Greenstock: Iraq war “legal” but The Telegraph continues to be illiberal with the actualite

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    27th November, 2009



    If any of our newspapers leader/article writers was worth his weight in old newspapers, those three words – IRAQ WAR LEGAL – would be all over the papers tonight and tomorrow.

    But will they be? What do YOU think?

    Is Tony Blair an honest man?

    Come on!

    Instead, with this dangerously misleading headline The Telegraph, amidst others, continues its relentless ad hominem campaign to disparage further Tony Blair as well as the entire Iraq war campaign. (It WAS a campaign, btw, and was over in one month.)

    Britain’s ambassador to the UN at the time of the Iraq war, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, says the invasion in March 2003 was of “questionable legitimacy”

    Somehow or other – well, journalists’ time is limited y’know … they omit to tell us that Sir Jeremy also said that he considered the invasion legal.

    An unfortunate oversight. It is clearly illiberal with the topicality since this topicality does NOT serve their political purpose.  But they do remember to add that quote within the body of the article – hidden within the last sentence, and outshone by two other supposedly damning indictments.

    Unfortunately for them the more discerning among us have perfected the art of reading between the lines, and of pursuing the entire transcripts. (Read Sir Jeremy’s statement here, 16 pages, pdf file. His video evidence with questions from Inquiry members. )

    You’d do well to remember that, the great British newspaper with your hypocritical ‘whole truth and nothing but the truth’ truth-bending scribblers.

    Until such as the once-legit broadsheets in this country tell it like it is and not as they would like it to be, be warned … you need a large one of these before you believe ANYTHING they say.

    Telegraph article:

    ‘Sir Jeremy said that not “legitimate” because Britain and the US failed to win international support for the 2003 invasion.

    “If you’ve got broad opinion behind you, you are doing something that is defensible in a democratic environment… If you do something internationally that the majority of UN states think is wrong, or illegitimate or politically unjustifiable, you are taking a risk in my view.

    “I regard our participation in the military action in Iraq in March 2003 as legal but of questionable legitimacy in that it did not have the democratically observable backing of the great majority of member states, or even perhaps of the majority of people inside the UK.”’

    Elsewhere in The Telegraph another of their busy journos asks this:  “What exactly will Sir John Chilcot’s Inquiry Achieve”


    Full of rhetoricals, aren’t these cuties?

    The usual commenting suspects fulminate about “nothing” and/or “Blair at the Hague”. They are evidently in such unquestionable ownership of ALL the facts that an inquiry was clearly not necessary anyway! In fact, to be blunt, their brains are so half-starved and their attachment to the rule of law so tendentious that a trial is not really necessary.

    Off with his head!

    There is one commenter at this Telegraph article who dares to speak the truth, though I have been sent a copy of another comment which has NOT, curiously, been published (see here).

    Stan Rosenthal, whose comment follows directly below, is a regular here at this blog, and therefore has a clearer understanding of The Truth than the Tory-supporting Telegraph.  (Tories having been Iraq-war supporting, in case memory serves you badly, which it clearly does theirs.)


    “First, two factual corrections. Greenstock said the war wasn’t legitimate only in the sense that the majority of the (anti-American) UN were against military force being used even though they had voted for a resolution requiring proof that Saddam had disarmed. And “the deal signed in blood” was heavily caveated by Meyer, who admitted he was not a witness to what had taken place.

    The obvious point of the Inquiry as far as the anti-West, anti-war lobby is concerned is to cherry-pick and hype up anything that casts doubt on the government’s version of events and to ignore anything that supports the government’s case.

    That way they hope to produce a lynch mob mentality amongst the public before the Inquiry’s verdict is delivered. So much for that great British belief in innocent until proved guilty.”

    And this is a typical comment at this article:


    ‘Why wait until end of 2010, it seems enough evidence is out to make arrests. The labour party more apt at dictating than even Sadam was (or did I miss the referendums past 12 years?). Will the video of their punishment be passed around the internet also, or are they as beyond the law as most criminals in Britain today?’

    So a generous, open mind there then?

    Here is the (as yet) unpublished comment from another commenter critical of The Telegraph:


    ‘The purpose of the Inquiry? To balance the partial information provided by such as this paper and The Daily Mail. Here in this article, for instance, two pieces of evidence are written as though they are FACT rather than opinion.

    1. “Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s ambassador to the UN at the time, has already told the inquiry that the war was
    not legitimate.”

    2. “Earlier Sir Christopher Meyer, then Britain’s ambassador to Washington, suggested that a deal to invade Iraq may
    have been “signed in blood” by George Bush and Tony Blair in 2002.”

    Re Greenstock it does NOT say that he also said in the same pargaraph that the war WAS legal. NOT mentioned here by
    The Telegraph.

    Re Meyer it does NOT say here that Meyer thought Saddam should be removed by force if necessary.

    Unforgivable omissions and yet not even questioned by the commenters above who have presumed Blair’s guilt, via the ‘good’ offices of press reporting.

    Truth? This Tory-supporting paper whose party ALSO supported the, Iraq invasion, wouldn’t know it if it stood up in parliament for ten years week after trying week.


    As I write this,  I am listening to BBC Radio 4’s News at 10.  Although they lead with Greenstock’s “Iraq war is legal” quote they are concentrating on the “doubts” expressed by Greenstock and Meyer yesterday. Very little on the facts that both men supported the cause, despite these doubts (Meyer: “I was a firm supporter of calling Saddam Hussein to account, if necessary by war. I have not changed my mind.”)


    Doubts on display now? Why yes. A little, it might yet emerge, like Mr Blair himself, from the beginning of the campaign until, possibly, this day.

    I recall Blair saying at a parliamentary committee just over a week before he stepped down, “Of course I had doubts. I wouldn’t be a human being if I didn’t have doubts. And I am a human being.”

    People should remember this as they relentlessly attack Blair. Not that he had doubts… but that he is a human being. This paper’s behaviour, along with that of most papers in this country is abhorrent, scurrilous and cruel.

    It needs to stop. Another year of this navel-gazing while blaming ONLY A N Other will not do.

    Blairs response when asked at the Liaison Committee meeting on 18th June, 2007, this question from an MP.


    Q:”Do these thousands of people who have now died as a result of your decision never come back to haunt you or are you just completely filled with self-belief?”

    A: Mr Blair: It is not as simple as that, is it? Of course I accept a deep and profound responsibility for what has happened and anybody who has ever sent people into action, particularly when our troops are killed, and does not feel the weight of that responsibility is not a human being, and I am a human being.

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