am aware of has he said that he wants to incorporate the remained of Europe in a new Soviet style empire.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Off the top of my head – Lavrov said, on camera, “Lisbon to Vladivostok” when replying to reporters questions. Lavrov is Putin’s Foreign Secretary and therefore, among other things, his official spokesman on foreign affairs. So I take it that the words were spoken on Putin’s behalf and I haven’t heard any retraction by Lavrov (who hasn’t fallen from a great height) or Putin himself. I’ll come back with more when I’ve got time to quote book, chapter and verse on Putin’s stated intentions.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Doug, haven’t you registered yet that Putin and Lavrov are professional liars and almost nothing they say can be taken at face value ?
I’m astonished you’re taking this sort of stuff literally without questioning it.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Erm, and that is a defence!? Saying on record that you have huge geopolitical ambitions for Russia might be deluded, but it can hardly be a ‘lie’

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Erm, and that is a defence!? Saying on record that you have huge geopolitical ambitions for Russia might be deluded, but it can hardly be a ‘lie’

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Doug, haven’t you registered yet that Putin and Lavrov are professional liars and almost nothing they say can be taken at face value ?
I’m astonished you’re taking this sort of stuff literally without questioning it.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Off the top of my head – Lavrov said, on camera, “Lisbon to Vladivostok” when replying to reporters questions. Lavrov is Putin’s Foreign Secretary and therefore, among other things, his official spokesman on foreign affairs. So I take it that the words were spoken on Putin’s behalf and I haven’t heard any retraction by Lavrov (who hasn’t fallen from a great height) or Putin himself. I’ll come back with more when I’ve got time to quote book, chapter and verse on Putin’s stated intentions.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Exactly.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

That is a lie, while Mr Putin has made no secret of the fact that he considers the breakup of the old Soviet empire to have been a disaster for Russia nowhere that I am aware of has he said that he wants to incorporate the remained of Europe in a new Soviet style empire.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Exactly.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Rubbish.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

But who owns Ukraine?
By some estimates 3.4 million hectares of Ukrainian farm land is the hands of foreign companies and Ukrainian companies with foreign funds as shareholders.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago

There is a difference. Saddam Husain was not looking to conquer the whole of the Middle East whereas Putin has stated that he wants to re-create the USSR and incorporate the remainder of Europe in his new empire.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Rubbish.

Andrew Pink
Andrew Pink
1 year ago

I do recall Saddam handing out $10,000 to the families of suicide bombers operating in Israel. He would hold public presentations. No wonder Israel wanted shut of him.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Pink

Plus his attempt to go ‘nuclear’ in the early eighties, and off course the notorious British built ‘super gun’.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Pink

Plus his attempt to go ‘nuclear’ in the early eighties, and off course the notorious British built ‘super gun’.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

It was the beginning of the formation of the globalist Uniparty that rules us now.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

I knew from the time he became Labour leader Blair was a liar. But I remember thinking to myself no British Prime Minister would lie to the country over a matter so serious.
Also the media played its part. I remember the BBC news headlines with an announcement of weapons of mass destruction and 40 minute warning against a video of what looked like ICBMs taking off.
A red pill lesson

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

And now the same type of people want war with Russia, using Ukrainian “democracy” as a pretext. The vast majority of Americans want nothing to do with it, and demand that our tax dollars cease being sent to that corrupt little worm running his money laundry of a country. But we no longer have a say in what our filthy government does. We don’t even know who our government actually is, but it’s in the pay of weapons manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and China.

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
Andrew Pink
Andrew Pink
1 year ago

I do recall Saddam handing out $10,000 to the families of suicide bombers operating in Israel. He would hold public presentations. No wonder Israel wanted shut of him.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Nothing represents the supine behaviour of the British Government (of all persuasions) towards the US so well as this shameful war. The whole rotten business is/was simply appalling.

The defence of Israel has always been the paramount aim of US Foreign Policy. Israel felt rightly (or perhaps wrongly) that Iraq and Saddam ‘Insane’ represented an existential threat to their very existence and HAD to be removed, by “hook or by crook”.
Thus the did US (and its lickspittle allies) launch themselves on another “Day of Infamy”

Let us not forget however that for the Blair creature to get his War required the votes of 146 so called Tory MP’s. A further 17 abstained, whilst 2, yes 2 voted against.
It is little wonder that many now despair of the morality and intelligence of humanity, and all this before COVID!

‘Consummatum est’.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago

It’s worth listening to Campbell on his Rest is Politics podcast. Even under questioning from the hyper-polite Rory Stewart he contradicts himself repeatedly and starts to bluster. What’s the phrase about polishing something?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

“You can’t polish a t*urd”.*

(*Diogenes of Sinope, 413-323 BC.)

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

I’d rather not listen to either of them thanks ! But thanks for doing it so we don’t have to.
I used to turn off the radio whenever Blair same on, such was my disgust at the man. From the very start.

Chris Hunter
CH
Chris Hunter
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Bliar was the most corrupt PM (by far) we’ve ever suffered. He quite openly accepted “gifts” from various vested interests – like Bill Gates (who gave him the Belgravia house in return for condemning the UK Civil Service to the disaster that is Microsoft software). He accepted all sorts of other corrupt payments throughout his time at No. 10. He also enabled uncontrolled (g)immigration to bolster his party’s “support”.

Bliar and his cabal bankrupted the UK (as “socialists” always do), and helped – quite deliberately – to precipitate the 2008 Banking crash. He and his chancellor (McDoom) stole the pensions from a huge number of us, put about a million benefits claimants from the Dole into bogus “administrative” positions in the NHS (in an effort to fiddle the unemployment statistics), and sold off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market!

To cap it all, he then took us into an illegal war, costing innumerable lives and a lot of money, on a completely bogus pretext, made up by his pal, boozy Al Campbell. He dismissed, trampled over or even killed any rational opposition (like Robin Cook or Dr David Kelly).

Why is he still at large?

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Hunter
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Hunter

One of the worst posts I’ve ever read on this site and it gets 21 upticks. Says it all really. How is Microsoft a disaster? I detest Blair, but he wasn’t corrupt. I’m glad he’s at large so we can ridicule his mullet.

Paul Beardsell
Paul Beardsell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I agree with you somewhat. But when the hyperbolic decoration of Chris Hunter’s post is removed mostly it is truth which remains. People feel passionately about ex-PM Tony.

Paul Beardsell
Paul Beardsell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I agree with you somewhat. But when the hyperbolic decoration of Chris Hunter’s post is removed mostly it is truth which remains. People feel passionately about ex-PM Tony.

Richard Crabtree
RC
Richard Crabtree
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Hunter

Chris, he’s still at large because the “evidence” as you present it, in the cold light of day doesn’t condemn him. Your presentation of the facts reads like an online conspiracy theory rant. Your positioning of him as the most corrupt PM ever is rather trumped by Johnson. i think your points need to be taken seriously and I’d welcome a serious formal enquiry into Blair’s actions. Who would you trust to make this happen?

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Hunter

One of the worst posts I’ve ever read on this site and it gets 21 upticks. Says it all really. How is Microsoft a disaster? I detest Blair, but he wasn’t corrupt. I’m glad he’s at large so we can ridicule his mullet.

Richard Crabtree
RC
Richard Crabtree
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Hunter

Chris, he’s still at large because the “evidence” as you present it, in the cold light of day doesn’t condemn him. Your presentation of the facts reads like an online conspiracy theory rant. Your positioning of him as the most corrupt PM ever is rather trumped by Johnson. i think your points need to be taken seriously and I’d welcome a serious formal enquiry into Blair’s actions. Who would you trust to make this happen?

Chris Hunter
CH
Chris Hunter
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Bliar was the most corrupt PM (by far) we’ve ever suffered. He quite openly accepted “gifts” from various vested interests – like Bill Gates (who gave him the Belgravia house in return for condemning the UK Civil Service to the disaster that is Microsoft software). He accepted all sorts of other corrupt payments throughout his time at No. 10. He also enabled uncontrolled (g)immigration to bolster his party’s “support”.

Bliar and his cabal bankrupted the UK (as “socialists” always do), and helped – quite deliberately – to precipitate the 2008 Banking crash. He and his chancellor (McDoom) stole the pensions from a huge number of us, put about a million benefits claimants from the Dole into bogus “administrative” positions in the NHS (in an effort to fiddle the unemployment statistics), and sold off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market!

To cap it all, he then took us into an illegal war, costing innumerable lives and a lot of money, on a completely bogus pretext, made up by his pal, boozy Al Campbell. He dismissed, trampled over or even killed any rational opposition (like Robin Cook or Dr David Kelly).

Why is he still at large?

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Hunter
Sam Hill
SH
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

The way that Campbell has been able to walk away from everything is really one of the most under-remarked upon aspects of this.

Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

The way he’s managed to reinvent himself on Twitter as a heroic centrist dad on the back of the FBPE movement is quite something to behold. And unfortunately he has acquired a massive fanbase as a result. He’s extremely clever, I’ll grant him that. But also utterly morally bankrupt.

Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

The way he’s managed to reinvent himself on Twitter as a heroic centrist dad on the back of the FBPE movement is quite something to behold. And unfortunately he has acquired a massive fanbase as a result. He’s extremely clever, I’ll grant him that. But also utterly morally bankrupt.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

No thanks, I’ve only just recovered from last weeks triggering when he appeared on TalkSport.

Martin Hilliard
Martin Hilliard
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

“… contradicts himself repeatedly …”, some examples would be helpful.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

“You can’t polish a t*urd”.*

(*Diogenes of Sinope, 413-323 BC.)

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

I’d rather not listen to either of them thanks ! But thanks for doing it so we don’t have to.
I used to turn off the radio whenever Blair same on, such was my disgust at the man. From the very start.

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

The way that Campbell has been able to walk away from everything is really one of the most under-remarked upon aspects of this.

Andrew Dalton
AD
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

No thanks, I’ve only just recovered from last weeks triggering when he appeared on TalkSport.

Martin Hilliard
MH
Martin Hilliard
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

“… contradicts himself repeatedly …”, some examples would be helpful.

Jonathan Nash
JN
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago

It’s worth listening to Campbell on his Rest is Politics podcast. Even under questioning from the hyper-polite Rory Stewart he contradicts himself repeatedly and starts to bluster. What’s the phrase about polishing something?

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

I would like to thank Tony Blair for making Harold Wilson seem far more principled in preventing the UK from joining in with the Vietnam war.
Which leaves me pondering what can be done about bringing the consequences of the Iraq war back to bear on Tony Blair. He seems to have escaped the consequences without penalty.

ben arnulfssen
BA
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Wilson also heeded his advisors, who told him that right or wrong, the war could not be won and should be avoided in the national interest

Tyler 0
MT
Tyler 0
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Imagine had Wilson sent British soldiers to Vietnam. It doesn’t bear thinking about, yet Blair might we’ll have.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tyler 0

Fortunately they were ‘too’ busy in Borneo, South Arabia and Oman.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tyler 0

Fortunately they were ‘too’ busy in Borneo, South Arabia and Oman.

Tyler 0
Tyler 0
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Imagine had Wilson sent British soldiers to Vietnam. It doesn’t bear thinking about, yet Blair might we’ll have.

Aw Zk
AZ
Aw Zk
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

In his speech to the 1999 Labour Party Conference Tony Blair spoke about how we were on the cusp of a century of progressive politics which would create “a model 21st century nation, based not on privilege, class or background, but on the equal worth of all”. Other Labour politicians and people on the left have also referred to the “equal worth” of all as being the basis of their politics or their work and Tony Blair referred to the idea of the “equal worth” of all in his 2000 conference speech and in his 2001 conference speech, delivered in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, in which he said the following:

“In all of this, at home and abroad, the same beliefs throughout: that we are a community of people, whose self-interest and mutual interest at crucial points merge, and that it is through a sense of justice that community is born and nurtured.

And what does this concept of justice consist of?

Fairness, people all of equal worth, of course. But also reason and tolerance. Justice has no favourites; not amongst nations, peoples or faiths.

When we act to bring to account those that committed the atrocity of September 11, we do so, not out of bloodlust.

We do so because it is just.”

But the men, women and children of Iraq were not of equal worth to the men, women and children of the UK and the USA who were at no risk from WMD which UN weapons inspectors in Iraq were not given the time to prove were not there. The thousands of underage girls who were plied with drink and drugs, raped and forced into prostitution by gangs of Muslim men in towns such as Rotherham, Keighley and Huddersfield were not of equal worth to the Labour-voting Guardian-reading public sector workers who covered it up to protect the New Labour government which promised to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” but knew what was happening because it was repeatedly told. The patients who died in failing NHS hospitals such as Stafford Hospital and Furness General Hospital were not of equal worth to the NHS staff who failed them, the NHS managers who covered up their failures and the regulators who failed to intervene.

On Wednesday 22nd March 2023 Boris Johnson will appear before the parliamentary committee investigating Partygate. What Tony Blair did when he was Prime Minister is far worse than anything Boris Johnson or any other Prime Minister I can think of ever did but he has never been held to account for what he did. On the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq will any politician or anyone else appear on a political TV programme, give a speech or write an article describing Tony Blair as evil, setting out the lies he told and recall the lives lost or ruined as a result of his lies? I doubt it. He’s got away with it.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

“Progressive politics” knows only one crime; that of being insufficiently ideologically orthodox.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

“He’s got away with it.”
As have Hillary Clinton and George Bush. Clinton’s behaviour in regard to Libya was just as reprehensible as her war-mongering over Iraq and yet the Democrats still saw fit to put her forward as a presidential candidate.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

Well said

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

“He’s got away with it”.

Not if there is a GOD!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

But there isn’t so he did.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Agreed, but HE thinks there is.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Agreed, but HE thinks there is.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
1 year ago

But there isn’t so he did.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

Absurd hyperbole. Of course he was not ‘evil’

ben arnulfssen
BA
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

“Progressive politics” knows only one crime; that of being insufficiently ideologically orthodox.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

“He’s got away with it.”
As have Hillary Clinton and George Bush. Clinton’s behaviour in regard to Libya was just as reprehensible as her war-mongering over Iraq and yet the Democrats still saw fit to put her forward as a presidential candidate.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

Well said

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

“He’s got away with it”.

Not if there is a GOD!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

Absurd hyperbole. Of course he was not ‘evil’

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Recently I saw a clip of Jim Callaghan on television.
It did not feel that way at the time, which perhaps shows how far we have fallen, but his persona seemed to inspire trust an confidence and he emanated common decency

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

South Vietnam was invaded by the North exactly as had happened in Korea. There had been an international agreement diving the country following the French withdrawal. Just think, we might not have had the successful democratic country of South Korea either!

I have no idea why handing over millions of people to Communist tyranny, executions and reeducation camps, plus hundreds of thousands bring forced to flee (recall the Boat People) is supposed to be principled.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The International Criminal Court MUST issue a warrant for ‘Crimes again humanity’ without delay.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Wilson also heeded his advisors, who told him that right or wrong, the war could not be won and should be avoided in the national interest

Aw Zk
AZ
Aw Zk
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

In his speech to the 1999 Labour Party Conference Tony Blair spoke about how we were on the cusp of a century of progressive politics which would create “a model 21st century nation, based not on privilege, class or background, but on the equal worth of all”. Other Labour politicians and people on the left have also referred to the “equal worth” of all as being the basis of their politics or their work and Tony Blair referred to the idea of the “equal worth” of all in his 2000 conference speech and in his 2001 conference speech, delivered in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, in which he said the following:

“In all of this, at home and abroad, the same beliefs throughout: that we are a community of people, whose self-interest and mutual interest at crucial points merge, and that it is through a sense of justice that community is born and nurtured.

And what does this concept of justice consist of?

Fairness, people all of equal worth, of course. But also reason and tolerance. Justice has no favourites; not amongst nations, peoples or faiths.

When we act to bring to account those that committed the atrocity of September 11, we do so, not out of bloodlust.

We do so because it is just.”

But the men, women and children of Iraq were not of equal worth to the men, women and children of the UK and the USA who were at no risk from WMD which UN weapons inspectors in Iraq were not given the time to prove were not there. The thousands of underage girls who were plied with drink and drugs, raped and forced into prostitution by gangs of Muslim men in towns such as Rotherham, Keighley and Huddersfield were not of equal worth to the Labour-voting Guardian-reading public sector workers who covered it up to protect the New Labour government which promised to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” but knew what was happening because it was repeatedly told. The patients who died in failing NHS hospitals such as Stafford Hospital and Furness General Hospital were not of equal worth to the NHS staff who failed them, the NHS managers who covered up their failures and the regulators who failed to intervene.

On Wednesday 22nd March 2023 Boris Johnson will appear before the parliamentary committee investigating Partygate. What Tony Blair did when he was Prime Minister is far worse than anything Boris Johnson or any other Prime Minister I can think of ever did but he has never been held to account for what he did. On the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq will any politician or anyone else appear on a political TV programme, give a speech or write an article describing Tony Blair as evil, setting out the lies he told and recall the lives lost or ruined as a result of his lies? I doubt it. He’s got away with it.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Recently I saw a clip of Jim Callaghan on television.
It did not feel that way at the time, which perhaps shows how far we have fallen, but his persona seemed to inspire trust an confidence and he emanated common decency

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

South Vietnam was invaded by the North exactly as had happened in Korea. There had been an international agreement diving the country following the French withdrawal. Just think, we might not have had the successful democratic country of South Korea either!

I have no idea why handing over millions of people to Communist tyranny, executions and reeducation camps, plus hundreds of thousands bring forced to flee (recall the Boat People) is supposed to be principled.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The International Criminal Court MUST issue a warrant for ‘Crimes again humanity’ without delay.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

I would like to thank Tony Blair for making Harold Wilson seem far more principled in preventing the UK from joining in with the Vietnam war.
Which leaves me pondering what can be done about bringing the consequences of the Iraq war back to bear on Tony Blair. He seems to have escaped the consequences without penalty.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Both Campbell and Blair having been going to enormous lengths to try and rescue their reputations. That’s understandable, though it clearly isn’t going to work.
However, although Blair, however slippery, can at least muster a semblance of reasonableness, every time Campbell opens his mouth or jabs at his keyboard he reveals yet again that he has absolutely no place in public life. It is shameful that he is accorded any attention at all.
It’s a mystery why Stewart has sullied himself by association with this poisonous individual.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Rory Stewart is too well meaning for his own good.
A great pity he didn’t stay in the Army and develop some backbone, rather like his late father.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Rory Stewart is too well meaning for his own good.
A great pity he didn’t stay in the Army and develop some backbone, rather like his late father.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Both Campbell and Blair having been going to enormous lengths to try and rescue their reputations. That’s understandable, though it clearly isn’t going to work.
However, although Blair, however slippery, can at least muster a semblance of reasonableness, every time Campbell opens his mouth or jabs at his keyboard he reveals yet again that he has absolutely no place in public life. It is shameful that he is accorded any attention at all.
It’s a mystery why Stewart has sullied himself by association with this poisonous individual.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Blair lied, and lied, and lied again. It was his whole USP, his whole modus operandi. He presented himself as a blank slate to an electorate sick of the ideological fighting of the previous decades (and those who do not remember those times, tend not to understand that this is how we arrived at the position of no meaningful separation between parties) and proceeded with an agenda of extreme constitutional vandalism.

So too with the ME. anyone with any experience of the region would foresee the likely consequences of the “Arab Spring”. Cameron, the self-styled “heir to Blair” lied again, supporting the jihadis who toppled Gaddafi, euphemistically referring to them as “freedom fighters” or “rebel fighters”.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Blair lied, and lied, and lied again. It was his whole USP, his whole modus operandi. He presented himself as a blank slate to an electorate sick of the ideological fighting of the previous decades (and those who do not remember those times, tend not to understand that this is how we arrived at the position of no meaningful separation between parties) and proceeded with an agenda of extreme constitutional vandalism.

So too with the ME. anyone with any experience of the region would foresee the likely consequences of the “Arab Spring”. Cameron, the self-styled “heir to Blair” lied again, supporting the jihadis who toppled Gaddafi, euphemistically referring to them as “freedom fighters” or “rebel fighters”.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

Let’s get real for a moment, and ask about the elephant in the room. Why did the coalition of the willing invade Iraq on a false pretence? Without answering that question none of the rest of the discussion makes sense.
The whole thing was about denying China access to cheap energy from the Middle East. This was only thinly veiled in the manifestos of the time as “energy security for a new American century”.
Now it makes sense to ask the questions about what was right and wrong. My two gripes about this war were (1) how incredibly badly it was planned and run and as a result (2) how many civilians were killed and displaced unnecessarily (more than a million by some estimates).
Even today it disturbs me to read the 179 servicemen killed remembered without seeing a mention of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who unnecessarily lost their lives as a direct result of this war. I remember I couldn’t believe at the time reading about how some of the leadership had no idea about the sectarian differences in the country, and how they didn’t understand toppling the secular regime would eventually give rise to sectarian tribalism where the Shia majority would align with Iran.
Perhaps if there’s a case for Wokeism, it’s within the intelligence community in the West. Anyone who knows Middle Eastern culture would’ve seen the obvious outcome of toppling the secular regime. So, why didn’t they? Presumably because they had no one senior enough to consult in the room who really knew much about this country and their culture.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Perhaps if there’s a case for Wokeism, it’s within the intelligence community in the West.

Wokeism is insisting on disregarding the real world in favour of enforcing some abstract progressive idology. That is the very last thing one would want to see in the intelligence services – though maybe that is not what you mean. I would prefer realism and honesty in the inteliigence services myself.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Wokeism may have gone on an insane overdrive today, but like most flawed ideas gone bad it started with good intentions and valid points of criticism: like elevating the voices of those who suffer, having diversity of representation at higher levels of power, trying to get everyone a base level of respect etc. As we’re getting past peak Woke, these ideas will stop being kosher for a while, but it doesn’t make them necessarily bad.

Paul Beardsell
Paul Beardsell
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Well put. Being “politically correct” used to simply mean being correct, politically. We should all strive for that. We might not like what PC’ness and Woke-ism have become but do we really want to be politically incorrect, do we not want to be aware (awake – awoken – woke)?

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Beardsell
Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

I thought,it, originally, meant being liberal in the classical sense of the word. Now it’s a label that gets slapped on anything conservatives don’t like.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

‘Woke’ does mean something, but as a whole ideology it cannot be summed up in a single definition. The shortest version I can think of is that instead of having a single, common culture, set of norms, view of reality, each group has absolute right to define things to suit its self-image.There is then a hierarchy so that the ‘most oppressed’ group has the right to impose its views on groups considered less oppressed, in areas where group self-images clash. Having single common culture would (and did) require giving some degree fo space to various group cultures, but it would unavoidably be more favourable to the majority (and more powerful groups) than to others. Woke, then rejects this in favour of the ‘dictatorship of the most oppressed’.

There is a good description here. My slightly reworded version would be that.
Humanity is divided into groups, and the group division is the overarching principle everywhere. Groups, not individuals, have rights. There is a hierarchy so that the more oppressed your group is considered to be, the more rights and authority you have.
People are defined by their group membership and lived experience. Your authority and rights to promotion comes from group membership, not individual accomplishments.
Prize winners, boardrooms, history, visibility, must reflect and reinforce the group hierarchy. Anything that detracts from that is a sign of some kind of wrongthink.
Only perfect compliance is acceptable and anything less is rejected.
There is no independent reality-check in the system, and the self-image of a favoured groups takes precedence over any ‘so-called’ fact. Language and thinking must be structured so as to actively reinforce the ideology. Saying something that could call the ideology or the self-identification of any group into doubt is an act of aggression, because it undermines not only the ideological certainty, but also the self-image of minority members.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

‘Woke’ does mean something, but as a whole ideology it cannot be summed up in a single definition. The shortest version I can think of is that instead of having a single, common culture, set of norms, view of reality, each group has absolute right to define things to suit its self-image.There is then a hierarchy so that the ‘most oppressed’ group has the right to impose its views on groups considered less oppressed, in areas where group self-images clash. Having single common culture would (and did) require giving some degree fo space to various group cultures, but it would unavoidably be more favourable to the majority (and more powerful groups) than to others. Woke, then rejects this in favour of the ‘dictatorship of the most oppressed’.

There is a good description here. My slightly reworded version would be that.
Humanity is divided into groups, and the group division is the overarching principle everywhere. Groups, not individuals, have rights. There is a hierarchy so that the more oppressed your group is considered to be, the more rights and authority you have.
People are defined by their group membership and lived experience. Your authority and rights to promotion comes from group membership, not individual accomplishments.
Prize winners, boardrooms, history, visibility, must reflect and reinforce the group hierarchy. Anything that detracts from that is a sign of some kind of wrongthink.
Only perfect compliance is acceptable and anything less is rejected.
There is no independent reality-check in the system, and the self-image of a favoured groups takes precedence over any ‘so-called’ fact. Language and thinking must be structured so as to actively reinforce the ideology. Saying something that could call the ideology or the self-identification of any group into doubt is an act of aggression, because it undermines not only the ideological certainty, but also the self-image of minority members.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Paul Beardsell
Paul Beardsell
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Well put. Being “politically correct” used to simply mean being correct, politically. We should all strive for that. We might not like what PC’ness and Woke-ism have become but do we really want to be politically incorrect, do we not want to be aware (awake – awoken – woke)?

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Beardsell
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

I thought,it, originally, meant being liberal in the classical sense of the word. Now it’s a label that gets slapped on anything conservatives don’t like.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Wokeism may have gone on an insane overdrive today, but like most flawed ideas gone bad it started with good intentions and valid points of criticism: like elevating the voices of those who suffer, having diversity of representation at higher levels of power, trying to get everyone a base level of respect etc. As we’re getting past peak Woke, these ideas will stop being kosher for a while, but it doesn’t make them necessarily bad.

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

“The whole thing was about denying China access to cheap energy from the Middle East.”
Emre, do you have any evidence to support this, or is it merely your opinion?

Last edited 1 year ago by David McKee
Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

I don’t have a presentation with references on it if that’s what you mean. But over the years all the things I’ve been reading led me to believe this, so yes you can say it’s my opinion.
It should be easy enough to find out about “A New American Century” project and their manifesto though – these were the people who agitated for that war, and they explain clearly why they wanted it which is (unsurprisingly) about energy. Given America had (still has) plenty of energy to be self-sufficient, and China is an energy hungry industry powerhouse, who as it happens buy most of their energy from the Middle East today, you only need to add two and two.

Emre S
ES
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

I don’t have a presentation with references on it if that’s what you mean. But over the years all the things I’ve been reading led me to believe this, so yes you can say it’s my opinion.
It should be easy enough to find out about “A New American Century” project and their manifesto though – these were the people who agitated for that war, and they explain clearly why they wanted it which is (unsurprisingly) about energy. Given America had (still has) plenty of energy to be self-sufficient, and China is an energy hungry industry powerhouse, who as it happens buy most of their energy from the Middle East today, you only need to add two and two.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Whilst not trying to defend the action, it should be remembered that things in Iraq were going pretty bad. Saddam’s power was slipping and multi-way civil war was breaking out.
In that context it could be wrong to ‘blame’ the invasion of Iraq for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead as a consequence of this war. It would likely have been worse.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

The invasion created the conditions in which it was possible but the responsibility for almost all the deaths lies with those who planted the car bombs in the market places.

Paul Beardsell
Paul Beardsell
1 year ago

Yes, the hundreds of thousands perhaps a million excess deaths in Iraq were not all directly caused by the saintly coalition. But lets not forget that quite a number of the deaths were so caused. Let’s not ignore, for example, the thousands of civilians killed by high altitude carpet cluster-bombing by the USA. This is but one example and is a matter of record. 3500 innocent Twin Tower deaths caused by a crazed gang is somehow eye-for-eye allows for the revenge of perhaps 20000 carpet bombing innocent killings by a democratic state. This means the that the exchange rate of equal value, life for life, is 7:1. And this was just one phase of Bush’s crusade.

Paul Beardsell
Paul Beardsell
1 year ago

Yes, the hundreds of thousands perhaps a million excess deaths in Iraq were not all directly caused by the saintly coalition. But lets not forget that quite a number of the deaths were so caused. Let’s not ignore, for example, the thousands of civilians killed by high altitude carpet cluster-bombing by the USA. This is but one example and is a matter of record. 3500 innocent Twin Tower deaths caused by a crazed gang is somehow eye-for-eye allows for the revenge of perhaps 20000 carpet bombing innocent killings by a democratic state. This means the that the exchange rate of equal value, life for life, is 7:1. And this was just one phase of Bush’s crusade.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

The invasion created the conditions in which it was possible but the responsibility for almost all the deaths lies with those who planted the car bombs in the market places.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

It wasn’t about Iraq’s relatively small oil reserves. How would the US taking control of Iraq stop China from getting oil?
It was about keeping oil from Iran, Saudi, etc flowing smoothly through the Gulf for the benefit of the global economy.
And let’s not forget that the fall of Saddam was very popular with most Iraqis. Of course, it didn’t take long to go pear-shaped. But only a tiny fraction of the Iraqi dead were killed by the Western forces. The great majority were killed by Muslims for the crime of being the wrong kind of Muslim. Yes, this tribalism could have perhaps been foreseen but the blame lies with those who planted the car bombs in the market places. The “you made me do it” excuse doesn’t wash.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Perhaps if there’s a case for Wokeism, it’s within the intelligence community in the West.

Wokeism is insisting on disregarding the real world in favour of enforcing some abstract progressive idology. That is the very last thing one would want to see in the intelligence services – though maybe that is not what you mean. I would prefer realism and honesty in the inteliigence services myself.

David McKee
DM
David McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

“The whole thing was about denying China access to cheap energy from the Middle East.”
Emre, do you have any evidence to support this, or is it merely your opinion?

Last edited 1 year ago by David McKee
Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Whilst not trying to defend the action, it should be remembered that things in Iraq were going pretty bad. Saddam’s power was slipping and multi-way civil war was breaking out.
In that context it could be wrong to ‘blame’ the invasion of Iraq for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead as a consequence of this war. It would likely have been worse.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

It wasn’t about Iraq’s relatively small oil reserves. How would the US taking control of Iraq stop China from getting oil?
It was about keeping oil from Iran, Saudi, etc flowing smoothly through the Gulf for the benefit of the global economy.
And let’s not forget that the fall of Saddam was very popular with most Iraqis. Of course, it didn’t take long to go pear-shaped. But only a tiny fraction of the Iraqi dead were killed by the Western forces. The great majority were killed by Muslims for the crime of being the wrong kind of Muslim. Yes, this tribalism could have perhaps been foreseen but the blame lies with those who planted the car bombs in the market places. The “you made me do it” excuse doesn’t wash.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

Let’s get real for a moment, and ask about the elephant in the room. Why did the coalition of the willing invade Iraq on a false pretence? Without answering that question none of the rest of the discussion makes sense.
The whole thing was about denying China access to cheap energy from the Middle East. This was only thinly veiled in the manifestos of the time as “energy security for a new American century”.
Now it makes sense to ask the questions about what was right and wrong. My two gripes about this war were (1) how incredibly badly it was planned and run and as a result (2) how many civilians were killed and displaced unnecessarily (more than a million by some estimates).
Even today it disturbs me to read the 179 servicemen killed remembered without seeing a mention of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who unnecessarily lost their lives as a direct result of this war. I remember I couldn’t believe at the time reading about how some of the leadership had no idea about the sectarian differences in the country, and how they didn’t understand toppling the secular regime would eventually give rise to sectarian tribalism where the Shia majority would align with Iran.
Perhaps if there’s a case for Wokeism, it’s within the intelligence community in the West. Anyone who knows Middle Eastern culture would’ve seen the obvious outcome of toppling the secular regime. So, why didn’t they? Presumably because they had no one senior enough to consult in the room who really knew much about this country and their culture.

William Jackson
WJ
William Jackson
1 year ago

Phoney Blair did irreversible damage not only to Iraq but also to UK society. Why anyone listens to a word he says was as beyond me when he was PM as it is today.

William Jackson
William Jackson
1 year ago

Phoney Blair did irreversible damage not only to Iraq but also to UK society. Why anyone listens to a word he says was as beyond me when he was PM as it is today.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Most who participate in UnHerd are very literate and know their history. They get angry when the British are criticised as colonists. But if you don’t know a lot about history, if history starts in the 1960s, if history starts in 2003, if history starts with Brexit, then I suspect that Britain looks like a dangerous warmonger.
From the outside, Brexit would seem to indicate that Britain was arrogant and thought it was better than everyone else. From the outside, we speak English and the Americans speak English so we are the same. From the outside it was not Bush and Blair who were the criminals it was Britain and the USA. So recent history makes us look very, very bad. Arguably, the problems in Northern Ireland were at least partly caused by Britain – if you take the outside view.
I suspect that a lot of woke is a sense of guilt for this history. Woke has us by the throat in Britain and the USA. It is like the reaction to WW2 in Germany. Germans would do anything not to appear aggressive, to look nice to the outside world. The trans movement, the extreme Bindelist forms of feminism, footballers kneeling and looking into space, responsibility for immigrants, Gary Lineker’s condescending grin, universities teaching garbage – are all coming from a feeling of guilt. Worst of all is the self-flagellation movement spearheaded by Greta because that is a shameless attempt to make us want to be poorer than everybody else.
The focus here is on Blair. For me, the biggest war criminal in The Woke War and The Iraq War and The Irish Wars is the BBC, a supposedly impartial channel. Blair and Bush started it but the BBC made sure that it happened.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“Brexit would seem to indicate that Britain was arrogant”
Which kind of overlooks the simple fact that Brexit was a popular revolt opposed by the entire governing class. You could much more plausibly make the case that it happened because ordinary Brits were sick to death of the incompetence and greed of their rulers and wanted to protest.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

All of my comments were ‘from the outside’. You are giving your view from the inside. Slower reading required.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

All of my comments were ‘from the outside’. You are giving your view from the inside. Slower reading required.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“From the outside, Brexit would seem to indicate that Britain was arrogant and thought it was better than everyone else. ”

It certainly did from a media perspective. The UK press took UKIP as being the typical Brexit view, despite the fact they didn’t have a single MP in parliament. The foreign press parroted their UK colleagues.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“Brexit would seem to indicate that Britain was arrogant”
Which kind of overlooks the simple fact that Brexit was a popular revolt opposed by the entire governing class. You could much more plausibly make the case that it happened because ordinary Brits were sick to death of the incompetence and greed of their rulers and wanted to protest.

Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“From the outside, Brexit would seem to indicate that Britain was arrogant and thought it was better than everyone else. ”

It certainly did from a media perspective. The UK press took UKIP as being the typical Brexit view, despite the fact they didn’t have a single MP in parliament. The foreign press parroted their UK colleagues.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Most who participate in UnHerd are very literate and know their history. They get angry when the British are criticised as colonists. But if you don’t know a lot about history, if history starts in the 1960s, if history starts in 2003, if history starts with Brexit, then I suspect that Britain looks like a dangerous warmonger.
From the outside, Brexit would seem to indicate that Britain was arrogant and thought it was better than everyone else. From the outside, we speak English and the Americans speak English so we are the same. From the outside it was not Bush and Blair who were the criminals it was Britain and the USA. So recent history makes us look very, very bad. Arguably, the problems in Northern Ireland were at least partly caused by Britain – if you take the outside view.
I suspect that a lot of woke is a sense of guilt for this history. Woke has us by the throat in Britain and the USA. It is like the reaction to WW2 in Germany. Germans would do anything not to appear aggressive, to look nice to the outside world. The trans movement, the extreme Bindelist forms of feminism, footballers kneeling and looking into space, responsibility for immigrants, Gary Lineker’s condescending grin, universities teaching garbage – are all coming from a feeling of guilt. Worst of all is the self-flagellation movement spearheaded by Greta because that is a shameless attempt to make us want to be poorer than everybody else.
The focus here is on Blair. For me, the biggest war criminal in The Woke War and The Iraq War and The Irish Wars is the BBC, a supposedly impartial channel. Blair and Bush started it but the BBC made sure that it happened.

David Shepherd
David Shepherd
1 year ago

Even if WMD had existed, they would have been pointed at Iran not Cyprus! It was a stupid war either way and none of our business.

David Shepherd
David Shepherd
1 year ago

Even if WMD had existed, they would have been pointed at Iran not Cyprus! It was a stupid war either way and none of our business.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

One of his two colossal mistakes.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

One of his two colossal mistakes.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

The 45 mins had a basis in fact. Iraqi military doctrine stated that their chemical weapons should be able to be brought into action within 45 mins of the order being given. However, it was assessed as very unlikely, even if the WMD had not already been destroyed, that the Iraqi armed forces were actually capable of achieving that. So the threat was illusory.
Campbell’s dodgy dossier was an utter disgrace and the role of Scarlett (promoted the following year to Head of MI6 in what was surely a coincidence) in its publication even worse.
Of course, the MSM loves Campbell as he can be relied upon to comment vitriolically on the “wicked Torees” and Brexit but their failure ever to question him about Dr David Kelly is a stain on them too.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

The 45 mins had a basis in fact. Iraqi military doctrine stated that their chemical weapons should be able to be brought into action within 45 mins of the order being given. However, it was assessed as very unlikely, even if the WMD had not already been destroyed, that the Iraqi armed forces were actually capable of achieving that. So the threat was illusory.
Campbell’s dodgy dossier was an utter disgrace and the role of Scarlett (promoted the following year to Head of MI6 in what was surely a coincidence) in its publication even worse.
Of course, the MSM loves Campbell as he can be relied upon to comment vitriolically on the “wicked Torees” and Brexit but their failure ever to question him about Dr David Kelly is a stain on them too.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“BLAIR LIED AND THE PROGRESSIVE LEFT CYNICALLY WENT ALONG SHOCK”.

But you had me until you said ‘…I joined … Reverend Jesse Jackson, Charles Kennedy, and Jeremy Corbyn… [and] nonagenarian Michael Foot from his home in Hampstead”

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think the author deserves some respect for his consistent opposition to Blair’s Iraq war from the very start. Together with all the others who spoke out – and wasn’t Dennis Skinner right ?
Never forget that the Conservative party supported Blair’s Iraw invasion. With a few honourable exceptions.
Listen to Michael Foot’s speech after the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 before you write off everything he said. And then ask yourself who could make such a speech today.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

No, you are right of course: Michael Foot was unquestionably a great orator in the old left tradition (while also mad as a march hare in all other respects).

And you are absolutely correct, it is inconceivable the Conservatives would have done anything other than support the US in whatever military adventurism they decided on – and there would have been far less internal opposition compared with the left.

Just to clarify, in the interests of honesty, my own stance at the time. After the events of 9/11, I thought the US had pretty much no choice about going into Afghanistan, and I don’t believe any US President could have done any different. Iraq was a different matter entirely, it looked to me like very dubious unfinished Bush family business, and nothing much to do with ensuring security – as much a vanity project as any embarked on by any blood soaked Arab dictator. The problem was, voicing that stance loudly entailed aligning with a bowl-full of lightly salted assorted nuts of the type the author has listed above, and I was loathe to do that. In any case it was undeniable that Hussain was both, a blood soaked butcher, and a very dangerous chancer, so on the general principle that anything the Footite left opposed so vehemently would likely turn out ok, I went along with it. Just a shame it destabilised the entire Arab world and made things much much worse than they were before. You might say my attitude was just a tad cynical and unprincipled, but hey, I’m a Tory, whatcha gonna do.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Thank you for your honesty. However anyone who knew/knows their history of Afghanistan can have no doubt whatsoever that any attempt at invasion/occupation has absolutely no chance of success but willingly bring more pain, suffering and death. Read Return of a King: the battle for Afghanistan by William Dalrymple and weep for the ignorance and hubris of politicians. The story of 1839 etc has been repeated and will continue to be so.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Thank you for your honesty. However anyone who knew/knows their history of Afghanistan can have no doubt whatsoever that any attempt at invasion/occupation has absolutely no chance of success but willingly bring more pain, suffering and death. Read Return of a King: the battle for Afghanistan by William Dalrymple and weep for the ignorance and hubris of politicians. The story of 1839 etc has been repeated and will continue to be so.

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I watched the debate n Parliament with the debate and it was clear that many were convinced by that. Another consequence was reluctance to act over Syria with the long term consequences of that. I have not trusted Mandelson since he got Matthew Paris for outing him. The underlying problem is a belief that the ends justify the means but who determines the ends. Please watch out for him.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“the Conservative party supported Blair”
And still do.

Prashant Kotak
PK
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

No, you are right of course: Michael Foot was unquestionably a great orator in the old left tradition (while also mad as a march hare in all other respects).

And you are absolutely correct, it is inconceivable the Conservatives would have done anything other than support the US in whatever military adventurism they decided on – and there would have been far less internal opposition compared with the left.

Just to clarify, in the interests of honesty, my own stance at the time. After the events of 9/11, I thought the US had pretty much no choice about going into Afghanistan, and I don’t believe any US President could have done any different. Iraq was a different matter entirely, it looked to me like very dubious unfinished Bush family business, and nothing much to do with ensuring security – as much a vanity project as any embarked on by any blood soaked Arab dictator. The problem was, voicing that stance loudly entailed aligning with a bowl-full of lightly salted assorted nuts of the type the author has listed above, and I was loathe to do that. In any case it was undeniable that Hussain was both, a blood soaked butcher, and a very dangerous chancer, so on the general principle that anything the Footite left opposed so vehemently would likely turn out ok, I went along with it. Just a shame it destabilised the entire Arab world and made things much much worse than they were before. You might say my attitude was just a tad cynical and unprincipled, but hey, I’m a Tory, whatcha gonna do.

Sue Whorton
SW
Sue Whorton
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I watched the debate n Parliament with the debate and it was clear that many were convinced by that. Another consequence was reluctance to act over Syria with the long term consequences of that. I have not trusted Mandelson since he got Matthew Paris for outing him. The underlying problem is a belief that the ends justify the means but who determines the ends. Please watch out for him.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“the Conservative party supported Blair”
And still do.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think the author deserves some respect for his consistent opposition to Blair’s Iraq war from the very start. Together with all the others who spoke out – and wasn’t Dennis Skinner right ?
Never forget that the Conservative party supported Blair’s Iraw invasion. With a few honourable exceptions.
Listen to Michael Foot’s speech after the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 before you write off everything he said. And then ask yourself who could make such a speech today.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“BLAIR LIED AND THE PROGRESSIVE LEFT CYNICALLY WENT ALONG SHOCK”.

But you had me until you said ‘…I joined … Reverend Jesse Jackson, Charles Kennedy, and Jeremy Corbyn… [and] nonagenarian Michael Foot from his home in Hampstead”

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“…And then I woke up… …former US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger… …he started calling me Buster…”

Wake up, wake up! You surely must realise, you *still* haven’t woken up! Only in a dream could you possibly have a US politician called ‘Eagleburger’, who then proceeds to call someone ‘Buster’. It’s a dead giveaway, like a scene from ‘Inception’. Or the ‘Muppet Show’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

There really was a Secretary of State called Lawrence Eagleburger, but he served under Bush Senior in the early 90s. So he was right to refer to him as ‘former’, but in context that could be misleading, suggesting that he was in office in the WMD era.
But in the early noughties, while not in office, he did speak out <i>against</i> a US intervention in Iraq. Does seem a bit odd!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

But Eagleburger? Come on, there cannot possibly be two words jammed together more redolent of WASP Americanness, can there? Unless something like a numerical suffix was added: US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger the III.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Lawrence Eagleburger
Google is your friend. ;¬D
Edit: this, from his bio, struck me as particularly surreal, and supports your theory that: “Only in a dream could you possibly have a US politician called ‘Eagleburger’, who then proceeds to call someone ‘Buster’!

He had three sons, all of whom are named Lawrence Eagleburger, though they have different middle names.

Last edited 1 year ago by Pat Rowles
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Pat Rowles

This is the point at which I do a double take, and then go lie down in the corner quietly gibbering. A vision is conjured in my head, of the Eagleburgers at the dining table:

….
“Lawrence?”
“Yes, Lawrence?”
“No, not you Lawrence, Lawrence, can you pass me the pepper mill please?”
“Why are you asking me Lawrence, Lawrence is closer”
…..

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Pat Rowles

This is the point at which I do a double take, and then go lie down in the corner quietly gibbering. A vision is conjured in my head, of the Eagleburgers at the dining table:

….
“Lawrence?”
“Yes, Lawrence?”
“No, not you Lawrence, Lawrence, can you pass me the pepper mill please?”
“Why are you asking me Lawrence, Lawrence is closer”
…..

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Lawrence Eagleburger
Google is your friend. ;¬D
Edit: this, from his bio, struck me as particularly surreal, and supports your theory that: “Only in a dream could you possibly have a US politician called ‘Eagleburger’, who then proceeds to call someone ‘Buster’!

He had three sons, all of whom are named Lawrence Eagleburger, though they have different middle names.

Last edited 1 year ago by Pat Rowles
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bellisarius

But Eagleburger? Come on, there cannot possibly be two words jammed together more redolent of WASP Americanness, can there? Unless something like a numerical suffix was added: US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger the III.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Mr Bellisarius
Mr Bellisarius
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

There really was a Secretary of State called Lawrence Eagleburger, but he served under Bush Senior in the early 90s. So he was right to refer to him as ‘former’, but in context that could be misleading, suggesting that he was in office in the WMD era.
But in the early noughties, while not in office, he did speak out <i>against</i> a US intervention in Iraq. Does seem a bit odd!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“…And then I woke up… …former US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger… …he started calling me Buster…”

Wake up, wake up! You surely must realise, you *still* haven’t woken up! Only in a dream could you possibly have a US politician called ‘Eagleburger’, who then proceeds to call someone ‘Buster’. It’s a dead giveaway, like a scene from ‘Inception’. Or the ‘Muppet Show’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Reginald Duquesnoy
RD
Reginald Duquesnoy
1 year ago

Sanctimonious twittery. Russia started the war in Ukraine? Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth…

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Indeed – Russia started TWO wars in Ukraine since 2014, which I believe is an undeniable fact.

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Why the question mark?

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Indeed – Russia started TWO wars in Ukraine since 2014, which I believe is an undeniable fact.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Why the question mark?

Reginald Duquesnoy
Reginald Duquesnoy
1 year ago

Sanctimonious twittery. Russia started the war in Ukraine? Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth…

John Murray
JM
John Murray
1 year ago

Politicians of all stripes, not just Tony Blair, believe in a vision of Atlanticism rooted in an idealised view of the Second World War where Britain operates as an equal partner to the US and imposes ‘democracy’ on a willing and expectant world. It led us to the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also the intervention in Libya, also a disaster. It was also a factor in Brexit, where we could leave the EU with no downsides, become an equal trade and political partner with the USA and ride off triumphantly side by side to reorder the world. The problem is, of course, is it ignores all of the realities of how the rest of the world actually is. Not least that the US itself is a bitterly divided country, unable to agree how to govern itself, let alone anyone else.

The worry is that we still hanker after those Blue Remembered Hills, and overestimate our importance in the world, and think that regime change in, say, Russia or China, are achievable or remotely in our power. If you do think that, bear in mind that the likely Republican candidates in 2024, Trump or De Santis, are already nailing their colours to selling out Ukraine to win the Fox Primary vote.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Politicians of all stripes, not just Tony Blair, believe in a vision of Atlanticism rooted in an idealised view of the Second World War where Britain operates as an equal partner to the US and imposes ‘democracy’ on a willing and expectant world. It led us to the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also the intervention in Libya, also a disaster. It was also a factor in Brexit, where we could leave the EU with no downsides, become an equal trade and political partner with the USA and ride off triumphantly side by side to reorder the world. The problem is, of course, is it ignores all of the realities of how the rest of the world actually is. Not least that the US itself is a bitterly divided country, unable to agree how to govern itself, let alone anyone else.

The worry is that we still hanker after those Blue Remembered Hills, and overestimate our importance in the world, and think that regime change in, say, Russia or China, are achievable or remotely in our power. If you do think that, bear in mind that the likely Republican candidates in 2024, Trump or De Santis, are already nailing their colours to selling out Ukraine to win the Fox Primary vote.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

Not a lot of dissent from the mainstream here.
But what would have happened in the Middle East had Saddam not been deposed?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

He would have continued to oppress his own people. Then, eventually, he (or his charming sons) would have launched another assault on Iran – setting the entire middle east ablaze.

Jonathan Nash
JN
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Try “Blood Year” by David Kilcullen for an account of how the removal of Saddam opened the field to Isis.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

He would have continued to oppress his own people. Then, eventually, he (or his charming sons) would have launched another assault on Iran – setting the entire middle east ablaze.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Try “Blood Year” by David Kilcullen for an account of how the removal of Saddam opened the field to Isis.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

Not a lot of dissent from the mainstream here.
But what would have happened in the Middle East had Saddam not been deposed?

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
1 year ago

From the start, yes. But do we mean in 2003? Or in 1997? Or in 1983? Or perhaps even earlier? Never was there a man less suited to hold power, and never was there a population so gullible.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

I wonder how many people were saying this at the time. The Tories were more gung ho than Labour on the issue. Whether the issue was over-egged, as it had to be by Blair to get the vote through the House of Commons, it was generally held by most commentators at the time that Saddam Hussein DID have weapons of mass destruction, including by the UN Rapporteur Hans Blix, and of course Saddam himself boasted as much.

I have no great love of Blair, but he was always hated both by the Left (he made the mistake of being voted in to power three times!) and by the Right. A lot of this is fashionable group think.

Certainly Iraq turned out to be a geostrategic disaster for the West, emboldening and strengthening Iran.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

As we know the US was invading with or without Allies. They were going for a number of reasons of which WMD was one. Blair faced a strategic dilemma – in a post 9/11 world was the UK to be by the side of US or a critic on the side-line? Not an easy choice for any PM.
As it was he got Bush and the Neo-Cons to at least pursue a second UN resolution. It remains debatable whether it was needed as existing resolutions arguably provided legal cover.
Whether Blair knew WMD no longer existed I v much doubt. For sure some cognitive bias was at play but John Scarlett and the Intelligence Agencies to this day defends the intelligence that was provided – WMD was there. Of course it wasn’t but the intelligence was deemed reputable.
What we’ll never know is what would have happened had the Invasion been followed by quick withdrawal – much as, ironically. Rumsfeld wanted. Instead Bremer’s de-Baathification strategy and the quick switch to liberators being viewed as occupiers quickly turned things into one of the worst Post WW2 strategic mistakes.
Blair inevitably takes blame for this. But did he outright lie remains highly debatable. Whether any other PM would have done a Wilson/Vietnam and stood back also remains a counterfactual debate.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

“ WMD was there”?

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago

That’s the question/justification that has always puzzled me. At the time and in my memory, it was still unknown precisely where these presumed WMDs were, so what the hell was anywhere in Iraq being bombed setting off a nuclear reaction)
And new to me now is that it wasn’t UK itself but British forces in Cyprus that would supposedly have been the target, were either Greece or Turkey especially and other adjacent countries offered any say in w heather Brits stayed there or not?
Nasty business politics, domestic & foreign!

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago

I haven’t got formal proof but my Son (RCT) drove an airfield-type fuel bowser in support of 7th Armour told me. While lagered-up close by an American Unit they were told, rather belatedly, that a “nerve-gas” attack had been made against them (the Yanks). My Son came out with Blood-spots about every 6 months or so for many years afterwards. We knew that Saddam had used nerve agents of some sort against his own people. I believe that most, if not all, was taken to Syria before Saddam went into hiding. I gave up researching this subject to engage in a very costly personal action to stabilise my Son’s mental state. I think it was a success ‘cos I’ve got two Grandsons.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

One certainly hopes so. But having babies isn’t a sign of anything.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

One certainly hopes so. But having babies isn’t a sign of anything.

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago

That’s the question/justification that has always puzzled me. At the time and in my memory, it was still unknown precisely where these presumed WMDs were, so what the hell was anywhere in Iraq being bombed setting off a nuclear reaction)
And new to me now is that it wasn’t UK itself but British forces in Cyprus that would supposedly have been the target, were either Greece or Turkey especially and other adjacent countries offered any say in w heather Brits stayed there or not?
Nasty business politics, domestic & foreign!

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago

I haven’t got formal proof but my Son (RCT) drove an airfield-type fuel bowser in support of 7th Armour told me. While lagered-up close by an American Unit they were told, rather belatedly, that a “nerve-gas” attack had been made against them (the Yanks). My Son came out with Blood-spots about every 6 months or so for many years afterwards. We knew that Saddam had used nerve agents of some sort against his own people. I believe that most, if not all, was taken to Syria before Saddam went into hiding. I gave up researching this subject to engage in a very costly personal action to stabilise my Son’s mental state. I think it was a success ‘cos I’ve got two Grandsons.

Jonathan West
JW
Jonathan West
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

What a load of tosh….

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

John Scarlett and the Intelligence to this day defends the intelligence that was provided’

‘Well he would, wouldn’t he’?

All this stuff about ‘whether Blair really knew’ is buying into Blair’s smokescreen. If Blair did not know the answer it is because he took great pains never to ask the question. He wanted the intelligence service to say the WMD was there and Scarlett and the intelligence services, to the permanent extinction of their credibility, obliged. There is no evidence whatsoever that Blair even tried to find out what weapons Saddam actually had. Blair was afraid of getting the wrong answer, and he did not care anyway.

It was obvious even to the casual newspaper reader at the time that whatever weapons Saddam had – and it did look like he probably had *something* to hide – they were militarily useless and no realistic threat – nothing that would justify a war. In the end it turned out that he did not have even the crates of rusting mustard gas shells that one might have expected to find. Surely it is the job of the intelligence services with their better sources to do better than newspaper readers?

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think it’s clear he wanted to believe, and did not ask sufficient questions and for that he deserves considerable criticism. That’s not quite the same as seeing a report from Intelligence agencies saying it’s definitely not there and then lying about it. That didn’t happen.
Nonetheless the broader question perhaps – would any UK PM have stood aside from the US in the immediate post 9/11 world? We’ll never know but this I suggest is what was driving Blair all along

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The only was to have found out would have been to send the Blair creature to the Joint Services Interrogation Centre, (JSIC) Templar Barracks, Ashford, Kent.
I doubt he would have lasted more than 13 minutes.

Sadly that ‘facility’ is now closed.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Sorry, but I disagree with you. The reason the intelligence services told him the weapons were probably there is that Blair had let them know that this is what he wanted to hear. And Blair is quite intelligent enough to understand what he was doing. You cannot try to get him off by claiming he was an innocent victim of his own emotions.

Blair’s stock-in-trade was always that he seemed convincingly sincere. You felt that he believed in what he said. And being a brilliant politial operator – in fact a superbly talented once-in-a-generation con-man – he surely understood that. So, in order to better convince the electorate, he first convinced himself. That made him more effective. And if being properly convincing required him to see only reports that confirmed the presence of those weapons, he just made sure that he never came across any evidence that could make him think otherwise. This, of course, had the additional benefit that no one could accuse him of knowingly lying – because he had carefully made sure that he did not know anything that contrasted with what he wanted to say. If you are accused of rape, a reasonable belief in consent is enough to exonerate you – but it does require you to make reasonable efforts to find out whether you are not mistaken. Deliberately avoiding information that could make you change your mind is not good enough to get you off – for a rapist or for Tony Blair.

It may be that he only went along as an unavoidable price to pay for remaining an American ally. Other (and smaller) countries have done so without getting nearly as much blame – but then smaller countries do not have the pretension of being independent actors, or the power of greatly facilitating or hindering the operation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Sue Whorton
SW
Sue Whorton
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

He was not working in isolation. Blair Mandelson Campbell. It looked at the time that they were more hung ho than Bush and that they were the ones exerting pressure.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think you are spot on

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

He was not working in isolation. Blair Mandelson Campbell. It looked at the time that they were more hung ho than Bush and that they were the ones exerting pressure.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think you are spot on

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It really doesn’t matter if Blair or Campbell lied about WMD. I know that at the time a lot of people got really hung up on ‘lies’ as being the big political grievance – but genuinely it made no difference. Suppose Blair had stood up and said, ‘OK – yes. This is all about spreading western liberalism down the barrel of a gun and there’s some nice oil too. There may be WMD, hard to say really.’ If he had said that it would not have made any of what followed better.
I suspect that some people (myself included) might actually have found honesty like that at the time easier to process than the idea of a war of liberal intervention being fought by the UK. Indeed looking back the dissonance was there: liberal anti-war types had to deflect to ‘lies’ because they could not bring themselves to say that liberal ideology, their liberalism, was the driver for that war.
The presence of WMD might perhaps have made it easier to sell, but it’s still selling something wholly and politically wrong.
That war in Iraq was was wrong top to bottom, it was wrong politically – that is as a matter of the allocation of power and the intersection of interests. The fact or not of lies and legal nicety doesn’t matter. The UN resolution doesn’t matter. That war would have been wrong even if there had been WMD. That is the point.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

Well, if there had been some major and dangerous WMD capability, that would have been an acceptable motive – reducing the spread and threat of WMD. Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons or long-range Sarin rockets might be worth a war to avoid. Even if that had not been the main reason for actually going to war, it would have been an acceptable justification, at least. Without the WMD all you have is agoing to war because you did not like the government and wanted to grab Iraq’s oil. And lots of anti-war liberal types would say that this is not an acceptable reason.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Just to be clear, Saddam had been in possession of WMD. His big mistake, which led directly to his death, was to destroy them covertly rather than publicly with UN supervision. This was so that he could continue to threaten their use to further his aim of regional domination, while retaining the ability to come clean to the UN weapons inspectors of things got too hot.
Unfortunately for him, he overplayed his hand, perhaps not believing Bush would follow through.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Just to be clear, Saddam had been in possession of WMD. His big mistake, which led directly to his death, was to destroy them covertly rather than publicly with UN supervision. This was so that he could continue to threaten their use to further his aim of regional domination, while retaining the ability to come clean to the UN weapons inspectors of things got too hot.
Unfortunately for him, he overplayed his hand, perhaps not believing Bush would follow through.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

Well, if there had been some major and dangerous WMD capability, that would have been an acceptable motive – reducing the spread and threat of WMD. Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons or long-range Sarin rockets might be worth a war to avoid. Even if that had not been the main reason for actually going to war, it would have been an acceptable justification, at least. Without the WMD all you have is agoing to war because you did not like the government and wanted to grab Iraq’s oil. And lots of anti-war liberal types would say that this is not an acceptable reason.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The only was to have found out would have been to send the Blair creature to the Joint Services Interrogation Centre, (JSIC) Templar Barracks, Ashford, Kent.
I doubt he would have lasted more than 13 minutes.

Sadly that ‘facility’ is now closed.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Sorry, but I disagree with you. The reason the intelligence services told him the weapons were probably there is that Blair had let them know that this is what he wanted to hear. And Blair is quite intelligent enough to understand what he was doing. You cannot try to get him off by claiming he was an innocent victim of his own emotions.

Blair’s stock-in-trade was always that he seemed convincingly sincere. You felt that he believed in what he said. And being a brilliant politial operator – in fact a superbly talented once-in-a-generation con-man – he surely understood that. So, in order to better convince the electorate, he first convinced himself. That made him more effective. And if being properly convincing required him to see only reports that confirmed the presence of those weapons, he just made sure that he never came across any evidence that could make him think otherwise. This, of course, had the additional benefit that no one could accuse him of knowingly lying – because he had carefully made sure that he did not know anything that contrasted with what he wanted to say. If you are accused of rape, a reasonable belief in consent is enough to exonerate you – but it does require you to make reasonable efforts to find out whether you are not mistaken. Deliberately avoiding information that could make you change your mind is not good enough to get you off – for a rapist or for Tony Blair.

It may be that he only went along as an unavoidable price to pay for remaining an American ally. Other (and smaller) countries have done so without getting nearly as much blame – but then smaller countries do not have the pretension of being independent actors, or the power of greatly facilitating or hindering the operation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It really doesn’t matter if Blair or Campbell lied about WMD. I know that at the time a lot of people got really hung up on ‘lies’ as being the big political grievance – but genuinely it made no difference. Suppose Blair had stood up and said, ‘OK – yes. This is all about spreading western liberalism down the barrel of a gun and there’s some nice oil too. There may be WMD, hard to say really.’ If he had said that it would not have made any of what followed better.
I suspect that some people (myself included) might actually have found honesty like that at the time easier to process than the idea of a war of liberal intervention being fought by the UK. Indeed looking back the dissonance was there: liberal anti-war types had to deflect to ‘lies’ because they could not bring themselves to say that liberal ideology, their liberalism, was the driver for that war.
The presence of WMD might perhaps have made it easier to sell, but it’s still selling something wholly and politically wrong.
That war in Iraq was was wrong top to bottom, it was wrong politically – that is as a matter of the allocation of power and the intersection of interests. The fact or not of lies and legal nicety doesn’t matter. The UN resolution doesn’t matter. That war would have been wrong even if there had been WMD. That is the point.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Let’s face it, and despite the sterling efforts of that late parvenu Lothario, Ian Fleming to persuade us otherwise, the British Secret Service has been a national embarrassment since at least 1945.

Riddled with traitors, sodomites and psychopaths from Day One, its record has been simply appalling, so who on earth can one believe one word it says?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

That neither a PM and/or intelligence services by commission and/or omission cannot be relied upon “to the permanent extinction of their credibility” is standard ‘Realpolitik’.
Most unfortunate in a presupposed democracy is that the same has become equally true of UK’s MSM as evidenced throughout its coverage of Brexit with nauseating and dispiriting effect on political discourse in general.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think it’s clear he wanted to believe, and did not ask sufficient questions and for that he deserves considerable criticism. That’s not quite the same as seeing a report from Intelligence agencies saying it’s definitely not there and then lying about it. That didn’t happen.
Nonetheless the broader question perhaps – would any UK PM have stood aside from the US in the immediate post 9/11 world? We’ll never know but this I suggest is what was driving Blair all along

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Let’s face it, and despite the sterling efforts of that late parvenu Lothario, Ian Fleming to persuade us otherwise, the British Secret Service has been a national embarrassment since at least 1945.

Riddled with traitors, sodomites and psychopaths from Day One, its record has been simply appalling, so who on earth can one believe one word it says?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

That neither a PM and/or intelligence services by commission and/or omission cannot be relied upon “to the permanent extinction of their credibility” is standard ‘Realpolitik’.
Most unfortunate in a presupposed democracy is that the same has become equally true of UK’s MSM as evidenced throughout its coverage of Brexit with nauseating and dispiriting effect on political discourse in general.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Nonsense. It was quite obvious to most people in the UK that there was no justification for invading Iraq then and there was massive opposition. I’ve never been so angry about a political decision in the UK. Harold Wilson was able to display some backbone and – quite rightly – avoid getting involved in Vietnam. But I guess he actually believed in something and had some principles. Whereas New Labour was in many ways a PR operation.
It doesn’t matter that much to me whether Blair actually lied. It’s that his judgement was so poor and that his actions have proved so disastrous.
Blair rightly deserves the trashed reputation. What is so shameful is that the Conservative party went along with this at the time. And that the media continues to give Blair and Campbell a pass.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I see what you say about Blair’s dilemma, but the right choice was obvious and you expect British Prime Minister to take it.

Guy Haynes
Guy Haynes
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Your attempts to defend Mr Blair are admirable – certainly you display far more willingness to find an innocent explanation than you have in your posts for anyone on the other side of the political spectrum, but we all have our biases don’t we?

What you’ve failed to justify is the 45 minute claim. This is what, to my shame, persuaded me that the war was justified. Of course, back then, I was in my 20s and had this wonderful innocence and propensity to believe what I was told by people in authority, but it was the turning point for me? There was a massive difference between WMD and WMD that could be used against me, and that tipped me over the line.

At that point it became a no brainer. And it was a lie, wasn’t it j watson? Not a genuinely held belief that wasn’t examined hard enough. Not American propaganda that was just repeated. A lie. Made up by Blair and Campbell. Would love to hear you defend that.

Jonathan West
Jonathan West
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Haynes

Spot on – the 45 mins claim was “key”…. And a bare faced lie imho. A warmonger and I wish him the worst.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan West

Seconded.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan West

Seconded.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Haynes

The 45 min claim was in the Intelligence service dossier that was published. It wasn’t sufficiently caveated that it came from one Iraqi Brigadier source and referred to battlefield munitions. The media picked it out and made it a headline. It actually wasn’t something Campbell and Blair led with. The allegation they’d made it up was what Gilligan got fired for.
The main issue IMO was the dossier wasn’t sufficiently caveated, as any intelligence should be, and probably would be much more now. That wasn’t deliberate though. The wording was not changed by the politicians.
Scarlett has continued to say he wasn’t unduly pressurised, but there can be no doubt a degree of group-think and desire to confirm a viewpoint played some role.
So a blatant lie, no. But a careless error, with serious consequences, approach to critical information and it’s usage, yes.

Jonathan West
JW
Jonathan West
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Haynes

Spot on – the 45 mins claim was “key”…. And a bare faced lie imho. A warmonger and I wish him the worst.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Haynes

The 45 min claim was in the Intelligence service dossier that was published. It wasn’t sufficiently caveated that it came from one Iraqi Brigadier source and referred to battlefield munitions. The media picked it out and made it a headline. It actually wasn’t something Campbell and Blair led with. The allegation they’d made it up was what Gilligan got fired for.
The main issue IMO was the dossier wasn’t sufficiently caveated, as any intelligence should be, and probably would be much more now. That wasn’t deliberate though. The wording was not changed by the politicians.
Scarlett has continued to say he wasn’t unduly pressurised, but there can be no doubt a degree of group-think and desire to confirm a viewpoint played some role.
So a blatant lie, no. But a careless error, with serious consequences, approach to critical information and it’s usage, yes.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

“ WMD was there”?

Jonathan West
Jonathan West
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

What a load of tosh….

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

John Scarlett and the Intelligence to this day defends the intelligence that was provided’

‘Well he would, wouldn’t he’?

All this stuff about ‘whether Blair really knew’ is buying into Blair’s smokescreen. If Blair did not know the answer it is because he took great pains never to ask the question. He wanted the intelligence service to say the WMD was there and Scarlett and the intelligence services, to the permanent extinction of their credibility, obliged. There is no evidence whatsoever that Blair even tried to find out what weapons Saddam actually had. Blair was afraid of getting the wrong answer, and he did not care anyway.

It was obvious even to the casual newspaper reader at the time that whatever weapons Saddam had – and it did look like he probably had *something* to hide – they were militarily useless and no realistic threat – nothing that would justify a war. In the end it turned out that he did not have even the crates of rusting mustard gas shells that one might have expected to find. Surely it is the job of the intelligence services with their better sources to do better than newspaper readers?

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Nonsense. It was quite obvious to most people in the UK that there was no justification for invading Iraq then and there was massive opposition. I’ve never been so angry about a political decision in the UK. Harold Wilson was able to display some backbone and – quite rightly – avoid getting involved in Vietnam. But I guess he actually believed in something and had some principles. Whereas New Labour was in many ways a PR operation.
It doesn’t matter that much to me whether Blair actually lied. It’s that his judgement was so poor and that his actions have proved so disastrous.
Blair rightly deserves the trashed reputation. What is so shameful is that the Conservative party went along with this at the time. And that the media continues to give Blair and Campbell a pass.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I see what you say about Blair’s dilemma, but the right choice was obvious and you expect British Prime Minister to take it.

Guy Haynes
Guy Haynes
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Your attempts to defend Mr Blair are admirable – certainly you display far more willingness to find an innocent explanation than you have in your posts for anyone on the other side of the political spectrum, but we all have our biases don’t we?

What you’ve failed to justify is the 45 minute claim. This is what, to my shame, persuaded me that the war was justified. Of course, back then, I was in my 20s and had this wonderful innocence and propensity to believe what I was told by people in authority, but it was the turning point for me? There was a massive difference between WMD and WMD that could be used against me, and that tipped me over the line.

At that point it became a no brainer. And it was a lie, wasn’t it j watson? Not a genuinely held belief that wasn’t examined hard enough. Not American propaganda that was just repeated. A lie. Made up by Blair and Campbell. Would love to hear you defend that.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

As we know the US was invading with or without Allies. They were going for a number of reasons of which WMD was one. Blair faced a strategic dilemma – in a post 9/11 world was the UK to be by the side of US or a critic on the side-line? Not an easy choice for any PM.
As it was he got Bush and the Neo-Cons to at least pursue a second UN resolution. It remains debatable whether it was needed as existing resolutions arguably provided legal cover.
Whether Blair knew WMD no longer existed I v much doubt. For sure some cognitive bias was at play but John Scarlett and the Intelligence Agencies to this day defends the intelligence that was provided – WMD was there. Of course it wasn’t but the intelligence was deemed reputable.
What we’ll never know is what would have happened had the Invasion been followed by quick withdrawal – much as, ironically. Rumsfeld wanted. Instead Bremer’s de-Baathification strategy and the quick switch to liberators being viewed as occupiers quickly turned things into one of the worst Post WW2 strategic mistakes.
Blair inevitably takes blame for this. But did he outright lie remains highly debatable. Whether any other PM would have done a Wilson/Vietnam and stood back also remains a counterfactual debate.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson