Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Iraq: We need to draw a line under this.

The Americans would say we need 'closure'. Since 2003 this has been festering away, claiming one dead scientist, Gilligan's BBC career, and the lives of 178 of our armed forces and several hundred thousand Iraqis.

I know Iraq split the right, and I'm not seeking to re-open those wounds. I was one of those who marched against the war on 15th February 2003. I never believed Blair's spin and lies. Neither did I have any time for the Ba'athists. As time has gone on, it's become clearer that Blair lied to the nation. So far, there's not been enough evidence to put Blair, Hoon, Straw and Irvine in the dock at the International Court, but slowly and surely it's coming.

The Information Tribunal judgement that has ordered the government to release the minutes of Cabinet meetings in March 2003 is critical. Brown will probably appeal to the High Court to resist releasing them, or some heavily censored versions will be released that fail to provide crucial evidence against the Blair cabal.

And I am reassured that smart young lawyers are adding every day to their dossiers that will one day produce an indictment against Blair.

Yes, I'm still angry. I'm angry that he lied to me, took me for a fool, used all the power and panoply of office to dismiss my disbelief, concocted glib justifications and has acted ever since to cover up his sordid crimes.

As William Hague said in support of the disclosure order
The sooner we can learn the lessons of the war the sooner we can apply them. It is imperative to begin an inquiry before memories have faded, emails have been deleted and documents have disappeared.
Apologies to readers who have taken an opposing view - and I won't be harping on about this. But I find even after five years my anger and resentment against Blair is undiminished.


Anonymous said...

Whether one agreed with the war or not, one thing is clear: Tony Blair and the Labour Cabinet deliberately deceived Parliament and the country in order to initiate a war.

The issue of whether the war was morally right or wrong is utterly irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that fraud was committed on a grand scale, fraud that cost the lives (as you point out, R.) of possibly hundreds of thousands of people.

There is no case against having a full public enquiry - and even if you are one of the minority who believe the war was good or right, you still have to face the fact that the war began in lies and illegality and that the liars and criminals must, therefore, face a reckoning.

Entrusted with the greatest responsibility in the pantheon of the British state - the responsibility of making war - the Labour government, led by a man who voted to surrender to the Argentinian junta in 1982 and who decried our defence of our own citizens and territory against the aggression of an unabashedly fascist state, chose to abuse that responsibility, even at the cost of countless human lives, for base political reasons.

There must be a reckoning.

Jock Coats said...

I heard a Radio 4 program some time ago now with someone saying that minutes of meetings as early as April/May 2002 were making it clear that the course was set for regime change on both sides of the Atlantic and officials were being asked to produce evidence that would eventually support such a course. There is lots more evidence to be dug up methinks.

One slight correction to anonymous though - A C L Bliar was only elected in June 1983 I think - how could he have voted in the Falklands debates?

TheFatBigot said...

I believed Blair at the time. His was an argument for war and my gentle nature could not accept that even someone of his already proven dishonesty would lie about such a serious subject.

If, as now seems tolerably clear, he did lie there must be a remedy. Instead the overwhelming likelihood is of an international whitewash.

Anonymous said...

Blair didn't speak in Parliament against the 1982 conflict but he is on record as having opposed it vociferously.

He also famously remarked afterwards that he supposed war always makes prime ministers popular (an utterance that puts into focus his obsession with foreign interventions from Kosovo to Sierra Leone to Iraq...). Of course, in 2007 he announced that he did support the war after all - and his condemnation of Thatcher and the Conservatives went down the memory hole.

The irony of Bliar's pacifism when Conservatives and hawk-like bellicosity when in office was even commented on in 2002 when he was named Parliamentarian of the Year by the Spectator.

Kinderling said...

I thought the sexed up documents of WMD so outlandishly infantile that they were purely meant for the proles.
Because I had already agreed with the invasion of Iraq by America as they and the UK were losing the peace when operating their no-fly zones to protect the Iraqi citizens.
I had not realized that this Government lied all the time as a matter of policy.
I am still unsettled by David Kelly's 'suicide' and Robin Cook's 'heart attack'

Bill Quango MP said...

I thought he was telling the truth.
No, I did.
I reasoned that a very popular leader, who focused group tested every utterance, who supported only the consensus approach, would not launch into a war for no reason.
He had spent 5 years dithering over trivia like Hunting with Hounds and Matrons on wards. If you can cast your mind back, he looked like a man who enjoyed being PM and didn't want to upset anyone at all.

So,why would he risk it all for a conflict unless he was absolutely convinced that there was chemical or nuclear terror attack being planned. A strike on Israel, an assault on Saudi... I mean, why throw away all that carefully made up persona, that media currency that was bringing such great rewards for a pointless war for no good purpose.

I have learnt my lesson. I am more cynical and less believing of any leader.

The Great Simpleton said...

You are right to be angry and although I supported the war I too am angry for 2 reasons; maybe more so than you as I feel like a woman scorned.

Firstly, as I often argued with my son, who was against the war, at times like this you have to trust that a politician transforms into a statesman. Whilst there was always arguments about WMD we had to take the word of our elected leaders at face value.

Secondly, having decided that we needed to go to war it was obvious that we would overpower the Iraqi forces very quickly. The hard part was planning what next and it was obvious that we would have to play a significant role in nation building. That there was no Marsall plan and we let Iraq dissolve into civil war was the war crime IMHO.

The Great Simpleton said...

A disturbing thought occured to me - if the Governement can stall this until the next GE and Labour lose, doesn't that mean that the cabinet papers will be locked away for 30 years?