Comment at end
The Iraqi government’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, says he supports Blair on removing Saddam (video clip of Blair interview.)
Comment at end
19th December, 2009
Video (below) introduction by Shuli Ghosh:
‘Tony Blair says he would have waged war on Iraq even if he’d known there were no weapons of mass destruction. His admission has caused outrage. Should the focus of the public Inquiry into the UK’s role now be changed? And should the former prime minister be prosecuted for war crimes?’
[Er … no and no, Ms Ghosh]
Since presumably the answer to my previous post was “yes”, and since little bloggers like this one and most of these opiners at an Al Jazeera programme do not quite “get” the sense or meaning of Tony Blair’s words to Fern Britton, it looks like I need to defend THE MAN again!
OFGS. And I’ve only sent nine Christmas cards and bought a couple of presents!
(Excuse me for a second – someone’s calling me. All right … won’t be long, honeykins … oh light-of-my life. I WILL write some cards tonight. Promise. Thought we were going to e-mail most of them, anyway?)
So here for your further edification, is the rather lengthy Al Jazeera YouTube video about the “war criminal’s” ”confession”. Now don’t say I’m choosy about the sort of bias I publish here!
Inside Story – Justifying war? – 14 dec 09 (25:08) (From Al Jazeera)
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS 25 MINUTE DISCUSSION
A few highlights … lowlights(?) of this video, with one ONE pro-Blair guest – David Cole – and TWO antis. Even the man arguing in Blair’s camp admits he was against the Iraq invasion. Couldn’t they find anyone who agreed with Tony Blair on Iraq? How hard did they try?
The YouTube video site says: “Today we’re looking at the surprise admission by former British prime minister Tony Blair, that he would have gone to war against Iraq even if he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction. Yet at the time it was the WMDs which justified the action. So what does this mean for the public inquiry into the war? And can Tony Blair now be prosecuted for war crimes?”
As John Rentoul might say – 198 to which the answer is NO.
Notice how UNBIASED this site is isn’t. The banners popping up beneath the video are almost ALL anti-Blair. Hmmm …
My thoughts are added in [square brackets in green]
Presented by Shuli Ghosh who does a good job within the parameters of the clear purpose of the programme of holding the disinterested journalist line:
“Tony Blair says he would have waged war on Iraq even if he’d known there were no weapons of mass destruction. His admission has caused outrage. Should the focus of the public Inquiry now be changed? And should the former prime minister be prosecuted for war crimes? This is Inside Story.”
[Er… NO, Ms Ghosh. Tony Blair didn’t say that. He said: “I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean obviously you’d have had to deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat.”
Still thinking it “right”, is not DOING it.]
Before we got to the three main contributors there were two other commenters. Firstly, at 2:28, Abdel Bari Atwan (Editor: Al Quds Al-Arabi)
Atwan: “He’s (Blair) expert at spin so he wanted actually to pre-emptive[sic] any future investigation about his role …”
[Pardon? So THIS is preempting any further investigation? Nullifying anything? I don’t think so, if the press twisting and spinning on the “revelation” is anything to go by.]
And at 2:48 – Anthony Howard, British political commentator: “I don’t think anyone realistically thinks that Tony Blair is going to end up in jail. What he has ended up with, and I don’t think there’s any doubt about this, is a hefty great stain on his reputation.”
[Perhaps. For a time. But his reputation is high in many parts of the world, particularly over international humanitarian interventions in Sierra Leone and Kosovo. And Northern Ireland will be his longest lasting legacy, imho. Tony Blair is not and never was only about Iraq. And Iraq, deaths and all, was never only about Blair. See Rentoul at end of page to remind yourselves that the war and deaths would still have happened, perhaps even moreso, Blair, Britain or not.]
Clare Short, former Labour MP, now a something else MP
Anas Altikriti, British Muslim Initiative
David Cole, Atlantic Council (a UK-based think-tank on international affairs)
I have added a few remarks in [square brackets in green]
First of all Ghosh asks Altikriti:
“Blair’s comments … does it now pose a serious question about Britain’s decision to go to war on Iraq?”
Altikriti: “Well, nothing has changed … first of all he has come out and confirmed what most British people and most people around the world thought from day one … people who weren’t in a position to see the evidence, that actually KNEW THE TRUTH [HOW did they ‘ACTUALLY’ KNOW?] and I think that it’s quite incredible that … the way in which he still arrogantly argues that he was correct. I think that his very first comment … is very, very telling. The fact that he thought that it was right to remove Saddam but then he would have had to use a different set of arguments. Basically speaking he couldn’ argue for the case of that so therefore he could introduce lies and argue for those (as) well. I think what he has done is actually shown the need for the Inquiry to change its shift, its remit. The fact that it has no teeth, it holds no-one responsible, there’s no accountability to be said or to be had, I think that now has to change. I think that it’s a must that his comments, his statements, his affirmation of what most people thought from day one and yet only six and a half years later with thousands upon thousands of lives wasted I think it’s a must now that we look at actually bringing Tony Blair to account and maybe, yes I mean your final commentator said that it’s unlikely that we see him in jail, but listen I think that many people out there would like to pursue that particular aim and objective and I don’t see the harm in that.
[Oh no, Mr Altikriti, no harm at all! Let’s pursue to the courts AND jail, but of COURSE, ANY democratically elected politician you don’t agree with and whose story YOU will rewrite at any opportunity. Oh, let’s! And what’s this nonsense about what “most people” thought from day one? RUBBISH! Where the hell did you get that mad idea? Most people supported Blair on Iraq, until the papers washed their brains out.]
Clare Short LIES, LIES and LIES some more
Q: How can you tell when Short is lying? A:Her lips are moving
LIE NUMBER 1: “Well, he never did win PUBLIC support ….” [Oh yes he did!]
LIE NUMBER 2: “… but what we’ve got here is his admission that he lied …” [Er, no. Learn to listen and read, Ms Short.]
LIE NUMBER 3: “Saddam didn’t have very many (WMD) …” [“very many”. How many should he have had?]
LIE NUMBER 4: “… he (Blair) was always involved in deceit and exaggeration…” [Well, he exaggerated YOUR importance, by not sacking you YEARS before he did!]
LIE NUMBER 5: “… serious observers knew that he’d lied and twisted … delusion about him and an arrogance …’but I would have to decide in the British political system it’s not supposed to be just him, it’s meant to be cabinet it’s meant to be parliament and of course he’s admitting that he deceived all those people.” [Er, are you being serious?]
[How DULL can this woman get? He is ADMITTING NOTHING of the sort.]
David Cole, Atlantic Council at 9 mins who says he opposed the war, disagreed with the other two. He explains what he thinks: that Blair actually said that had he not thought or known that there were no WMD he still would have wished to attack Saddam.
[Hmmm… Mr Cole. He didn’t QUITE say that, y’know. His comments inspired hypothetical conclusions from others, that’s all. Watch the video linked at the top of this page.]
At around 13 mins – there re-surfaced the usual nonsense about Blair’s action being only to curry favour with the US. What absolute tripe this is. TRIPE!
Reference was made to Sir Ken McDonald, former DPP, who says that Washington turned Blair’s head – and he couldn’t resist the stage or the glamour that association with the USA gave him.
Short: “Blair liked being a big actor on the world stage … the people of Iraq were suffering under sanctions … they brushed Blix aside … we could have alternative routes these were not even explored alternative routes because B & B made a secret deal … deceit they were willing to engage in. A very serious matter, not just one man …”
Context – 9/11 – no relationship … between Iraq and Twin Towers – no link then … there is no relationship… they wanted to go into Iraq … thought they’d be welcomed then they could dominate the Gulf and all the oil from there and that was their agenda from before they came into power.
WHAT? STUPID woman. STUPID, STUPID, LYING woman.
David Cole didn’t think Blair was led down this route by the ‘special relationship’. No, he said, “Blair was a true believer, he felt this was the right thing to do.”
Ghosh: “Regime change is not a legal base for launching a war, is it?”
Cole: “International law is less than clear. We went into other places – Kosovo, Sierra Leone … without …”
“I rather disagree that Iraq is as bad as it was under Saddam – but replacing somebody who as we know launched a war against Kuwait, Iran /Iraq war with …” ( interrupted by Altikriti) –
Annas Altikriti refers to the imprisoned Tariq Aziz’s desire to prosecute Blair because he contends that Blair has violated the Geneva Conventions. Aziz. A man with no axe to grind.
Ghosh asks Altikriti: “Do you think Tony Blair is guilty of a war crime?”
Altikriti: I think so … the British people ought to bring actions against Tony Blair … the precedence that was set by the actions of Tony Blair and George W Bush was this – that if you have the capacity to unleash hell on other people whom you dislike who go against your own regional strategic interests then you have the moral legitimacy to do so. Now we as a people we have … a responsibility to disprove that particular argument because we can go down that line time and time and time again in the future. Now what Tony Blair has refused to acknowledge in his interview despite the fact saying he sees the point of those disagreeing on Iraq … he fails to acknowledge the millions of lives that hav ev been disseminated as a result of his decision …I think there is more than sufficient grounds to take legal action against Tony Blair and to bring him to trial as a war criminal. What do war criminals do more than lie in order to creat a premise a false premise to fight a war that results in hundreds of thousands of deaths, that results in a security situation that is about to engulf the in Middle East .. security situation 2005 bombings in London and many many more … what more do you need? It’s time this Inquiry shifted its focus and became something that could actually bring these people to account, otherwise we will go down these paths time and time again …
Ghosh: Could the Inquiry change direction?
Cole: “I sincerely hope not. I would be very worried indeed if an Inquiry changed what it was doing halfway through …. other issues in Iraq … conduct, planning for the war I think the Chilcot mandate…
[interrupted by Ghosh]
“Isn’t the Inquiry entitled to ask what was done right … wrong… differently?”
Cole: “Yes, of course it is … on all issues not just this one issue. On the fundamental issue should TB be charged with war crimes, there was a precedent set in the Iraq war in that it was actually the House of Commons that voted for us to go to war in Iraq … but … Tony Blair can’t be held accountable for the decision of the House of Commons.”
Clare Short: “Well, he won’t be taken to the international criminal court as a war criminal although many serious and senior international lawyers think he should be. If international law was applied equally to all we’d have a better world and the Palestinians would have their state, so many many serious people think he’s responsible for war crimes but there’s no chance at the moment that he’ll be held accountable.”
Ghosh : “E-mail us at email@example.com”
MORE ‘WE ALL KNOW’-ers
This gentleman has a dig at me, and others like me – we few … etc. And he doesn’t even get the relevant link to this blog right!
Excerpt: ‘And of course, following the example of their glorious exemplar, their response is to lie with the barest of faces. Apparently the statement “I would still have thought it right to remove him. Obviously, you would have had to have used and deployed different arguments about the nature of the threat.” is to be read with the unspoken corollary “….but under those circumstances I would have been restrained by the lack of any UN Security Council authorisation for war” (though no such restraint was evident when Blair entered on his equally unauthorised crusade to remove the imaginary WMDs).’
[It is tough to explain when people DO NOT understand English.] He continues …
‘These people are a textbook example of cognitive dissonance, which is what happens when someone holds a very strong belief which is then completely contradicted by facts which they are forced to confront.’
[Odd that. I agree with him on something.]
ON BULLYING CHILCOT & HIS ‘NOT ENTERTAINMENT’
- Guardian – Iraq war Inquiry/ Tony Blair: The chairman of the Iraq inquiry today defended the way he has conducted the hearings, saying he was not out to “ambush witnesses or score points”. He added: “We are not here to provide public sport or entertainment.”
- Tony Blair Young War Criminal (cross-posting from another article)
- Huffington Post – Tony Blair must be charged (and then we can get Bush)
- John Rentoul – “For a balanced verdict on Blair look beyond Chilcot” (and might I suggest, beyond the press’s choice clippings from Blair’s career and life thus far).
Excerpts, Rentoul suggests (MY BOLDING) – BRITISH PRESS COLLUDING WITH BLAIR ON ONE RESPECT
“He will undoubtedly say what he has said many times before, but it will be reported either as a “confession” of premeditated wickedness, or as a delusional denial of the hidden truth that explains it all. The media climate is such that the coverage of the Chilcot process is more selective and distorted than anything ever alleged of Blair’s presentation of the intelligence.
Yet a historical reputation is not constructed in a seminar room, or in an official inquiry chaired by a former civil servant, however distinguished. Nor will it be influenced, much, by the former Prime Minister’s memoirs, on which I am told he is working steadily, in longhand, with a fountain pen on legal pads.
No, it is formed much more by the prevailing assumptions of those that work in the media and in the creative arts. Thus the reporting of what Blair says to Fern Britton, or to the Chilcot inquiry next year, is more influential than his actual words. Last weekend, therefore, people did not hear Blair say of Saddam Hussein, “I would still have thought it right to remove him,” which is what he said. They heard him say he “would have invaded Iraq” even if he had known that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which was how it was reported. Him and whose army? The British media seems to collude with Blair in one ? and only one ? respect, that is, in refusing to accept his subsidiary role in what was essentially an American enterprise.
Thus, too, it may be that Pierce Brosnan, playing Blair in Roman Polanski’s film of Robert Harris’s novel The Ghost, to be premiered in Berlin in February, will seem more real than any attempt to make historical sense of the choices facing a British prime minister faced with an unpredictable tyrant in persistent breach of United Nations resolutions. Why try to understand a choice between unpalatable options when we can retreat into a simple fiction in which all is explained by the fact that Cherie is in the pay of the CIA?”
The world in 2025: “Awash with weapons of mass destruction” (That’ll be all Blair’s fault, I suppose.)
Tags: Abdel Bari Atwan, Al Jazeera, Anas Altikriti, Anthony Howard, British Muslim Initiative, Clare Short, David Cole, Editor Al Quds Al-Arabi, Inside Story, Iraq, Iraq war inquiry, John Rentoul, Shuli Ghosh, Sir John Chilcot, Tony Blair, video, war crimes, war criminal, youtube, YouTube video