Comment at end
6th January, 2010
At his Iraq Inquiry Rebuttal Service John Rentoul has this. It takes a swipe at the “war criminal” charges of Blair’s look at the number of dead accusers. This numbers jibe is one of the weaknesses of their (anti-war) cause. By that reckoning, if no-one had died, the war wouldn’t have been ‘illegal’.
See here for further proof of how other ‘leaders’ have been found wanting in recent years, while those who stepped up to the plate have been vilified, especially our former prime minister.
In order to prepare for the big show trial of the pre-election campaign, as scheduled by Gordon Brown, that genius of five-moves-ahead political strategy, namely Tony Blair’s appearance at the Iraq Inquiry, perhaps we should list some of the other former leaders who would be war criminals under the modern definition.
This requires that people died as the indirect but arguably foreseeable consequence of decisions made in pursuit of laudable ends.
Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, arguably a “war of choice”, 1861-65: 620,000 killed (approximate modern consensus).
Clement Attlee (right), Partition of India, 1947: 500,000 killed (median of 14 estimates).
George Bush Sr and John Major, failure to protect the Shia in the Southern Iraq uprising of 1991 after the liberation of Kuwait: at least 60,000 killed (claimed in war crimes trial – of Saddam’s officers – in Baghdad, 2007).
George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton, John Major and others, failure to protect Bosnian Muslims, 1992-95: 100-110,000 killed.
Well, I say laudable ends. Blair (Iraq, 2003-07: c.150,000 killed) was trying to rid the world of a proven and dangerous menace, to liberate the Iraqi people and to spread democracy. What were Major’s excuses?
I also, with all due respect, analysed Major’s contemptible attack on Tony Blair – Pants to you, Sir John Major.
Perhaps Michael White and Denis McShane would like to show their true support for Mr Blair as his appearance at the Iraq Inquiry nears, by signing the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here?
Then again perhaps not. Politics and political writing for most, it seems, have multiple masters.
Why do we need the kind of service that John Rentoul, Julie and myself provide?
Firstly, because others with their own agenda provide such as this: Will Chilcot grill Alastair Campbell?
No report from them on yesterday’s REAL news from the Inquiry which might just be that Tony Blair phoned the British ambassador to Iraq almost daily in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion to give him instructions on stabilising the country. Whatever the so-called Iraq Inquiry Digest feeds its readers, it’s not the unpalatable truth that Blair worked like blazes for stability in Iraq.
Sir William Patey – ambassador from 2005 to 2006 – said that for the first time in his career he had received orders directly from the prime minister. Giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry’s first public hearing of the year today, Patey said that throughout his time in the post he would receive almost daily telephone calls from No 10 urging him to take particular courses of action.
The second reason we need the services of such as Rentoul is this – the background noise. Even in publications which should have higher standards the background wash is simply this – Blair was wrong regarding Iraq).
For instance, “FT reporters” put together this little picture card of ’50 Faces that shaped the decade’. Presumably in no particular order, though they do not explain their ordering. But Blair comes third AFTER Ahmadinejad and Bin-Laden and before Bush. Mighty me! Some positioning. Some brainwashing. Some analysis.
“It was not an easy task. There could easily have been 50 people from each category. So the men and women on our list should be seen as representative of the larger themes of the decade. There are some striking omissions, because we felt that a historic event or trend had been captured by someone already on our list. Why no Saddam Hussein? Surely Iraq, and the overthrow of its ruler, has been one of the stories of the decade? Ultimately, we felt that the Iraq war was encapsulated by the two western politicians who did most to create it: George W Bush and Tony Blair.”
Only ONE commenter attempted to put them right on this:
beporteous | January 3 5:10pm | Permalink
‘I wasn’t sure I was reading the right Financial Times there for a minute. Surely to be consistent the introduction should have read “Ultimately, we felt that the Iraq war was encapsulated by the two western politicians who did most to create the overthrow of Saddam Hussein: George W Bush and Tony Blair.”‘
Watch real-time screening of the Iraq Inquiry here
Roll up, roll up – It COULD BE YOU! Win your front row seat for the hanging and flogging of the decade – Tony Blair appears in chains, sackcloth and ashes… etc etc…
- All Links to the Iraq Inquiry Evidence Sessions: Witnesses
- All links to “THE TRIAL OF TONY BLAIR” posts
Tags: Attlee, ballot for Inquiry Blair, Bill Clinton, Chilcot, FT 50 faces decade, General Sir Peter Wall, George Bush Snr, George W Bush, Iraq inquiry, john major, John Rentoul, Jon Day, Julie's Thinktank, Lincoln, Sir William Patey, Tony Blair, witnesses