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Monday, 23 November 2009

Clang of cell door a step closer for Blair

Sir John Chilcot will formally start his inquiry tomorrow, on terms of reference which exceed the narrow non-judgemental remit wanted by Brown's government. At some time before the election, Blair himself will be called to give evidence. A year ago, observers poo-poohed the idea of Blair ever facing legal charges over his lies and deceptions, but notes of uncertainty are creeping in.

The leaking over the weekend of detailed evidence from senior military officers and others that directly contradicts the mendacious assurances given by Blair to the Commons are damaging beyond doubt. And there will be more of the same to come.

I've just read Robert Harris' 'The Ghost' in which Blair - Adam Lang in the novel - faces war crimes charges from the International Criminal Court; the Jack Straw / Peter Hain character who eventually leaked the killer document demands remorsefully;
'Name me one decision Adam Lang took that wasn't in the interests of the US' .. He held up his thumb. 'One: Deployment of British troops to the Middle East, against the advice of just about every senior commander in our armed forces and all of our ambassadors who know the region. Two' - up went his right index finger - ' complete failure to demand any kind of quid pro quo from the White House in terms of reconstruction contracts for British firms or anything else. Three: Unwavering support for US policy in the Middle East, even when it's patently crazy for us to set ourselves against the entire Arab world. Four: The stationing of an American missile defence system on British soil that does absolutely nothing for our security - in fact the complete opposite: it makes us a more obvious target for a first strike - and can only provide protection for the US. Five: The purchase for fifty billion dollars of an American nuclear missile system that we call independent but which we wouldn't even be able to fire without US approval, thus binding his successors to another twenty years of subservience to Washington over defence policy. Six: A treaty that alows the US to extradite our citizens to America, but doesn't allow us to do the same to theirs. Seven: Collusion in the illegal kidnapping, torture, imprisonment and even murder of our own citizens. Eight: A consistent record of sacking any minister - I speak with experience here - who is less than one hundred per cent supportive of the alliance with the United States ..'
In the novel Blair faces exile in the US, one of the few nations that hasn't signed up to the ICC and its extradition arrangements. I won't give any more away - except that Harris captures with absolute accuracy Blair's reaction on the news of the ICC charges. Well worth a read.

With no EU post to protect him, and his co-conspirators facing losing power next year, with no diminution of the British public's appetite for a trial to bring 'closure' to this disastrous episode, and with evidence increasingly emerging, Blair has every reason to feel nervous.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

The public's appetite for a trial?

Where do you see this appetite? I don't hear any such clamour, but maybe I don't read the right newspapers.

I think that the further this episode slips into the distant past (in Harold Wilson terms, of course), the less people will care about it. Blair is history; possibly soon Labour will be history, for a while at least. The Iraq war is definitely history.

I just don't see this going anywhere except the long grass.

And if we start prosecuting politicians for their "lies and deception" - much as I would like to see that - wherever would it end?

sean lynch said...

I agree with W.Y. it is something that will never happen, it is not the way of the world to punish those that really deserve it.
Maybe that is why there is a simmering resentment in intelligent prisoners inside for relatively petty crimes that the real criminals are on the outside !