Tony Benn on Tony Blair: “I’m not in favour of a war crimes tribunal”

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    22nd September 2010

    Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’

    Phew! That’s a relief!

    Tony Benn, elder statesman of the British Labour party, and leading light of the Stop The War Coalition has been interviewed at length by the US station, ‘Democracy Now’. (video and audio)

    ‘Democracy Now’ describes itself as “a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 850 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S.”

    Mr Benn has this to say on Tony Blair:

    “He Will Have to Live ’Til the Day He Dies with the Knowledge that He Is Guilty of a War Crime”


    So far, so predictable.  If also so wrong.

    It is true that Tony Blair will live with his part of the responsibility for the repercussions of his decision to join America against the murdering maniac Saddam Hussein. He has said that often. He clearly means it.

    As for living with guilt over so-called “war crimes” – I realise it’s a toughy for the judgemental to deal with, but the only “guilt” Mr Blair has to live with is the guilt of over-estimating the political nous of such as Mr Benn and for misjudging their limited attachment to democracy. “Democracy Now” maybe, but not necessarily in Iraq, goes their interestingly muted mantra for freedom.

    Of course Tony Benn is not alone in “knowing” the rightness or wrongness of the Iraq decision.

    One of the intriguing aspects of commonality that some of the Judgemental share is an innate inability to listen, understand or even consider the views of others. Mr Blair has pointed at this shared irresponsibility in his book when he asks that people just try to accept that there IS at least the possibility that his view was right and theirs wrong.

    But still the know-alls know all and let us all know they know.

    For instance, there was this the other day from Carla Carlisle at her Country Life blog:

    “In the same week that the last American combat troops left Iraq, ending the war that cast Mr Blair into a historical tragedy that he will spend four chapters and the rest of his life trying to defend, his book came out in Britain, France, Germany (Mein Weg: Autobiographie) and the USA (A Journey: My Political Life), beside the Kindle edition and audio CD (abridged) read by the author. What a feat of planning. What a triumph of logistics and timing. It makes you that if publishers had been in charge of organising Iraq after the invasion, they would have known the terrain, have foreseen the need for translators and Arab speakers.”

    Ahhh, sarcasm – the last bastion of the biased. I suppose she’d rather Mr Blair had only skimmed over the issue of Iraq – you know a paragraph or several, written with facile incomplete dexterity, in the way so loved by his opponents?

    A friend of mine submitted a comment to her blog. Oddly, enough – perhaps she’s abroad and doesn’t have her laptop – his comment hasn’t appeared.

    So, I thought I’d paste it here, just to be helpful:

    “Sanctimonious claptrap!
    The disturbing features of the Iraq war you particularly draw attention to were the responsibility of the United States, not Blair. Without his restraining influence the situation could have been much worse, given that the Americans would have gone in regardless..
    Who benefited from the war? Well it’s interesting to note that public opinion polls taken at the height of the insurgency showed a good majority of Iraqis in favour of Saddam being overthrown despite the the hardships which ensued. (I can give you the links if you ask nicely). Maybe they attach more importance to being liberated from a tyrant and living in a democratic state than you seem to do.
    The civilian casualties? Most of these were caused by Al-Qaeda and their allies going for the softest of targets that are almost impossible defend. No doubt if they hadn’t been tied down in Iraq, many more of them would have been released to do their dirty work in other countries, including our own.
    Tony Blair looking like a haunted man on the cover of his book? Well he looked pretty chipper to me in those related interviews. Might have had something to do with the fact that the book is selling so well to help all those wounded soldiers your heart is bleeding for. Not to mention the fact that he always commands a huge, appreciative audience and is feted all over world for his charity work and his contribution to freedom.
    Yes he may be regarded as an exile in this country thanks to the poison spread by the malevolent media and people like you. But this has become a very small, mean-spirited nation or at least the chattering classes, who claim to represent it, have. So I don’t think that Mr Blair is too fussed about what they think. (particularly when they still seem to hang on his every word).
    His legacy?  Making the Labour Party electable, winning three elections, restoring our public services, advancing the lot of women, families, gays and pensioners, bringing peace to Northern Ireland, changing the terms of political debate in this country, standing up to tyrants all over the world where lesser mortals fear to tread, etc. etc.. Looks pretty good to me.
    Common decency demands that we reflect on all these achievements before putting in the boot so freely”

    Well said, so better ignored, eh Ms Carlisle?

    Ms Carlisle, like Mr Benn and the previous post’s hanger-in-chief Arthur Kemp, shouldn’t be too concerned about Truth Being Out!

    Those of us who believe in the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will make sure it is.

    Back to top

    Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’



    Benn on Blair’s setting up of a “New political party” (You’re getting there, Mr Benn.  Slowly, and not wholly accurately, but you’re getting there nonetheless.  Give it another five years and it’ll be all over your website.)

    For the technically quick-off-the-mark among you, Tony Benn’s website seems to be taking some time to be updated. It says there – “This website is currently unavailable at it is being completely redesigned to add new content during 2005. Thank for your patience”


    There’s nothing like being sharp off the block with the action and diagnosis of the facts. And Mr Benn, like his website, is nothing like.


    Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here

    Recent comments:

    “Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the priviledge of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”

    AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”

    AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is a honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”

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    2 Responses to “Tony Benn on Tony Blair: “I’m not in favour of a war crimes tribunal””

    1. Julie Says:

      He’s not in favour of a war crimes tribunal aka. He knows TB would never be convicted because he is innocent. There’s no other explanation considering that Benn accuses him of something he doesn’t want TB to stand trial for. Impressive logic-NOT

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Quite, J. And Benn in the usual self-righteous and oh so generous way typical of his type says in the interview, with reference to the Nuremberg Tribunals, that Blair was NOT the only figure involved in the Iraq war decision.

        Well, since we ALL know that already, he may be (gently) encouraging the anti-war mob in the USA to pursue Bush before WE Brits sacrifice one of ours. It’s an anti-Powerful America thing. Very prevalent on the political Left here.

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