Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Destruction of Tony Blair...or Maybe Not: Chilcot Inquiry Fails to Nail?

The Brit leadership was determined to bring former Prime Minister Tony Blair to his knees for his alliance with President G. W. Bush and the Iraq War. The Chilocot Inquiry failed to nail. See a video below.

I think you'll enjoy the following commentary from two British journalists. While you are reading, keep the Oil for Food scandal in the back of your mind, which would have strengthened the alliance against Iraq, gotten us out quicker and easier - had we had the help and willingness of world leaders involved in the scandal - especially France.

Remember the ignored, and worthless UN sanctions against Saddam Hussein.

As time passes, we forget the intense belief that Saddam has WMD. Remember the words of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Senators Harry Reid, John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and others, as well as Bill Clinton - in full support of entering Iraq because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Remember John McCain saying "Every intelligence agency in the world believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction...." To this day, we do not know the truth about WMD.

From The Guardian's Jackie Ashley: 

The body language said it all. Tony Blair began his day at the Chilcot inquiry visibly strained, even shaking, according to one television channel, which focused on his hands. There was none of the easy charm that we remember from his days as prime minister and he meekly accepted the constant interruptions from the panel, who started off determined not let him drone on for too long.

But by the afternoon, the old Blair had resurfaced. His answers became longer, his head was held higher, and he appeared in control of the situation. The reason was simple: the inquiry members had failed to nail him on the central issue of their quest – why had he taken the country to war when the attorney general's advice had been lukewarm at least, on the legality of such action?

The key point came early in the afternoon. The former attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, had told the inquiry that he believed individual states, not just the United Nations, could declare Iraq to be in breach of Resolution 1441. So Lord Goldsmith has asked Tony Blair if he considered this were the case, and only after getting an answer in the affirmative did he change his legal advice. To an extent, Goldsmith was laying responsibility for the legal decision with Blair, while Blair claimed it lay with Goldsmith. Yet the inquiry failed to follow up this line of questioning.

By mid-afternoon the former prime minister knew he had escaped. The remaining questions about post-invasion planning were never going to trouble him. It was just like watching Blair at prime minister's questions, swatting away his inquisitors, absolutely certain he was right. He may have had some sleepless nights ahead of today's appearance but he didn't need to lose a wink.
From The Guardian's Simon Jenkins:
This was the big one. Yet as we sat down to the climax of the Chilcot inquiry, in walked a ghost. Its muscles were taut, its eyes bloodshot, its tan implausible, its mouth unsmiling. The hand visibly shook when pouring water. Tony Blair looked awful.

Outside they were chanting war criminal and liar. Blair had been smuggled in through the Queen Elizabeth II centre's "prisoner's entrance". The man who once "stopped the traffic" dared not try again. Sir John Chilcot might incant "this is not a trial," but you could have fooled us.

Then the extraordinary happened. Sir Roderic Lyne mumbled an interminable opening question about sanctions and containment. The face relaxed. The body did not squirm. The hands moved and the room was treated to the spectacle of Blair's ghost coming to life.
Slowly he established dominance and it was Chilcot and his colleagues who took on a hunted look. Within an hour they were listening mute to a seminar on neoconservatism for slow learners.

The former prime minister's case had already been stated by his two trusted aides, Alastair Campbell and Lord Goldsmith. This was that the pre-war evidence on Saddam and his weapons was compelling at the time. The dodgy dossiers were not sexed up. The case in international law would have been strengthened "politically" by a second UN resolution, but was legally robust....

Blair's self-assurance was extraordinary. He deployed sincerity and sweet reason. None of the bullet questions touched him. When asked to comment on the "beyond doubt" foreword to the dodgy September dossier, he confided with a smile: "I did believe it – frankly beyond doubt."...

Then came the sting in the tail. Chilcot repeated his opening question: why really did we invade Iraq and why in March 2003? The honest answer was that Bush was going and Blair wanted to come along too. But his egoism got the better of him. It was all his decision.

"I never regarded September 11 as an attack on America. I regarded it as an attack on us, and I had said we stand shoulder to shoulder with them [Americans]. We did in Afghanistan and I was determined to do that again."

Congress and Tony Blair Supports Invading Iraq (video)

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton