‘Tony Blair apologises over Iraq War’, read the headline. What war was that? I remember an unjustified invasion and large-scale destruction of a non-threatening country by the mighty United States and its poodle ally led by Brit Tony Blah. Turned out that was the one they were talking about.
Well, that quibble aside, did the guy actually apologise? Depends how you look at it. In an interview with CNN, the former war-monger-turned Roman Catholic is quoted as saying:
“I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.”
“I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”
Asked by host Fareed Zakaria if the Iraq War was “the principal cause” of the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), he was reported to have conceded: “I think there are elements of truth in that.”
So, there you have it. Twelve years on, one of the prime perpetrators of that dreadful outrage against humanity admits that the whole business was a f**k-up . . . except that he clings to the straw of belief that Saddam Hussein deserved to go.
Apart from that, how do understand those weasel words? ‘I apologise for the fact that (unspecified) underlings gave me incorrect information which I, in my innocence, accepted without question.’ He neglects to mention that the invasion was launched in spite of United Nations’ repeated assurances that they could find no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Whatever happened to ‘The buck stops here’? If not at the Prime Minister’s desk, then where?
And then, not only did we go to war on the basis of ‘wrong intelligence’, we also made mistakes in planning, including failure to seriously consider what would happen after Saddam was ‘removed’. For which I apologise!!!
And what, I wonder, are the ‘elements of truth’ in the proposition that the Iraq war/invasion was ‘the principal cause’ of the rise of ISIS? If you object to the word ‘principal’ here, Tone, why don’t you say so?
So what are the consequences for a leader of the free world who led his country into a war more than 5,000 km from its own shores on the basis of faulty intelligence? A war which cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, shattered that country’s infra-structure, and created fertile ground for the growth of ISIS – a mysterious military force now being offered as excuse for further invasion of the region?
According to a report in the UK’s Telegraph, Tony Blair’s fortune now stands at ‘a staggering £60 million’, which includes ‘a property empire covering some ten homes across England and worth in excess of £25 million’.
Not surprisingly, he has plenty of unscrupulous followers who are prepared to pay the former Labour Party prime minister as much as £200,000 for a single speaking engagement in the hopes of learning the secret of his success.
Earlier this year, Britain’s Independent reported that ‘Blair pulled out of addressing The World Hunger Forum in Stockholm because his £330k price tag for turning up and talking just couldn’t be met.’ The World Hunger Forum!!
I couldn’t find more recent figures to confirm if he’s still getting it, but five years after stepping down as PM, in 2012, and in spite of his personal wealth, Blair was receiving income and expenses from the British tax-payer to the tune of £435,000 a year.
Clearly none of the foregoing counts as sin in the Roman Catholic Church, who accepted Blair into its fold in 2007. Apparently Blair saw common ground ‘in seeking this path of truth, lit by God’s love and paved by God’s grace’ – and no lightning bolt from the blue struck him dead on the spot!
That must be one of the most convincing arguments I’ve heard in support of atheism for a long time. Richard Dorkins, are you listening?