Comment at end
23rd November, 2009
John Rentoul asks: “The key question – is Blair a war criminal?” – NO! (Answer 180)
Rentoul: “Is it really necessary to explain the difference between a war crime and something that is, in someone’s opinion, contrary to international law? War crimes include genocide, and no sensible person accuses Blair of that, and waging a war of aggression, which is what is usually meant by the extreme anti-war faction in this case (although the aftertaste of genocide often seems to be deliberate). How anyone can compare the German invasion of Poland with the invasion of Iraq in order to enforce United Nations resolutions is beyond me.”
Ahhh, but they CAN, John, THEY can. These “sensible” persons can accuse Mr Blair of anything they like, because HE is the devil incarnate, don’t you know? This “spawn of Satan” tried to fool us for years as to his good intentions by actually performing one or two or three and more GOOD acts. Only, you understand, in order to get away with killing “hundreds of thousands”, an urge which – don’t you know(?) – got him out of bed in his prime ministerial mornings.
Rentoul: Sir John Chilcot’s deliberations are heralded by the anti-war zealots drowning out reasonable voices with their language of vengeance – urged on by a culturati that has turned simply vicious.”
Being ‘vicious’ is required of today’s press, of course. You must know that too, John. It’s the only way to rouse the rabble. And now that the Iraq Inquiry is seriously upon us and such as the Mail’s embittered Peter Oborne gloat that Mr Blair is unprotected diplomatically by dint of not being the EU president, the bitter think it is time to strike while the iron’s hot. HE is fair game. So fair and tasty a meal would he make that even Sir John Chilcot has been forced to defend his Inquiry yet again from the scurrilous innuendo – NO, accusation – of its being a ‘whitewash’. This is an attack on Sir John’s integrity and that of his committee. He knows we will hear more of this as the Inquiry proceeds, as do we all, courtesy of the press and their various agendas.
DON’T BULLY SIR JOHN
Saying “we are determined to write the story fully and frankly”, Sir John responds to a question from a BBC interviewer as to whether or not the lawyer-less committee has “forensic skills”. Sir John says this question shows there is a real misconception as to the task of the Inquiry. “This isn’t a trial. It’s not a court proceeding. So it doesn’t call for the forensic skills of the sort you describe.”
Say it again Sir John! And again, and again, and again. Watch video here
BLAIR IN COURT? BUT OF COURSE!
Since this kind of confused message from the press is guaranteed to continue, my immediate concern is that Sir John should NOT be bullied into coming down harder than he should in order to prove his impartiality credentials regarding a political decision (thus flawed, as is their wont) to the schoolmasterly crowd of anti-Blair creatures. The chairman of the Iraq Inquiry must ensure that he does NOT succumb to the agenda’d behaviour of the righteous, riotous mob. You only need to read some of the comments from the ALREADY DECIDED here to see what a mountain Mr Blair has to climb to restore his good name. For people like this NOTHING is too harsh a fate for Tony Blair. Their muddying of the Inquiry’s waters is intended to make self-fulfilling that Blair is called to legal account in a court of law – “s’inetivitable, init, mate!?”
Keep reminding them, SirJohn – “this (Inquiry) is NOT a trial, and nobody is on trial”
Again today Sir John has had to remind people that he does not need to provide barristers at this “not a trial”. It is disgraceful that these people continue to attempt to make this Tony Blair’s TRIAL. Many of us knew they would. I started compiling my little list some months ago, to highlight this distasteful non-legally admissible or principled behaviour
For let us not be fooled – these people are NOT all necessarily or even simply against the Iraq war. They are using what they see as public unease over the invasion as a weapon with which to literally strike down the previous prime minister. Imprisoning for the rest of his life would be, in many of their “peace-and loving” eyes, too good for him. If THEY and their roused rabble could get their dirty hands on him, there’d be nothing left to lock up. I challenge the rabble to provide us with a list of all the good works THEY did for the people of Iraq in the 12 year period when Saddam was ignoring UN resolutions, and killing his own people. I imagine the list would be short … or blank.
(See Iraq Inquiry website)
RESUSCITATE LIBEL LAWS SO THAT THEY ACTUALLY MEAN SOMETHING
It cannot be right in ANY country which calls itself a civilised liberal democracy that we go for the throat of a politician over a political decision with which we don’t agree. This is NOT democracy. Democracy is where we vote them out, not string ’em up. Democracy is what we saw in action in 2005, over two years after the Iraq invasion when all the lies and illegal arguments had already been aired ad nauseum. In case you ‘ve forgotten, we voted back into power the “illegal … liars”.
I know it will make no difference to the arguments right now over the Iraq invasion, but I would urge any government or opposition party worth its salt to seriously look again at libel laws in this country, seriously undermined in recent years by civil and human righters. It cannot be right and IT IS NOT RIGHT that for the sake of “freedom” of speech and freedom of the press the mob are incited in this way.
No-one … and that includes TONY BLAIR … no-one is any kind of criminal until proven to be so. And even then, the law takes its course … lawfully.
Are we waiting until summary justice is dispensed by the know-it-all rent-a-mob before we change the law, as so often happens in this reactive world? (See Frears call for Blair’s head on a “spear”.)
With the Inquiry about to get into full swing tomorrow there is and will be widespread media coverage. Tonight on ITV news Anthony Scrivener QC, who criticised Blair in 2005 for wanting to introduce laws against incitement to violence, see here, said that anyone who thought Tony Blair would get his comeuppance from this Inquiry would be seriously disappointed. It is clear that Scrivener and his ilk will keep trying, if only by making this kind of statement of evident outcome, thus seeking to undermine the whole Inquiry process.
On a lighter note, well, maybe for some …
Mr Rentoul – ARE YOU RISKING YOUR OWN JOB BY CONTINUING TO SUPPORT BLAIR?
I’m beginning to wonder how long John Rentoul can hold onto his scribbling job at The Indy. Sorry, John, I hope it’s a long time, but you may be stepping on a few sensitive toes with your excellent article below. After all, it was the Independent on Sunday wot won it” (the Stop Blair for EU Presidency campaign) don’t you know? Nothing to do with internal politicking from a certain Ms Merkel & Mr Sarkozy!
The Indy really needs to get out a bit more. This paper has actually NO influence on what happens to Mr Blair over Iraq, Europe or anything else. They are irrelevant. The sooner they understand that the better.
You, on the other hand, Mr Rentoul, are the only writer worth reading at that excuse for “independent” thinking. Long may they allow it to be so. Otherwise you may be joining the blogging ranks of those who do it for nothing. Nothing but the pursuit of balance. A balance which says, as you have pointed out below, and that I have done so here on many occasions that the man who is lauded as a hero in many parts of the word for saving people from tyranny should never, EVER be carelessly described as a “war criminal”.
We all know that thousands died following the Iraq invasion. We also know that many if not most of those were killed by their own people and imported insurgents. So, is Tony Blair to blame for ALL of these deaths? Is he ALONE responsible? Clearly not. His intention was never genocide in the ‘war crimes’ meaning, quite the opposite.
I used the word NEVER above in relation to describing the former PM as a war criminal because even in the unlikely event that Blair is found to have “misspoken” in his presentation of intelligence over WMDs or plans for an Iraq invasion, none of his intention was in order to kill thousands of people. Events, dear boy, and unintended consequences.
These are not weasel words. Quite the opposite. The fact of INTENT is central to any charges of war crimes.
Tony Blair’s accusers need to learn that lesson and learn it fast.
I realise that this kind of statement of FACT will be dismissed as laughable by those who see Bair as Hitler/Mugabe/Karadzic (allegedly.) That does not mean that this statement is untrue.
In any charges of “war crimes” intent must be proved to have been uppermost in the mind of the accused.
Rentoul’s article excerpt: The key question – is Blair a war criminal?
“Disappointing to see that my own newspaper, The Independent on Sunday, asks number 180 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No, in the form of the headline on Oliver Miles’s shabby article previewing the Chilcot inquiry into Iraq, which starts on Tuesday.
For all the time that I have disagreed with the editorial policy of the Independent titles – that is, since late 2002, when it became clear that Simon Kelner, then the editor of The Independent, was opposed to military action in Iraq under any circumstances – I have continued to argue with my colleagues that they should avoid the language of “lies” and “war crimes” in characterising those with whom they disagree.” (Read all of Rentoul’s article here )
An excellent and moving comment at Rentoul’s article. Read to the end, please:
“I hold the same view of John, who seems to be one of the few people left in Britain with a certain kind of sense of justice.
In order not to devalue the meaning of war crimes and let real evil dictators get away with their appalling crimes, once and for all must be established what war crimes are. They are attacks grounded on the arbitrariness of power either to eliminate enemies or menacing ethnic or religious minorities.
What Tony Blair did was to join a multinational force ( more than 20-30 countries) in an intervention that was later sanctioned by the UN, unlike Kosovo and the 1998 strikes in Iraq. Blair himself painstakingly tried to secure a second UN resolution which was denied by the personally motivated interests of France and Germany. Many secret services held the view that Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction and this was not something created by Blair but by the duplicitous behavior of the Iraqi dictator. Does all this amount to war crimes ? Of course not. This is the route chosen by a principled politician in order to come to grips with a controversial moral issue like the necessity of commencing a military action.
Some may argue that he misled the Parliament in the run-up to the war, but he said to the British Parliament what he then knew about the WMD. Some may argue that Britain was not equipped for the war,and this very fact leads me to the bitter conclusion that Britain has turned from a world power into a useless country, never ready for anything, whether is the Iraq WAr, the Afghan WAR or the Football World Cup, unless it is trained by an Italian couch.
Some may argue that the Iraq war was a catastrophe, but we should objectively draws the conclusion that, after some setbacks, Iraq is now a better country than it previously was under Saddam. It’s very sad that many soldier died, and among them my beloved boyfriend, a young, energetic American boy, but we were there to fight someone who really was a war criminal, just to bear in mind who really are war criminals in this world with a distorted vision of what it is good and what it is bad.”
1. Leaked papers – prior to the appearance of army chiefs at the Inquiry from, wait for it, the leaker of leaks – The Telegraph.
2. “IT HAS BEEN EVIDENT FOR YEARS” … (OH NO IT HASN’T). Even the Irish Independent is sure that it knows ALL the facts – “it has been evident for years that Tony Blair misled the public on Iraq.” Oh no it hasn’t! Only to those who have pre-decided, generally Independent readers and Mail Tories.
3. Bruce Anderson at The Independent (AGAIN): “Iraq is inseparable from the Personality of Tony Blair” – So no fault being laid there then, Mr Anderson!?!?
4. Harry’s Place – Blair is NOT comparable to Kurt Waldheim – Highlighting the clearly racist and anti-Jewish article by Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya. Miles’s bias against the Jews passes almost unnoticed in its lack of complaint from the supposedly anti-racism Left. Simply, we can assume, because Oliver’s general attack is on the hate-figure of the Left, who happens to have been also the saviour of The Left, putting them in power for 12 years so far! What an odd world of odd characters.
5. Clare Short, former minister under Blair, resigned over Iraq – eventually – says Blair wont be hanged, drawn and quartered, or referred to The Hague. At least she recognises the aims of her allies:
“I don’t think it will satisfy people who are hoping to hang, draw and quarter Tony Blair, or refer him to the International Court — that’s not going to happen,” said Clare Short, an ex-Cabinet minister who quit in protest two months after the invasion. She will also be testifying before the inquiry.
6. Royal Military Police website refers to the ‘lack of equipment’ of soldiers at the initial invasion on March 2003. Clearly a hanging offence.
7. Melanie Reid at The Times says we don’t trust politicians anyway, and then tells us why we shouldn’t. Give me strength! A dose of good old-fashioned anarchy, dictatorship or perhaps demagoguery would shut her up. Oh, sorry, forgot … that’s what we had with Blair, is it not? ‘NOT’ being the answer you are searching for, Ms Reid.
“The 15-strong secretariat has been sorting a mountain of files and e-mail records.
From tomorrow and for five weeks, the committee will hear from diplomats, arms control experts, civil servants and generals to establish what happened, initially in the run-up to the war.
Tony Blair and other politicians will give evidence after Christmas, before there is a long pause for the general election.
The key early witnesses will be Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who was then Britain’s Ambassador to the United Nations, and Sir David Manning, Mr Blair’s foreign policy adviser from 2001 until 2003 and then Ambassador in Washington.
Sir John Scarlett, the recently retired head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, will give public evidence from his time chairing the Joint Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2004, as will Sir John Sawers, the new head of MI6, who was closely involved in several capacities.
However, it is not yet certain on what basis Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 during the run-up to the war, will give evidence. He is criticised widely within the intelligence world for providing unreliable intelligence directly to Mr Blair that had not been corroborated or checked in the correct way.”
The Little Bloggers get it back to front, as usual:
1. A Letter from a brain-dead Tory – HAH! Has anyone reminded this crowd that their party would have done exactly the same as Blair, AND voted for it anyway? Nincom-bloody-poops!
2. Lizzie Cocker, typical anti-Blair dullard, misspells and mis-portrays Blair, at her “Impeach Blair the warmongerer” [sic] rant. As with SO much the little bloggers get it arse-backwards. This picture, for instance, has actually been reversed in comparison to the original. A little like the facts over Iraq and Tony Blair himself? Possibly, just probably. The original picture appears below this one.
Here is the original photograph. This kind of misrepresentation highlights the difficulties some have with seeing the TRUE facts through their careless, biased eyes.
3. Talking about LYING through pictures, The Mirror is STILL lying with the use of this picture here. Named and shown at their site as Tony_Blair_visits_gaza_pic_Getty_877785464 it is WRONG.
LYING, in other words.
This picture was NOT taken in Gaza, and it is NOT the weaponry fired from Israel into Gaza. Quite the opposite. It was taken in Sderot, Israel, and is of weapons used from Gaza to attack Israel. Just thought Id keep the record straight AGAIN as I did in June – for the slow of learning. I expect the Mirror to continue to retell this lie until challenged by Mr Blair’s Office. Even then, this scum rag will NOT apologise, unless forced to do so by threats of legal action.
GO FOR IT, Mr Blair. Take them for every penny. A picture paints a thousand words.
OH NO, IT WASN’T …
1. Keeping the EU Presidency from Blair – “It was the Independent on Sunday wot won it” – Oh, no it wasn’t! See here for the TRUE political assassin of our former PM.
3. BRING BACK TONY says Blair Foundation Blogspot. Well, that’s what some of us are about, true. But, even if free and able to return, do you think he’d be vaguely interested? Nope, me neither. Wonder why? Clue – nothing to do with Iraq.
4. ‘Shrewd and shabby’ considered better than statesman Blair. Links to some opinions. More here from other EU countries.
5. The Wolf of appeasement. Excerpt: “President George W. Bush’s War on Terror was one of the most successful wars in the long history of war: more land was taken in less time, with the lowest loss of life. This result was due to Mr. Bush allowing the troops to destroy the enemy swiftly. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was over in a few months; it is the occupation that has lasted for years, which is to be expected. The occupation of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, likewise, took years. Mr. Obama is more interested in protecting his image than saving the lives of our brave men and women who face death. The best way to get the troops out of Afghanistan is to trust Gen. McChrystal and comply with his recommendation. Those men are risking their lives, the least Mr. Obama can do is risk is his reputation. ”
6. Not sure how much to make of this at The Guardian. Hugh Muir says that Peter Brierley, the father of a dead soldier, and his “blood on your hands” accusation to Tony Blair at the Guildhall Memorial event in October put Merkel and Sarkozy off Mr Blair for EU president. Well, it’s always possible, although I think unlikely. They probably decided regardless of that occasion. There were other Franco/German agendas at foot. But if it was largely or even partly due to this accusation, which is not the first time it has been made, perhaps we can thank Mr Brierley for Herman Van Who, and for setting back Britain and Europe’s relationship for years. Thank you for this great legacy in memory of your son, Mr Brierley. I’m sure he’d be delighted. [See here to understand Brierley’s links to the SWP, who support “defeating British and American troops”. With ‘friends’ like these…]