Lefties – stop chasing the Chilcot farce


2:33 pm - January 28th 2010

by Flying Rodent    


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I haven’t been paying too much attention to the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry, largely because I’m cynically assuming it’s going to return a verdict of Whoops, 100% Accidental Bloodbath, Tut-Tut.

I am, however, loving the reactions it’s bringing out around the internet.

Twittering anti-war lefty types seem to veer from cold suspicion to outbursts of wild optimism every time generic civil servant (x) makes a vague admission that yes, the case for war may possibly have been full of bullshit.

Why this should be, I have no idea. Obviously the case for war was crammed to bursting with bullshit, bulging and groaning at the seams. Hilariously though, this inquiry marks at least the third time that the British state has told the anti-war left that the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary, and the third instance of enthusiastic, puppy-eyed lefties saying Really? Surely not, rushing off to check the OED.

I imagine that Chilcot will cast Tony Blair as a shifty, pompous, dishonest twerp who sent the armed forces into a boiling disaster, much as an inquiry into Myra Hindley’s behaviour would probably raise doubts over her suitability for childminding duties. Sadly, the chances of it finding criminal culpability in the former PM’s aggressive warmaking are somewhere between jack and shit, and Jack just nipped into Ladbrokes to put a whopping great bet on a whitewash.

I guess this is my point – the question of the war’s legality is an enticing carrot for anti-war types to chase in perpetuity. I’m working on the assumption that for some, a fiery official condemnation would prove them right once and for all and force the nation to face reality, as if the last seven years weren’t quite real enough.

Whether Chilcot nails Blair’s balls to the floor or not, the war’s defenders are not about to throw up their hands in horror and join in the massive bout of Bodysnatchers-style finger-pointing and howling. There will be no Thank you protestors for being right about this epic clusterfuck after-show party.

A sizeable number of the war’s cheerleaders have cheerfully blown off its horrific consequences, from the Iraqi insurgents’ bloodbaths, through the sectarian death squads and the ensuing civil war and micro-partitioning of the country, by waving their hands and chanting the magical exculpatory incantation, Al-Qaeda terrorists ate our homework!

These people would rather cram their scrotums down their own throats than give an inch to Chilcot, and the odds of say, the Times, running a Sorry we fed you all lies editorial are woeful.

Further, regardless of the outcome, the former PM isn’t going to be clapped in irons, chained to a heavy radiator and thrown into the Thames. He’s going to continue shambling around the world jamming great fistfuls of dollars into his pockets in the full glare of the public eye.

No, the only service the inquiry can perform is to utterly expose the lunacy at the heart of our decision to join the Americans in their deranged Iraq enterprise, and to make sure the lesson is drummed into the public one more time, hard enough to prevent even partial repeats. Here’s a brief recap of exactly how we wound up taking part…

Let’s recall that the Americans invaded Iraq to fend off Iraqi aggression.

I’ll write that again, for clarity. The United States – the world’s only remaining superpower, with a defence budget of five hundred billion dollars per annum – invaded the castrated, two-soldiers-in-a-Fiat-Panda dictatorship of Iraq in self-defence.

Now, I can already hear the objections about Tony Blair’s humanitarian agenda, but none of that matters at all. Tony wasn’t in charge – the US was deploying the most terrifying military machine in history, and made it clear they could squash the Iraqi military like an asthmatic beetle without our help.

This was the Bush White House’s war, and they wouldn’t start babbling about painting schools and helping those poor women vote until the collapse of Iraq had turned the country into the Hammer House of Horror. Their justifications were the terrifying, anthrax-filled model planes that Saddam might use to genocide Dogdick, Alabama and those awful mushroom clouds that would be shaped like smoking guns, or whatever.

And the plan? The plan went like this – Invade Iraq = Freedom!

You know when you’ve got a suitcase that’s so full you can’t shut it, and you wedge everything down and shove a fork through the zipper and pull to no avail, and eventually two of your mates have to sit on the damn thing until you eventually get the bulging, straining case shut?

That is just how full of bullshit the case for war was.

The Americans were standing, pumped-up and raring to dive into the new Vietnam they’ve been looking for ever since they fled the original with their tails between their legs, loudly bellowing that they would totally have kicked those skinny pyjama guys asses, if their buddies hadn’t stopped them…

…And the former Prime Minister looked at this situation and thought, This looks like the kind of ultraviolent dipshit escapade I could really get my teeth into!

So there’s your one and only question for the PM on Friday – What the hell were you thinking, numbnuts?

Of course, we know the answer to that one, but I don’t think it’ll do the country any harm to hear Tony Blair spell out his reasoning, one more time.

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Flying Rodent is a regular contributor and blogs more often at: Between the Hammer and the Anvil. He is also on Twitter.
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Reader comments


Excellent and well written, Rodent.

Agree with every word.

Presumably your view of the current atrocity in Afghanistan is similar?

How true, how very frakkin’ true.

3. J Alfred Prufrock

This is brilliant, congrats.

Whilst your analysis is probably correct – it’s a crock – we must never give up hope that justice will be done.

Don’t forget this war is still ongoing (because it’s 2 wars), in fact today’s reports indicate it will require UK forces for another 10 years. This country brought down the mighty superpower of USSR when they were at their peak – what do the people of Afghanistan have to fear from the feeble coalition of the willing (or coallition of fools as I like to refer to them).

We will see the cracks appearing, already there are splits across forces families, understandably some are forced to cling on to the hope this war was started for the right reasons – otherwise they will have to face the harsh fact that their relatives were sent to their deaths for nothing other than greed and self indulgence.
Already many forces families have faced up to this and are speaking out – it will be them that brings this matter to a head – protesters like myself can be ignored and discredited by the media as the ‘great unwashed unemployed hippies’ – despite the fact I have worked since I was 16, shower at least twice a day and am within a hairs breadth of being completely bald.

I shall be there tomorrow – all we can do is keep the pressure on – we need to hound Blair out of this country so that no future prime minister thinks he can do the same.

Holland looked into the legal aspect of this war and found it was illegal – Lord Goldsmith is in a minority of legal advisors who think it wasn’t. It seems clear that the Government now sees the law as a ‘choice’ – so don’t be too surprised when it’s citizens start applying the same logic.

I was and am opposed to the invasion of Iraq but I don’t own up to being a “leftie”.

This is not a matter of any special contradiction: old and wiser Conservative ex-ministers – such as Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind, Kenneth Clarke and Edward Leigh – opposed the war too.

As for civil servants who advised that the invasion was illegal absent another UN resolution specifically sanctioning the invasion on 20 March 2003, ministers are under no constitutional imperative to follow the advice of civil servants.

I make this point because Rt Hon Denis MacShane MP, minister for Europe in the Foreign Office in March 2003, has made a big issue of the fact that only one civil servant resigned, namely Elizabeth Wilmhurst, the deputy to the chief legal adviser in the Foreign Office at the time of the invasion:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/mar/22/uk.iraq

Generic civil servants are mostly aware that ministers are not obliged to follow the advice of mere civil servants but then the resident motto of the civil service is: Speak Truth Unto Power

Cheers, guys.

Admins – three paragraphs have been edited out here that tie the “Chilcot is bullshit” part to the “Iraq invasion was bullshit” argument. Can they be reinstated? Without them, this sudden shift to the latter is like a cricket bat round the ear.

That’d be the text from “the only service the inquiry can perform…” to “I’ll write that again, for clarity”. I fully understand if the bit about chucking Blair into the Thames needs to be edited out for legal reasons.

One of the interesting things about the inquiry is further confirmation of Labour’s apparent willingness to do something that is plainly unlawful in order to do something expedient or what-they-think-is-right (being kind) – and so much the better if the ultimate outcomes can be blame-shifted (e.g. courts are blamed for unlawfully detained suspects being released, rather than the authorities for unlawfully holding the suspects in the first place).

Sir Michael Wood, Downing Street’s chief legal adviser, claims that Straw took the view that “when he had been at the Home Office, he had often been advised things were unlawful but he had gone ahead anyway and won in the courts.”

This seems symptomatic of Labour over the past 12 years. And of course they haven’t always won in the courts. Examples include (but are not limited to): control order obligations plainly constituting unlawful deprivation of liberty; the case of Youssef and other Egyptians due to be deported to Egypt; the collection and retention of samples for the National DNA database; people-suspected-of-terrorism’s assets being frozen; changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme; the case of the unlawfullly detained SK.

Labour has demonstrated little to no regard for the rule of law.

@7 ukliberty: My interpretation of FlyingRodent’s argument is that we should not spend time analysing the Chilcot inquiry. Those who opposed the war and those who supported it will find comfort and material for ad nauseam debates.

The next time — and it will happen, not necessarily a war — we need to chop off the offending politicians’ heads and toss them into the local canal. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I am delighted that the National ID card scheme is descending into shambles. But “we” didn’t cause its demise; economic imperative has forced the government to recognise that National ID serves a populist argument that is unaffordable when you have to count your tax pennies.

“We” didn’t kill National ID; it just died owing to recession. Even if the money to pay for it had been available, “we” should have killed it. “We” failed.

And if the Chilcot inquiry determines that the UK government sent troops to an illegal war, “we” failed. There are no retrospective pats on the back for winning the argument too late.

One of the interesting things about the inquiry is further confirmation of Labour’s apparent willingness to do something that is plainly unlawful in order to do something expedient or what-they-think-is-right (being kind)

With respect, this is plainly the least interesting thing about the inquiry.

The only interesting thing about Chilcot so far has been our self-defeating and ridiculous willingness to play the government at their own game, which from the first has been to hurl so much legal, moralistic and scaremongering bullshit at the press they can’t resist reporting it.

Everything Chilcot is looking at is diversionary shite – resolution 1441, the dodgy dossiers, the ludicrously inflated intelligence reports. The government has an infinite array of mendacious lawyers, earnest civil servants and fallacious legal arguments to throw at the inquiry – that’s why they acceded to these inquiries in the first place. If an inquiry had a chance of penetrating the miasma of bullshit, there would be no inquiry.

The reason why is this – here’s the situation before the war. The Bush administration – a lolloping gaggle of belligerent, academic closet cases and aristocratic oil men, supported by the undead cast of Iran-Contra: The Musical have decided to invade Iraq for reasons that make no sense whatsoever.

They are absolutely, 100% invading no matter how many of their see-through inventions about WMDs are shot down, and when they do they are going to blow that shit up as telegenically as possible, but – since they’re morons – they have nothing but feeble, feelgood We’re here to get the bad guys rhetoric and shit-eating grins by way of a plan. This situation screams VIETNAM PART TWO: THE HORROR, THE HORROR in sixty-foot-tall neon letters, and the only reason why a lot of good folk can’t see it is that they’ve allowed themselves to be wound up by a lot of scaremongering lies and half-assed humanitarian waffle.

This is the situation Blair finds himself in – do we commit our troops to a walk-on part in this totally obvious and imminent catastrophe? Is it in the national interest to swallow this utter, utter shit about anthraxing model planes and mushroom clouds?

Our prime ministers in the sixties looked at Vietnam, declared it an insane, pointless and murderous bloodbath, and kept us out of the conflict. Tony looked at Iraq and saw… Who the hell knows what? I can only assume he was sniffing glue and smoking crack with Jack Straw when he gave the armed forces the go-ahead for this addle-brained scheme.

This is the point that I’ve been making for years – that it’s the duty of elected officials to keep us the Hell away from the Americans’ cracked and insane plans for transformative violence, because of their obvious unworkability and lunacy.

Feel free to examine all the Chilcot testimony you like, but that’s the narrative you want front and square in the newspapers, the one we should’ve been pushing from day one. Tying ourselves up in the government’s red tape is just trying to win a card game where they own the casino, stack the deck and declare themselves the winners at the end of every hand.

10. the a&e charge nurse

[9] “Tony looked at Iraq and saw…” – OIL, obviously (once we get past all of the cloak & dagger stuff)
http://www.globalpolicy.org/iraq/political-issues-in-iraq/oil-in-iraq.html

I’m sure I’ve read that Bush was hell bent on dominating Iraq well before 9/11?
Perhaps Blair anticipated the fig leaf of invasion would sufficiently mask his real intention which was to secure UK oil interests?

Even the latest Bond films turns on the machinations of corrupt political leaders and shady businessmen who spend much of their time hoodwinking the local populace in order to secure a diminishing resource (water in this case).

Maybe Chilcot should invite representatives from Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total for their take on the invasion?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/oil-giants-return-to-iraq-851036.html

On reflection, FlyingRodent, I think you are spot on.

@10: “I’m sure I’ve read that Bush was hell bent on dominating Iraq well before 9/11?”

Absolutely. Try this:

“CRAWFORD, Texas — Paul O’Neill, President Bush’s Treasury secretary in the first two years of his presidency, says the Bush administration was planning to invade Iraq long before the Sept. 11 attacks and used questionable intelligence to justify the war.”
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-01-11-oneill-iraq_x.htm

@11 ukliberty: What are we going to do next time? Have we learned anything? See point 8 here.

14. organic cheeseboard

rodent is entirely right in this:

Our prime ministers in the sixties looked at Vietnam, declared it an insane, pointless and murderous bloodbath, and kept us out of the conflict. Tony looked at Iraq and saw… Who the hell knows what? I can only assume he was sniffing glue and smoking crack with Jack Straw when he gave the armed forces the go-ahead for this addle-brained scheme.

And what’s even worse is how many people lined up behind what looks like a randomly-picked war – or a war picked based on personal grudges – on ‘humanitarian’ grounds. Saddam was still a tyrant but his crimes against humanity were largely perpetrated when he was our ally. If Blair wanted to sell it as such he could have done so from the beginning, but he didn’t.

The question of ‘why Iraq’ will never get properly answered. If it’s purely to do with anti-fascism and anti-tyranny, as so many people pretend, then there were, and are, far more deserving targets.

@14: “I can only assume he was sniffing glue and smoking crack with Jack Straw when he gave the armed forces the go-ahead for this addle-brained scheme.”

I disagree completely. It wasn’t in the least addle-brained.

Have you not read estimates of the millions Blair has earned in lecture and consultancy fees from the American circuit?

“Not content with the £12 million he has already earned since leaving office, Tony Blair has swelled his astronomical income still further by setting up a consultancy to advise world leaders how to run their affairs.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/4863196/Tony-Blair-sets-up-company-to-advise-world-leaders.html

That is just laughable when we contemplate the black hole in our fiscal affairs going back to 2000, the house-price bubble, what’s happened to housing building in general and to the supply of affordable housing in particular, the increasing inequality in the distributions of wealth and income, the freezing up of social mobility and because less than half 16 year-olds can achieve the benchmark qualification of 5 GCSE subjects at A*-C grades, including maths and English.

Examined dispassionately, Blair’s record of achievement as PM is lamentable.

16. the a&e charge nurse

[14] “The question of ‘why Iraq’ will never get properly answered” – it already has, and convincingly so in my opinion: Blair threw his lot in with Bush, I think it’s that simple.

The history of British exploitation of Iraq during the last 100 years (driven by oil interests) was perhaps a further catalyst.

“Several elements contribute to make the case for an oil war: the enormous, long-term political influence of the oil companies, the close personal ties between the companies and their host governments, the long history of prior conflicts and wars over Iraqi oil, and the enormous potential profitability of the Iraqi fields”.
http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/185/40586.html

(Tony Blair is at the moment trying to justify regime change at the same time as he denies regime change was his objective.)

18. FlyingRodent

The history of British exploitation of Iraq during the last 100 years (driven by oil interests) was perhaps a further catalyst.

I’m in no doubt that oil was a central motivation for various involved players, but I don’t think it really matters whether our intentions were fair or foul. Even if we hit Iraq because we loved it, it’s all totally secondary to the obvious truth that the invasion made absolutely no sense and that it was inevitably destined for total disaster. We certainly didn’t lack precedent to assist us in coming to that conclusion.

Even if it turns out Bush was commanded to invade Iraq by the ghost of Liberace, the starting and finishing point is our involvement in his lunacy and disaster, not his motivation. If a bunch of hysterically religious, right wing Republican fruitcake twunts want to throw their weight around on the other side of the planet, whether in nakedly imperial wheezes or deluded and bloodthirsty humanitarian missions, that’s their problem, and that of the poor sods they’re bombing some civilisation into. We can’t stop them – we can only advise and plead with them, but that’s it.

(Or, you know, we can swallow and repeat their childish propaganda campaigns, lend them credibility by repeating them as if we believed they were even half-true, succumb to a nationwide pant-shitting epidemic in terror of a murderous chump who couldn’t even command his own country, and then hurl thousands of British soldiers into a lunatic’s war without any idea what victory will look like).

Charlieman, I honestly don’t know – I lack competence and some insight (as evidenced in this very thread). But a few thoughts:

Do we fail? Or does our system fail us? Or some combination? I think the latter. I can’t think of a practical, swift and legal way forward. (that’s a failing, I suppose)

1. Just one fifth of the electorate voted for the party that formed the Government (yes, I’m aware of low turnout for previous governments too – it is but an example).

2. I think we do suffer from what Hailsham called an elective dictatorship.

3. I do not like that our representatives will vote for a measure with which they profoundly disagree in order to ‘save’ their government or PM. I think that is a problem.

4. There seems a lack of accountability when our representatives do wrong; expenses are a case in point, unlawful decisions are another (people ought not be able to take unlawful decisions with impunity if they are plainly unlawful), Iraq yet another.

5. When people become our representatives ‘we’ appear to suddenly attribute to them extraordinary degrees of honour, trust, intelligence, competence and so on. Yet they are people just like us.

6. The mainstream media seems too willing to repeat unsubstantiated claims made by anonymous ‘sources’ in the government, security services, or the police etc.

7. Bad Science, Flat Earth News, the Dunning-Kruger paper, and Newswipe, should be required reading and viewing.

20. the a&e charge nurse

[18] “the invasion made absolutely no sense” – looking at Iraq TODAY, I would entirely agree, but perhaps in 20 years time, given the increasingly uncomfortable relationship between natural resources and population growth, surely it is advantageous for the UK to have at least one hand fixed on the prize?

As John Gray claims, “Those who control oil and water will control the world”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/mar/30/fossilfuels.water

The Inquiry is uninteresting because – like all inquiries, it is asking a silly question.

The war was probably illegal and the people who took us into it have been revealed to have gone to amazing lengths to conceal this from themselves. That is diabolical but we surely know all we need to know about it.

However, the thing that makes it far worse is that having decided that a war is necessary both we and the Americans proceeded to fight such a bad one. For a war that was fought on the premise that Saddam Hussein had WMD, it is striking that US/UK forces would not have been very well equipped in the event he had used any.

That is to say – if what the US and UK were saying about Iraq was true then the war might actually have gone very differently. That is, after all, the point of WMD – they make invasions unimaginably costly in military terms. If allied casualties in the first fortnight had run to, say, a third of the ground forces marshalled in neighbouring countries, what would have happened? Would we have given up and gone home? Or nuked Baghdad? What was the contingency plan in this event?

Not questions that are being asked. I’d love to hear military testimony on how many soldiers they thought would have been killed if Saddam had had the weapons that the intelligence estimates claimed they did. Tony believed in the WMD, I’d love someone to ask him how many British soldiers he thought would be killed by them in the invasion. I’d love to know whether he even asked the generals for their estimates.

On the other hand, if TOny didn’t believe in the WMD and the war was being fought to liberate the Iraqis from their undoubtedly vicious dictator then why was reconstruction such an afterthought?

There are few worse sins in a politician than dishonesty but incompetence is surely one of them.

@17: “(Tony Blair is at the moment trying to justify regime change at the same time as he denies regime change was his objective.)”

I’m convinced that having it both ways is an essential part of Blair’s rhetorical technique and, perhaps, the source of his charismatic appeal.

If so, this helps to explain his invocation of “the Third Way” in 1998, which was panned by the serious press as being so vague as to be useless as a policy guide even if Anthony Giddens at the LSE was impressed.

As for that absent sanctioning resolution from the UN in 2003, this is what Blair had said towards the end of his keynote speech to the Chicago Economic Club in April 1999:

“If we want a world ruled by law and by international co-operation then we have to support the UN as its central pillar.”
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/international/jan-june99/blair_doctrine4-23.html

Obviously, Blair believed a UN sanction from the Security Council for the Iraq invasion was important or he wouldn’t have pressed Bush so hard to strive to get one but when such a resolution wasn’t forthcoming, he went on as though that didn’t matter.

If regime change was illegal in international law then it would have to be the threat to Britain’s security from Iraq’s WMD and, as the Butler inquiry found, the 45-minute claim was based on one unproven source but it was mentioned four times in the government’s dossier published on 24 September 2002.

In the end, any pretext would do because Blair wanted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush. IMO among Blair’s motives was a wish to be seen as a great war leader and so show New Labour could run a war as well as Mrs Thatcher ran the Falklands War.

To add to my comment @ 19:

8. Disengagement from mainstream politics, the reasons include:
a. lack of trust;
b. a feeling that parties are only interested in voters at election times (if then! An inquiry into the Scottish elections in 2007 found that “voters were overlooked as the most important stakeholders to be considered at every stage of the election”);
c. the processes of formal democracy don’t offer enough influence over political decisions – this includes party members who feel they have no say in policy-making and are increasingly disaffected;
d. the main political parties are widely perceived to be too similar and lacking in principle (part of this may be due to ‘the major problems having been solved’ as has been suggested on LibCon and elsewhere before);
e. the electoral system is widely perceived as leading to unequal and wasted votes;
f. political parties and elections require citizens to commit to too broad a range of policies;
g. many people feel they lack information or knowledge about formal politics; and,
h. voting procedures are regarded by some as inconvenient and unattractive.

(the solution to decreasing party funding suggested by Labour (e.g. Jack Straw and Hazel Blears) was, of course, taking more money from the public purse, not improving the appeal of the party / attracting new members. Oh, and not allowing minority parties access to this increase…)

24. FlyingRodent

Shorter Chilcot Inquiry: So, Mr. Blair, can you tell us yet again how nasty Saddam was? Really, that nasty, eh? Perhaps you could explain what a profoundly moral and decent human being you are. Yes… Fascinating, amazing. And could you talk us through how unpleasant the September 11th attacks were for the seven thousandth time while pretending that they’re in some way relevant to the matter at hand? …Ahhh, lovely, and not a little sexy. Thank you so, so much, you big hunk of a man, you.

Yes, these jokers are really holding the ex-PM’s nuts to the fire, aren’t they? What a worthwhile exercise this is, truly a testament to the power of our democracy to right injustice.

He might fool the fucks in the league office, but he don’t fool Rodent. This is bush league psyche-out stuff. Laughable, man – ha ha!

What a brilliant post. Best thing i’ve read all week.

“I had to make a decision and, y’know, it’s all well and good looking back and examining it, and it’s important, but, I had to make the decision, and if they could have killed more people on 9/11, they would have, and we can look back at it now, but things changed, and I’d like to just say this, that if we hadn’t removed Saddam, if we had done nothing, what would he be like today, he had used WMDs on his own people, and he would have used them against us, so that’s what I was thinking at the time, and y’know I had to make that decision…”

27. organic cheeseboard

the 9/11 and Iran stuff is pissweak even by his standards.

Just half-heard Chilcot say something along the lines of, “it may have been an expensive lesson but one well worth learning.” What was that in relation to?

29. organic cheeseboard

from tehgraun:

3.21pm: Chilcot asks about the government’s failure to anticipate what might happen in a worst case scenario.

Blair says he did try to “drill down” and investigate these issue.

“In the future you are best to make this kind of assumption … If you are required to go into this kind of situation again, you might as well assume the worst.”

[summarised[ It was always going to be tough. The issue was whether Britain was prepared to engage for the long term.

Blair says this is one of the lessons to be learnt.

Chilcot makes a point about this being a very expensive lesson.

thanks.

All day today, and day after day at the Chilcot inquiry, they go round & around examining the bloody fig leaf. Disarming WMD was only ever the ostensible pretext for war, not the real objective.

All is a charade. Even in the highly unlikely eventuality that Chilcot will arrive at the plain-as-a-pikestaff conclusion that yes the war was illegal, the whole fucking inquiry will probably close without the phrase “world’s last treasure trove of easy oil” having been mentioned once.

Well, there you are – Tony Blair’s final accountability moment. I hope everyone enjoyed watching him sweat under that intense, fellatial inquisition, and is looking forward to tomorrow’s editorials.

See, the second Tony announced that we had to invade Iraq because it was a threat to British and American security, the entire planet should’ve stood up and cried with one voice, What the fuck are you smoking, you madman? They don’t even have a cocking air force, let alone nukes.

No such luck – instead, we opted for a protracted legal squabble over whether article (x), paragraph (y) of whatever permitted (z). Seven years later, here we are with a pile of dead and maimed soldiers, billions down the drain, half the middle east in flames and a civilian bodycount so high we literally have no idea how many were killed… And Tony walking out of the inquiry looking like a statesman.

Slow handclap

34. the a&e charge nurse

The precedent for violence and double-standards from the British government in Iraq has long been established – listen to TB’s rant here (that’s Tony Benn by the way, not the other one)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPL-IaFpcZA&feature=related

Benn’s words seem to have an eerie prescience?

35. the a&e charge nurse

Blimey, this excerpt (from 1990) puts Benn almost on a par with Mystic Meg?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5e5byjOQU8&feature=related

Listen to the unerring accuracy of his first sentence then picture Blair’s fidgety performance earlier today.

Robin Cook’s resignation speech.

Yes where are the men of principle in parliament today. John Smith would have undoubtedly have opposed Iraq too.

Sad and strange how many good men died whilst out for a walk.

Never mind, our Tony Blair stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush and the NeoCons in America and he was invested with the US Medal of Freedom by President Bush:
http://blogs.wsj.com/iainmartin/2010/01/28/of-course-bush-and-blair-share-responsibility-for-continued-violence-in-iraq/

Since retiring from Parliament, Tony Blair has collected £12 million in remuneration on the lecture and consultancy circuits. This is no achievement for someone who wrote a letter to Michael Foot in 1982:

“In the 22-page letter, the 29-year-old Mr Blair tells then Labour leader Michael Foot how reading Marx had ‘irreversibly altered’ his outlook.

“He also praises Tony Benn, agreeing with the left-winger’s analysis that Labour’s right-wing was bankrupt.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/5081798.stm

As they said about President Nixon: “Would you buy a used car from this man?”

38. Shatterface

‘Just half-heard Chilcot say something along the lines of, “it may have been an expensive lesson but one well worth learning.” What was that in relation to?’

Who learned what lesson and who paid for it?

@37 “it may have been an expensive lesson but one well worth learning.” What was that in relation to?’

Don’t invade Iran?

Rodent’s prediction of the case for the defence – Al-Qaeda terrorists ate our homework! – seems to have been spot on. Blair said that ‘people’ did not believe al-Qaeda and Iran would have a destabilising influence post invasion. As this guy put it “The local darts team down the pub could have told him that.”

Larry – spot on. Never mind Al Qaeda – if “people” didn’t believe that Iran would interfere, what the fuck were “people” doing anywhere near military planning for an invasion of a country right next door to Iran, and why haven’t they all been fired?

What would we do if the Iranians invaded Ireland, sit on our hands? You don’t have to fancy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and want his babies to work this stuff out – it’s War 101, in Yankee terms.

Cut my mike here, I’m running out of synonyms for crazy.

The idea that oil companies supported the invasion ignores the issue that oil infrastructure is very vulnerable to attack. An oil installation can be destroyed with a spanner and box of matches – look at Bunsfield . It is very difficult to build and run oil refineries in a civil war- one RPG to puncture a tank and another to ignite the fumes.

Bush and the NeoCons wished to cement American power would be achieved by removing S Hussein. Part of the problem is that when a new
American President wins an election most of the senior advisers are replaced.. Consequently there is little collective wisdom in the White House. When Labour won in 1997 there were very few with any international experience . Thatcher had three close minisisters who had won the MC ( Carrington, Pym and Whitelaw ) in WW2 ; even the Archbishop of Canterbury had won the MC in WW2. Consequently there were people who could advise Thatcher on the horrors of war .Callaghan and Healey had served in WW2. Healey has said that war has taught him that it nevers goes to plan. Chirac had fought with the French army in Algeria.

One of the problems is that there are no politicians in the UK, USA or practically any country who has experience of war and the problems of rebuilding a devastated country. In many ways the inability to plan for the re-construction of Iraq and dealing with the communal violence is bigger disaster than the invasion- the Allies started planning the rebuilding of Germany in 1943 if not earlier.

The fact that Blair expected peace to be maintained in Basra with only a few hundred troops is a massive error of judgement. That no Labour politician considered the massive problems in re-building Iraq is a massive inditement.

The transcript of Blair’s oral evidence.

Bob B is right about having it both ways.

And FlyingRodent is right about people not seeing the wood for the trees.

@37

In the 22-page letter, the 29-year-old Mr Blair tells then Labour leader Michael Foot how reading Marx had ‘irreversibly altered’ his outlook.

He just didn’t tell him it had turned him into a capitalist.

I’d also like your take on Afghanistan because people on both sides do seem to link the two together – they’re either both ‘acceptable’ or ‘appalling’. Granted one was used as an excuse for the other but one happened after what might be interpreted as an ‘act of war’.

I’ll agree that the legality of what happened in Iraq is irrelevant; those who supported action didn’t care about the legal position and neither do those who object. A debate on the rights/wrongs of what’s happening in Afghanistan, which presumably was ‘legal’, would be a lot more honest.


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    Lefties – stop chasing the Chilcot farce http://bit.ly/cNIryn

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    RT libcon Lefties – stop chasing the Chilcot farce http://bit.ly/cNIryn Spot on.

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