Comment at end
31st January, 2010
THE TALES OF A WANDERING BLAIR SUPPORTER ON ‘JAIL TONY DAY’
This follows on from the previous post reporting on my personal experiences at Friday’s Iraq Inquiry – also known as The Inquisition, aka The Trial of the Century, aka “He said WHAT?“
When I got back to the QEII centre at around 12:30pm, I met up with a friend and caught up with the morning’s events. “The boy dun good” etc. But of course.
The ranters outside were still ranting, and the British bobbies still being polite as ever. The anti-war coalition were megaphoning their repeated noises about Blair having got to the venue before them and about his being “afraid to face” them. Presumably he was worried that the hordes of armed and unarmed police would have been too few to stop such as the woman who naïvely hoped to arrest him, egged on no doubt by the irresponsible call of one George Monbiot.
His list of “LIES”. Where was Number 2, and what did it say? Rather unconvincingly one of his colleagues proffered, to the agreeing laughter of those around, “IT’S ALL LIES”.
“IT’S ALL LIES”? To use an overused word, I think that is a lie.
‘It’s ALL Lies’ would have been number 1 or more likely number 6. I never found out what “LIE No. 2″ was, and I was interested really. No, really, I was. I mean it might have been another dreadful lie … like, say, promising to bring democracy to Iraq. So, in the end I had to tell these sorry individuals that they were the biggest liars of all. A pity, since half of them were only there for something to do on a Friday and of course to see and hear the indefatigable Gorgeous George.
TWO VIDEO CLIPS OF SECTIONS OF BLAIR’S AFTERNOON EVIDENCE
As I have mentioned here at this blog on many occasions – the KILLERS in Iraq are not the troops but the locals including imported Iranians and others.
In this section Mr Blair referred to the fact that WE built up the Iraqi security forces. Any balanced individual whose thinking processes had not been skewed beyond rationality would at least be proud of this.
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY – REALLY?
Agreeing we have responsibility he said “… but here is the point – let’s be quite clear that these people were prepared to kill any number of completely innocent people… we should be prepared to take these people on.”
APPROACH TO PLANNING
He disagreed that there was a “cavalier attitude to planning here in the UK”, saying what we planned for is what we thought was going to happen.
Of course, this’ll be another stick with which to beat… etc.
As a politician it seems you’re supposed to KNOW exactly what is going to happen in any and every given situation. So apart from being presentable, coherent and able to withstand the slings and arrows, being able to foretell the future should, indeed must be on your CV and application form.
Case proven. He couldn’t read the future. String ‘im up. Next for the high-jump?
Chilcot (?): “Good morning, Mr Brown …”
2. Tony Blair: ‘I don’t regret removing Saddam Hussein’
Winding up his evidence at the end of six hours, he was asked about broad lessons and if he had regrets. You may notice that Tony Blair chose NOT to apologise or even refer overtly to the relatives of the fallen who were sitting just behind him. This has been interpreted by some as his failure to care. It is nothing of the sort. Many times he has said that the deaths of our troops is with him every day, “as it should be” and that he will bear responsibility for the rest of his life.
What more do the relatives of the dead from our volunteer army want? Blood? It looks like it to me. Those who are preventing the bereaved from getting on with their lives in the way they should, proud of their fallen soldier, are behind this search for political blood. Gorgeous George, whose words will linger on the internet far longer than will his indefatigability.
For Blair knew exactly what he was doing in refusing to turn, teary-eyed to the families behind him. Any suggestion that he “felt their pain” in that personal way would have been treated with derision, unless he had also sunk to his knees and begged their forgiveness through heaving sobs for his “crimes”. That was never going to happen. So any such gesture was out of the question.
There were other reasons for his failure to apologise in particular to the families whose eyes burnt into the back of his head for hours on endless hours, even though the chairman handed him that opportunity several times as proceedings closed.
Firstly, and simply, without genuine anguish pouring from his lips and mingling with his tears, he would not have been believed. No-one believes him anyway, so they tell us, so why bother?
Secondly, the press would have taken any contrition as an admission of his “wrongdoing” and “guilt” and made more baleful hay.
Thirdly, and perhaps he would not wish to express this himself, but could it be that he feels there has been too much made of the laying of “blame” for the deaths of soldiers? Perhaps he doesn’t feel like this at all. But some of us do.
The British stiff upper lip wobbled some decades ago. Tennyson’s “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die” served us well fighting the enemy for centuries, when much of the time we had no idea if the enemy was real or a political figment. Perhaps it’s time we returned to that way of approaching the honourable profession of voluntary military service to our country.
Tony Blair finished his evidence session at the Iraq inquiry by saying he had no regrets in removing Saddam Hussein.
SORRY FOR THE DIVISIONS THE WAR CAUSED
Responding to a question relating to the loss of soldiers’ lives since the conflict began, he told the inquiry: “In the end it was divisive and I am sorry about that. I tried my level best to bring people back together again.”
He said he felt responsibility for the decision, and stressed that it was a decision, not a plot or a conspiracy. But he said he felt NO regret for removing Saddam Hussein.
“I think that Saddam was a monster, I believe he threatened not just the region but the world… it was better to deal with this threat”.
Quote: ‘Tony Blair was heckled from the public gallery at the Iraq inquiry tonight as he wrapped up a dramatic day of testimony by declaring that he had no regrets about ousting Saddam Hussein.
Sitting behind him during six hours of testimony were relatives of some of the 179 soldiers killed in the Iraq conflict – although many complained that Mr Blair had not even acknowledged their presence.
This evening as he was wrapping up, one member of the audience shouted at him: “You’re a liar.” A second added: “And a murderer.”‘
In my humble opinion history will not see him as either of those.
- Saturday, 30th Jan – Radio 4’s “Today” radio podcast analyses any movements in Blair’s case at the Inquiry – Unimpressed Peter Hennessy of Queen Mary University, London says, “Blair is telling himself a “story” (2010 what if?). Hmmm… and Mr Hennessy isn’t? A constutional hardliner he said in 2004 that the Butler Inquiry would be a “whitewash” if it didn’t follow the intelligence trail (to Goldsmith and/or Number 10). So, still some proving to do, some constitutional wrongs to right? Just a thought.
- Harry’s Place has some thoughts too on Henry Porter and other (il)liberal thinkers on the Left who want to disbar all the lawyers (or rather those who disagree with THEM over Iraq, such as Blair, Straw, Falconer and possibly Goldsmith.)
- Friday, 29th Jan – R4’s “Today” radio podcast: Former Blair cabinet minister David Blunkett speaking on Iraq and the legacy of Tony Blair, on the morning of the day that Blair gave his evidence
- Sky News coverage – videos and links
- Papers round-up – dissecting Blair’s evidence
- New York Times report
- Reg Keys, a bereaved father, for whose loss one can feel nothing but sympathy writes here. His account of watching Mr Blair’s evidence in the upstairs room, as I was seated downstairs, is very moving and completely understandable in its intensity. That does not make his approach to Tony Blair right. I do hope that one day these bereaved families will be able to move on and live the rest of their lives without bitterness and recrimination. Bitterness detroys the embittered.
Tags: arrest George Monbiot, BBC, david blunkett, George Galloway, Henry Porter, Hutton Inquiry, Iraq inquiry, jack straw, Lord Falconer, lord goldsmith, Peter Hennessy, Reg Keys, Saddam Hussein, Tony Blair, video, whitewash, who is killing them