Monday, 30 November 2009

The Apologist

Today's witness added nothing to what we had learned from the United Kingdom representative to the United Nations and the United Kingdom ambassador to Washington. Indeed he repeatedly empasized the previous evidence that had been given by those witnesses. Today's witness had a twofold message to deliver: that Blair was not using the United Nations as a propaganda front while he pursued war on Iraq with George W. Bush; and he was not alone in the policy he was pursuing, which was indeed war on Iraq.

Blair's foreign policy adviser may have registered the widespread media distaste for the degradation of our system of government by a prime minister bent on a personal crusade. We were assured that ministers were kept informed of the developing Iraq policy in bi-lateral, small group and officials'-level talks. Those within 'the circle of silence' on the attack upon Iraq policy were consulted and cajoled. Blair was not alone and others must stand with him. Repeatedly we were assured of Blair's conviction that war on Iraq was 'the right thing to do' (what is it with this sanctimonious phrase? Is it some kind of dog whistle?

Disjunction between not just various sectors of government in both the UK and the US was delineated, but there was displayed too disjunction between cause and effect: Saddam was showing attitude to early 1990's United Nations resolutions, therefore Iraq should be invaded and its society pulverised; (this last, pulverisation, was covered in the session section on preparations for post war occupation which, inter alia, carry very specific requirements under international law governing invasion and warmaking by above divisional strength forces - that would be option 3 for the disciplining of Iraq that was put into effect by Blair. These legal requirements were not met by our Forces.) The notion that 2003 was not by any reasonable stretch of political time, immediate post 1991, was covered by the spurious assertion that 2003 was post 9/11 - and this despite Iraq being wholly exonerated from any involvement in 9/11 under UK Foreign Office policy.

So, what we got today was that the Iraq war was a US, supported by the UK, policy (though the question on whether the US positively sought UK involvement or merely allowed Blair to tag along if he so desperately wanted to was side-stepped), and that Blair made sure via the ad hoc groups, bi-lateral discussions and 'presentations' to the general public and to Parliament, that we had all agreed to destroy Iraq.

The other dawning realisation was that Blair's policy (supported unwittingly by the rest of us from ministers, through officials, through Parliament and people) displayed remarkable disloyalty to European partners. We may not wish to remain in the European Union, but while we are there it would have behoved our Prime Minister to act with respect and active co-operation with their policies and wishes. You don't belong to a club and try to exploit its connexion while dissing the membership.

So if Brown, Straw, and whoever are the other few, so very few, survivors of the Brown threat to power scythe, think Tony's going to be tarred as a lone, maverick warmonger, he's given warning: all those bi-lateral chats, that 'transparency and coherence', that' 'unity in policy' are already being referred to.


Bill Quango MP said...

My problem with this Iraq inquiry is that we are told what we already know from Hutton,resigned ministers the media and our own memories.
The only joy is the embarrassment the whole thing causes the government. Blair took the country to war because 'it was the right thing to do.' As you point out a ridiculous phrase that smacks of 'the scientific debate is settled.'
I'm sure he was sincere and felt he had very good reasons and was probably swayed by Cheney's "all be over by Christmas" talk.

But as Harry Palmer said in the Ipcress File

Tony Blair: You know, it's funny... If the WMD had been there, I'd have been... a hero.

Major Dalby: But they weren't. And you're not.

Botogol said...

I am really enjoying your write ups, HG, thanks. Keep it up.

hatfield girl said...

B and Mr Q, (sorry),
never and then never was it 'in my name' but it was our prime minister, our ally, and once, time ago, Iraq was part of an imperial regime under which we owed, as well as took. So in some way it was, and is, because by no means is the suffering over, in my name.

I feel obliged to listen to what we have done; and am obliged to feel all that the listening is bringing home to us.