“A bad day for Tony Blair” by Willy B


    Tony Blair is a sad pathetic excuse for a human being, Even the New York Times acknowledged, yesterday, something that he still refuses to: Iraqis have suffered, and still suffer, enormously from the 2003 invasion and its continuing aftermath. "Widen the lens more broadly over Iraq, and a panorama of suffering that most Iraqis attribute to bad decisions by the United States and Britain comes into view: more than three million people displaced from their homes because of fighting with the Islamic State; cities in rubble; a barely functional government facing a severe financial crisis; Iranian-controlled militias that seem more powerful than the Iraqi Army," the Times reports. "Some Iraqis took a modicum of satisfaction in seeing Mr. Blair, who made a statement on Wednesday in which he said he took "full responsibility" for any mistakes related to the war, called to account for his decisions."
    More Iraqis died in the Sunday suicide bombing in Baghdad than did British soldiers during the entire war, the Times notes. Haidar Sumeri, an Iraqi analyst who made the comparison on Twitter, wrote in an email, "It highlights the degree of irrelevance of Iraqi suffering in the West." He continued: "People see another bombing in Baghdad, roll their eyes, make a comment about how bad it is there and move on. No one really likes to think about how we got here, how we can change the situation or learn from what happened so it doesn't happen again."
    In this regard, the Telegraph says of Blair, "Tony Blair was sorrowful. But he wasn't sorry." Blair apologized for many things, "But he wouldn't apologise for the invasion of Iraq itself. He still believed it had been "the right thing to do". He still believed he would take the same decision again, in the same circumstances, with the same information. And he still believed – still – that the world was a safer place because of what he, and George W Bush, had done. He wasn't sorry for any of that. No matter how sorry he looked. And he did look sorry: sorry in the sense of wretched, miserable, diminished." And Blair's problem is this: "If people don't believe he was honest in taking the country to war, they won't believe he's honest in anything."
    Reuters characterized Blair's two-hour dramatic performance of yesterday as coming down to one message: "Please stop saying I was lying." According to Reuters, Blair was at times contrite and emotional, and at others clearly angry at the way his actions had been portrayed. "If you disagree with me fine, but please stop saying I was lying or I had some sort of dishonest or underhand motive," he said. "'You lied about the intelligence' – that's what people say the whole time," Blair said. "Actually if people are being fair and read the whole report, that allegation should be put to rest, because it's not true and it never was true."
    The Independent was even less charitable. "The former Prime Minister seemed to be emotionally on edge. His voice sometimes appeared to be almost cracking. He was defending something that is very hard to defend, and presenting a version of the story that did not always fit well with reality, or with the findings of yesterday's report." Deep in its coverage the Independent draws from the Chilcot report that Blair told his cabinet members very little about what his real intentions were with respect to Iraq. The whole business of going to the UN to get an "ultimatum" was, itself, just a cover. Privately, "Blair told the US President that he did not believe that the Iraqi dictator would give up his forbidden weapons – and we now know that he could not, because he did not have any. Saddam Hussein's fate was, therefore, sealed in Crawford."
    Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who always opposed the war, was, on the other hand, very apologetic on behalf of the Labour party. "The decision to go to war in Iraq has been a stain on our party and our country," he said, after a private meeting with families who lost members in the war. said Labour MPs who, unlike him, voted for the war "were misled by a small number of leading figures in the Government who were committed to joining the US invasion of Iraq come what may and were none too scrupulous about how they made their case for war". Corbyn declared: "So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003. That apology is owed first of all to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed. They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years."
    Earlier, in the House of Commons, he called the Iraq war  an "act of military aggression, launched on a false pretext" and the "colonial style occupation" that followed led to the rise of ISIS. The Blairites were reportedly very unhappy with his statement. "It was an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext, as the Inquiry accepts, and has long been regarded as illegal by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion," he went on. "It led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of refugees. It devastated Iraq's infrastructure and society. The occupation fostered a lethal sectarianism that turned into a civil war. Instead of protecting security at home or abroad the war fuelled and spread terrorism across the region."
    The one thing he didn't do, and this was a point of disappointment for the families of British military personnel killed in the war, was call for Blair's prosecution.
    David Cameron, however, would not apologize for the war. During a parliamentary debate on the report, Conservative MP John Baron asked: "Will the Prime Minister now do something that no government has done since 2003? "That is, finally and unequivocally, admit that this intervention was both wrong and a mistake." Cameron replied: "I think people should read the report and come to their own c
onclusion. Clearly the aftermath of this conflict was profoundly disastrous in so many ways. I don't move away from that all."
    Baron, some may recall, played a key role in 2013 in preventing a British attack on Syria, which would've been alongside the one that Obama was contemplating.

    Meanwhile, the Bush-Cheney Gang Remains As Deluded As Blair

    GW Bush said, through a spokesman, yesterday, that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. "Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, spokesman Freddy Ford said in a statement, reports the Independent. Furthermore, "President Bush believes we must now find the unity and resolve to stay on the offensive and defeat radical extremism wherever it exists."
    Karl Rove, meanwhile, flatly denied that the war and occupation had anything to do with the chaos that followed. Instead, it was the fault of Obama. He defended the invasion, he defended the war, and he defended both Bush and Blair saying that "The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein." In an interview with The Telegraph, he said the idea that Saddam's removal had unleashed the sectarian violence that gave rise to Isil was "twisting it to the extreme." It was Obama who screwed it up by withdrawing US troops at the end of 2011.  
    The Guardian provides a roundup of other reaction from the US side, the indicates the degree of delusion among these guys. Paul Bremer, the least defensive of the gang, admitted that there was a failure of planning for the aftermath of the invasion. Former Bush speech writer David Frum argued the invasion of Iraq actually offered Iraqis a better future. Whatever [the] West's mistakes: sectarian war was a choice Iraqis made for themselves," he claimed, citing Syria as "proof" of his contention.  David Wurmser, who was a Middle East advisor to Cheney, blamed the sectarian warfare and the terrorism on Syria and Iran (the Saudis, of course, get off scot free).

    No word from Cheney, yet. He's probably still looking for those WMDs.

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61 Responses to “A bad day for Tony Blair” by Willy B

  1. ked says:

    “the Bush-Cheney Gang Remains As Deluded As Blair”
    Not in the least… they were the ones doing the deluding.

  2. Willy B,
    Some years ago, discussing what had gone wrong with the process of government in Britain, a very distinguished ‘old-school’ public servant, Sir Christopher Foster said of Blair:
    “He was the worst prime minister since Lord North, he’s lost us a form of government that creaked and groaned but worked reasonably well.”
    (See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1570357/Christopher-Foster-Why-Britain-is-run-badly.html .)
    This seems to me a grossly unfair judgement. What has Sir Christopher got against Lord North? All he did was lose the American colonies.
    But, bad jokes apart, there is something which is important to remember.
    Yes, Blair was central to the disaster in Iraq, as well as many other disasters.
    However, he is not alone.
    The fact that Chilcot reveals a great deal about the degeneration of British government under ‘New Labour’ about which Sir Christopher was talking must not – repeat must not – be allowed to obscure the fact a great many of those who are now turning on Blair were fully complicit in what he did, and the kind of changes in British society he encouraged.
    It thus becomes convenient for such people to use Blair as a scapegoat.
    And doing so – and also having Dearlove to as it were ‘fall on his sword’, but without causing himself fatal injuries – allows Chilcot to perpetrate what is actually another ‘establishment’ cover-up.
    This must be stopped.

  3. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You might find this interesting – tangent but not irrelevant – I should think:

  4. The Beaver says:

    @ Will
    Both Haidar Suneri and Hayder al-Khoei’s tweets are interesting to read. Hayder has written two successive opinions in the Guardian these past couple of days wrt Blair, Saddam Hussein and Trump.

  5. Jack says:

    The only way the people who were maimed, killed and displaced by this war on false pretenses can receive any solace is by holding all those responsible to account. The only way IMO that can happen is a war crimes tribunal on the model of the Nuremberg trials.
    I know that ain’t gonna happen as long as the Borg is in power. I find it ironic that all the liberals and the left who railed against the lawlessness of the Dubya administration are supportive of the same lawlessness when their team are the perpetrators. If one thought if Dubya was plumbing the depths wait until the Borg Queen ascends the throne.

  6. Edward says:

    “Paul Bremer, the least defensive of the gang, admitted that there was a failure of planning for the aftermath of the invasion”
    Right. Actually, the pentagon developed detailed plans for post-invasion Iraq which was trashed by the White House neocons. Why?

  7. Fredw says:

    Yes, they were deluders about many things at the time. But the delusion being referenced, the similarity to Tony Blair, consists of their complete failure to realize how bad their performance was. I am sure that Blair (or Wolfowitz) could make a case that the middle east status quo was unsustainable and that the middle east would be a bloody mess by now regardless of what we had done. But as an American, I have to notice that we and the Brits didn’t have to be the major actors in that mess. Nothing forced us to undertake impossible projects with breathtaking incompetence and display our limitations for all the world to see. The situation and our policies there were frustrating and sometimes horrible. But we managed to make them worse. And make ourselves weaker in the process.

  8. rakesh wahi says:

    Despite Saddam’s despotism Iraq had the most educated professional women in the Arab world, it was almost a first world economy . No one had heard of Shia sunni schism until we propagandized Sunni triangle etc. A large number of Shia died fighting in the Iran war . Who can contest that we destroyed the place ? and that no matter what Iraq under Saddam was definitely better for Iraqi than this hellhole we have made it

  9. Willy B says:

    Iraq was also among the best in the Arab world on the development of its physical infrastructure, water and power in particular, all of which WE bombed to smithereens in 1991.

  10. Castellio says:

    Web of Deceit was published in 2003 by Vintage, written by Mark Curtis.
    Quoting from the author’s first chapter:
    “… even before the war against Iraq started in March 2003, the Blair government had apparently indulged in at least six specific violations of international law: in conducting without UN authorisation the wars in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia; in the illegal bombing of Iraq in December 1998; in maintaining illegal ‘no fly zones’ over Iraq, a permanent “secret” war; and in maintaining sanctions against Iraq, contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.”
    History will treat the Chilcot Inquiry not as a shocking expose, but as a carefully calibrated cover-up.
    I found the most important lines in Corbyn’s recent response were these:
    “First and foremost, Mr Speaker it would do us all well to remember Robin Cook who stood over there 13 years ago and said in a few hundred words in advance of the tragedy to come what has been confirmed by this report in more than two million words.”
    The succinct truth was available before the event, and it was told loud and clear. The messengers, however, were willfully stifled.

  11. Fred says:

    ” No one had heard of Shia sunni schism”. Not so. The poli-science PHD crowd hadn’t heard of it since religion is so unscientific as is non-pc history. Those who knew the most about ME societies were pushed out or otherwise silenced in the furthering of intellectual conformity that is the PC world of 21st century America.

  12. The Beaver says:

    No one had heard of Shia sunni schism until we propagandized Sunni triangle etc.
    I don’t know whether some remembered the blogger Salam Pax who wrote about his friend Raed “where is Raed?” Well Raed comes from a family where one parent is Sunni and the other one is Shi’a and Man did his family , especially his Mum poked fun at Wolfy and President Bush when the MSM discovered that “schism” in March 2003

  13. ked says:

    to be fair, W was great at self-delusion, & proud of it.

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “…lost us a form of government that creaked and groaned but worked reasonably well.”
    Which could be said in many a place in the world – like pre-1979 Afghanistan.

  15. rjj says:

    wasn’t there also a woman blogger in Baghdad who departed for Syria – can’t remember the year and the blog disappeared. Have been wondering what happened to her.

  16. Croesus says:

    In “The Way of the World,” Ron Suskind devotes quite a number of paragraphs to explaining how Dearlove was involved in information gained from Naji Sabri, “Saddam’s last foreign minister.”
    Paris CIA station chief William Murray, briefed “Bush, Cheney, and Rice” on his access to Sabri, and “they and Langley . . .coughed up an initial payment for the high-ranking Iraqi: $300,000.”
    Sabri said that Saddam was not developing either chemical or nuclear weapons.
    Sabri’s information contradicted Curveball; nevertheless, it was “relayed to Tenet, who delivered it personally to Bush,” who “dismissed the intelligence as disinformation.”
    The CIA, however, was not ready to give up and did more research,
    “What eventually emerged . . . proved to be a serious distortion of Murray’s initial filing. Most strikingly, a new introductory paragraph had been added that claimed not only that Saddam possessed biological and chemical weapons, but that he was “aggressively and covertly developing” nuclear weapons. These assertions . . .were in direct contradiction to . . .Sabri’s disclosures and Murray’s reporting.
    This erroneous report–almost certainly altered under pressure from Washington–was guarded so closely that it was never shown to the teams, at CIA and elsewhere, hurriedly assembling the Octover 2002 NIE on Iraq’s WMD.
    After further manipulation, the report was, however, deemed suitable for our foremost allies. An unsourced version was passed to Sir Richard Dearlove, Britain’s top intelligence official at the time, and he notified Blair. The version of the story Blair heard was a series of square facts divorced from evidence, the first of which concerned Saddam’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons. Blair took this at face value.
    . . .
    [From fall to winter 2002], Murray tried to continue to work [with] Sabri. . . The reports that Murray submitted reaffirming Sabri’s intelligence were met with silence from the White House. . . .
    Sabri’s intelligence was buried, never conveyed to the Pentagon or to Colin Powell sat the State Department. . .”
    Dearlove left his post and by 2004 was master of Pembroke college at Cambridge, where Suskind interviewed him.
    After reporting Dearlove’s narrative of his various attempts at communicating intelligence, at great risk, to Blair and Bush; the Downing Street memo and other third-party attempts to crack open the truth as well as gambits to deflect blame and establish plausible deniability that carried on over several years, Suskind wrote:
    “Dearlove talks . . .about intent, about how the daring mission [that] was an eleventh=hour “attempt to try, as it were, I’d say, to diffuse the whole situation. . . I mean, it was our willingness to put someone in a pretty exposed position, which is a tough, tough thing to do” [in order to obtain intelligence and communicate it quickly to the Bush White House.]
    “Yes, and the mission succeeded. . . .
    “But it seems the Americans were unappreciative of the gift, which arrived in plenty of time to stop, or certainly delay, the invasion.”
    “Whereupon Dearlove arrives at “a fault line, a place he didn’t expect to be a a few minutes before, or maybe ever. Some secrets stay secret, and a few people he knows well probably hoped this would be one of them, a disclosure that refutes countless public statement by duly elected leaders, both American and British, about the serious matter of war. Dearlove is classically educated and well read, a student of history who understands that even tyrants, in dark ages, thought long and hard before committing their men to war, and–as a general rule–were careful about what they cited as the “just cause.” . . .The men fighting and dying deserved to know why. Lie to them, and those soldiers might well turn on the castle, with a few ambitious generals in the lead.”

  17. Ghostship says:

    From Wkipedia:
    On April 9, 2013 she updated her blog with a post “Ten Years On”, in which she said she had moved on from Syria “before the heavy fighting, before it got ugly” and considered herself fortunate. She was a year in another country and moved again to a third Arab country “with the hope that, this time, it’ll stick until … Until when? Even the pessimists aren’t sure anymore. When will things improve? When will be able to live normally? How long will it take?”. She shared reflections on what Iraqis had learned in the ten years since the Fall of Baghdad.[1] There have been no further entries at her blog.
    Her last post can be found at the bottom of the page here:

  18. Ghostship says:

    Back in 2003, I can remember reading posts where the author didn’t realize that Islam was not a homogeneous religion – that there were Shia and Sunni.

  19. jsn says:

    Cheney has always known where the WMD’s are, they’re chambered in his heart.

  20. rakesh wahi says:

    my point is that the two sects had probably the best relationship with each other in the entire west Asia. I am aware that the schism occurred centuries ago – Hussein and so on

  21. sans racines says:

    Yes – I read him right the way through the conflict until he left to live in the States, followed Riverbend also. He was the ‘go to’ source during that time to understand the Mahdi Army, the trade in Thuraya mobile phones and much else. However I already understood via an American I was working with in Europe in 2001, and with whom I watched the events of September 11th unfold on TV, that for some this was not about WMD. As the second plane hit he stated ‘we’re going to hit Afghanistan, and then we’ll take down Saddam’. I expressed my opinion that Saddam didn’t have anything to do with this, and he replied that America had betrayed the Shia in encouraging and then abandoning the uprising following Gulf War I to Saddam’s helicopters, and wanted to settle that score along with the others… so it goes…

  22. James Loughton says:

    I remember following Riverbend back then. She started out reasonably optimistic, but shaken. What a huge crime our government has perpetrated under the guise of liberation.
    I read the results of a reputable firm that did some polling in Iraq regarding Iraqi attitudes toward the US a few months back. 90% of the people under 30 who responded think of the US as an enemy. I would feel the same way if I were they.

  23. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Edward 07 July 2016 at 02:47 PM
    Ah yes. Bremer. Bremer was upfront and honest from the start. Remember this?
    “Bremer estimated a war would be over within four to six weeks but said the process of rebuilding Iraq afterwards is likely to take years.
    “We’re going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We’re going to be running a colony almost,” Bremer said, adding that one of the most important reasons to get more international support before launching a war is to get more help in rebuilding the country afterwards.
    He said businesses must be prepared for the unexpected and must make sure their employees feel secure no matter what crisis befalls the company or country.
    “Over the last 30 years, 80 percent of the terrorist attacks against American targets have been against American businesses,” he said.
    Bremer spoke to city business leaders at a private club downtown at a program hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and Marsh USA Inc.’s local office.
    He said during a press conference after his speech that he thinks a war with Iraq would increase the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States in the short-term but that it would help the nation win the war against terrorism in the long run because of the chance that Iraq could supply weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. ”
    The original much quoted report of Bremer’s comments is here:

  24. michael brenner says:

    I believe that it was State that tried to do some inter-agency planning. Rumsfeld gave an explicit order that NO post-war planning be done by DOD. Much has been made of those State planning books. It was revealed years ago, that they contained little more than rough outlines, organization charts and bits of commentary. This is criminal negligence that is a direct violation of international law which stipulates an occupying power is obliged to care for the safety and welfare of the local population. A “quaint” idea – like the prohibition on torture.

  25. michael brenner says:

    The fundamental truth is that Americans were bent on vengeance – the more destructive the better. We still are. Just follow the media and watch the Republican debates.

  26. HankP says:

    The Beaver –
    I think I’ve mentioned it here, there’s a great documentary called Heavy Metal in Baghdad – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092007/
    The interviews with the Iraqi musicians are fascinating, at one point the bass player (I think) says “Dude, I’m Sunni and my wife is Shia. Nobody cares about that stuff”. I don’t know how common that belief is, but the documentary was very interesting and very different from what I expected. Highly recommended.

  27. Willy B says:

    It’s not quite true there was no planning by DOD. Rumsfeld, through Doug Feith, hired retired Army LTG Jay Garner to be the occupation chief in Iraq about a month before the invasion, and then fired him at the beginning of May 2003 in favor of Bremer, supposedly for incompetent planning, even though he wasn’t around long enough to do much of any planning.

  28. Croesus says:

    vengeance for what?

  29. Brunswick says:

    Garner was going to hold early elections, keep the Iraqi economy the same and “reform” the Iraqi Military, Police and Security Forces.

  30. Barish says:

    I respect the opinions of both on other matters – both Haidar and al-Khoei are fully aware of what type of foot-soldiers make up the “revolution” over in Iraq’s neighbour, Syria. However, reading through al-Khoei’s first piece, a couple things come to mind:
    One, however cruel and deluded in his own right Saddam may have been in his ventures without and within, the main-part of the ventures without, the 8-year long war against the Islamic Republic of Iran, he was encouraged to launch with varying degrees of support from the Gulf, West and the USSR.
    Two, al-Khoei chooses to skim over the impact the economic sanctions imposed after ’91 had on Iraq – do recall the figure of 500,000 dead children as a result of those, as acknowledged by Albright.
    Three, as a dual-citizen living abroad, it comes as no surprise that al-Khoei may not be too good a representative of popular sentiment in Iraq. Further down, James Loughton mentioned that most Iraqis below age 30 view the US as an enemy, which runs counter to his claim in the first Guardian piece that “foreign invaders” would be cut some slack by Iraqis. Doesn’t exclude them disapproving of or outright despising Iraqi political circles as well, but still.

  31. michael brenner says:

    9/11 – obviously

  32. Edward says:

    I think it was the pentagon that developed the post-war plans but I could be wrong. This was something I read about ten years ago and at this point I don’t remember the source.

  33. Edward says:

    This is what I read– that Garner felt there should be elections in Iraq and so was replaced with Bremer.

  34. JMGavin says:

    I have served for 25 years in the US Army, and remain on Active duty.
    Politically, I am a committed Libertarian. I neither supported nor opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq when we started them, as I was more focused on the immediate effect on my family and my unit.
    I am a hard man, not given to endless introspection on how I feel about things. I was raised and then trained to understand that some things just are what they are, no matter how I feel about it.
    Invading Afghanistan and Iraq may or may not have been justified, and that can and will be debated for a generation or three.
    Regardless of why we invaded, the actions and strategy we followed, first through the Bush Presidency, and then through Obama’s turn, were not just wrong. It was evil. We have visited a horror upon these people, a horror that continues to grow and metastasize.
    I don’t care if Tony Blair or George W. Bush agree. President Obama can shift the blame and pretend that he did not play a pivotal role. I know the truth. This truth stains me to the marrow. I did this. I was a part of this. I own this.
    Every time a bomb goes off, every new ISIS atrocity, all that blood, spilled in the sand and dirt. I know I own that. I had a part.
    If you are a citizen of a country which took part in either war, so do you. Stop blaming Blair and Bush. Look in the mirror. Own what we did. Look upon what we have made.
    Every people has the government they deserve, and the foreign policy they tolerate.

  35. turcopolier says:

    We all have a ruck full of that. I have several rucksacks full. DOL pl

  36. turcopolier says:

    The neocon cabal across the government made the collective decision to destroy the Iraqi state and start again from the “Year Zero.” Rumsfeld’s OSD was a perfect vehicle since the US armed forces were occupying Iraq. pl

  37. Cortes says:

    Dr. Kelly’s demise has not been forgotten.
    I am a very (deservedly) humble member of The Dr’s college in Oxford. Some more illustrious members would like to see Bliar at The Hague.

  38. robt willmann says:

    In a citation in the lead article posted above, Karl Rove says that the fault for the mess in Iraq now lies with president Obama, who withdrew the U.S. forces from Iraq in 2012. I have also heard talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say similarly that Obama withdrew U.S. forces from Iraq and that has been the problem. I think also that Donald Trump has said something like that.
    However, Rove, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Trump are either ignorant or lying. Previously, I have linked to the agreement between the U.S. and Iraq done by the George W. Bush (Bush jr.) administration in 2008, signed by Ryan Crocker for the U.S. I have not yet been able to find it today, and the State Department’s search function on its website has not been working today (at least not for me). I think that is where I found a signed copy. I thought I had the link somewhere, but I have not located it either.
    But here is the press release from Bush jr. in which he and Maliki talk about the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Strategic Framework agreement, from December 2008–
    And this is a paper from the Congressional Research Service about the SOFA and congressional oversight. The paper describes the removal of U.S. forces: “The withdrawal is a two-phase process. The first requires the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces from Iraqi cities, villages, and localities no later than June 30, 2009; the second requires the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011”–
    It was Bush jr. and his administration that required that U.S. forces get out by the end of 2011, not Obama.

  39. Dubhaltach says:

    In all of the coverage of this there’s been very little mention of Rupert Murdoch’s role in whipping up support on both sides of the Atlantic for the war.
    This article by the Indpendent is (as far as I know) the only recent examination of the topic. Extract below but the whole thing is worth a read:
    “Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, summed it up in his evidence to the Leveson inquiry – “I’m not sure that the Blair government – or Tony Blair – would have been able to take the British people to war if it hadn’t been for the implacable support provided by the Murdoch papers. There’s no doubt that came from Mr Murdoch himself.”
    Read more
    On one side of the Atlantic, the TV channel Fox News, owned by Murdoch, shot up the ratings as they beat the drum for the Iraq war. By the end of March 2003, they had 5.6 million prime-time viewers, compared with CNN’s 4.4 million. On this side of the ocean, his four newspapers performed a similar function; and that’s not counting all the other titles in the News Corp empire, which rallied round with startling unanimity. One analyst estimated that 175 editors around the world all, happily, shared Murdoch’s enthusiasm for the invasion.
    Few of those who helped to spread this enthusiasm in the UK get a mention in the Chilcot report, yet their collective influence on events was huge. And many of the key players have continued, happily, to work for Murdoch. ”
    Read in full: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/chilcot-inquiry-report-iraq-war-rupert-murdoch-connection-a7125786.html

  40. Poul says:

    A side note to Hayder Al-Shakeri’s “Trump is wrong” article
    One could add the opinion of a Iraqi man whose initiative caused the statue of Saddam Hussein to be toppled in Baghdad, 2003. He had 14 relatives killed by the regime.
    Great hopes for the future in 2003. Now, he longs after the stability under Saddam’s rule.
    Wonder what Hayder Al-Shakeri would say if he had to live in Iraq with the fallout from the war.

  41. Peter in Toronto says:

    So what kind of mechanisms does the US employ to get an entire Labour government in the UK to opt for war, against their own interests? What could they possibly hold above their heads?
    Are they promised some lucrative advising position on in the Carlyle Group?
    Same question goes for Merkel and her compliance in using the German nation as a sponge to soak up the rot from the Syrian and Libyan wars.

  42. Lord Curzon says:

    Not least the Generals in the British Army, who conducted the campaign knowing there had been virtually no planning for Phase 4 ops. My thoughts on our conduct in handing over Basra to the Shi’a militias are unprintable.

  43. Harry says:

    Not all.

  44. Croesus,
    Am I missing something, or does what Dearlove told Susskind directly contradict what he told Chilcot?
    In both cases, a story about Le Carré-style ‘derring do’ is told. In the first, the suggestion is that it produced information which, if heeded, could have have stopped the invasion; in the second, it is that Blair was misinformed, because Dearlove gave him dubious ‘intelligence’ and did not check or correct it when he should have. These versions are not compatible.
    But both Susskind and Chilcot operate on the presumption that Dearlove and others like him are likely to be telling the truth. This is preposterous.
    The appropriate way to approach them might be that an experienced detective might use with a bunch of juvenile delinquents with a badly cobbled together cover story!

  45. Rd. says:

    “Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
    Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
    Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country”
    The fact that these criminals (Bush, cheney, blair,etal) are walking free is not a reflection of their criminality, rather it is the damnation of western elites and political systems failures.
    The only question remaining is, Are the western people willing to sit around till they experience they same fate, if not worse, than that of the germans in 30s and 40s???????

  46. The Beaver says:

    @ Barish
    One thing to note: al-Khoei is a fellow at Chatham House and I believe , after following his tweets and opinions that he is careful and timid in throwing out accusations because he is a frequent visitor to this side of the pond and he has complained that now he is on the SSSS list whenever he is flying to the US.
    I agree with your points and I wanted every SST reader to make their own opinions about those two pieces.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:
  48. Ghostship says:

    I was referring back to immediately after GWB’s Gulf War when there were articles that indicated that the author didn’t know there different sects of Muslim and not what you, Rakesh, wrote above.

  49. michael brenner says:

    This is an example of the collective memory problem. The basic facts are simple. Maliki & Assoc wanted us out. The device they came up with was to demand that the SOFA included a clause that required all Americans (including military) to be subject to Iraqi law – that, in turn, a condition for the accord to be ratified by the Parliament. He knew full well that Washington could not accept this. Therefore: sorry, guys, “Vaya Con Dios!.” David Petraeus, Crocker, and the White House never saw this coming – they thought the Iraqis were just bargaining for better terms. The same old story.
    Obama had no option but to go.

  50. doug says:

    — “No word from Cheney, yet. He’s probably still looking for those WMDs.”
    As much as the WMD and Cheney et al jokes are funny, WMDs were not the prime motivation for taking out Saddam. WMSs were the sales pitch. FUD works. It became increasingly clear to me in late 2002 and early 2003 as the weapons inspectors saw cooperation in Iraq increasing to unparalleled levels resulting in the US and it’s limited coalition ignoring this unpleasantness and having to go forward without even a plurality of support in the UNSC.
    And, of course, the incessant nattering by the press at Rumsfeld’s frequent updates about the status of locating the WMD unicorns. It was “the thing” for the press and quite obviously less than important for Rumsfeld.

  51. doug says:

    Not a day goes by I don’t recall the Gilbert-Goering dialog. As the old lefties used to say: “What is to be done?”

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That conversation is an attempt at absolution of the German people and their collaborators across multiple countries: in Austria, France, Holland, Italy, Romania, Croatia, Hungary, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina and a few others.
    The legal doctrines of Christianity and Islam and what was derived from them leaves the determination of collective guilt, its adjudication, and its just retribution in the hands of God.
    Not so the Romans or many an oriental potentate – be they Muslim or not. The retribution was collective.
    Germans are lucky that their country was not dissolved and they themselves were not dispersed all over the world so as to never be able to reconstitute any Reich.
    Likewise for the Japanese; unfit to rule over foreign people.
    In my opinion.

  53. sans racines says:

    I can understand the vengeance, the crime is that they were steam-rollered into it by being fed fear and half-truths

  54. Fred says:

    “The legal doctrines of Christianity and Islam and what was derived from them leaves the determination of collective guilt, its adjudication, and its just retribution in the hands of God.”
    Points lost on the current secular American left.

  55. doug says:

    Generally, ruling over a foreign people comes to no good end for any country.

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I remember Sabri, a Christian, when he travelled to Iran before US invasion. In Tehran he was told that the war was inevitable and they could do nothing. It was sad to see a decent man so shaken after his meetings with Iranians; he was, I am sure, an Iraqi patriot.
    I hope he an his family are well somewhere.

  57. Ingolf says:

    Blair needed no persuasion. He was gung ho from the start and carried most of his party with him, albeit against substantial resistance.

  58. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the best course of action for US, EU, and Russia is to agree to bring the wars in the Middle East to and end; it would be good for US, for EU, for Russia as well as for the inhabitants of the Middle East.
    Some places, like Afghanistan, have been at war for 36 years, some places only a few. It will be of great help if those wars are ended; be that through rickety cease-fire deals.

  59. LondonBob says:

    Attempt to censure the Blair creature by passing a contempt of parliament motion.

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