Tony Blair, right now, is cornered.
At the party conference he admitted the evidence of WMDs turned out to be wrong. He offered in his defence:
(a) “The rest of the international community also believed it” – well, that’s a surprise, considering they ‘believed’ it based on your dossier and political pressure from the US. In other words, this doesn’t absolve you – it’s another thing you must apologise for.
(b) “I believed it to be true.” Suuuuuure you did. Tony, we who opposed the war mostly thought you believed it. We were protesting because you were an idiot to believe it. It was a colossal failure of judgement. Sorry, mate.
(c) “I won’t apologise for removing Saddam.” That’s right. Because the entirety of the Iraq issue is WMDs and removing Saddam.
Tony never believed he was going to war for WMDs. He lied about that. Determinedly and baldly lied.
(That’s a fact, by the way. It came out in the Hutton report, waaaay back in January, that Downing Street had desperately sought to strengthen the dossier before its release. The process of logic leads from this fact inexorably and inevitably to the conclusion that the UK government were, contrary to their claims, not going to war on the basis of WMDs.
I wrote about this back then, and I still haven’t seen it mentioned by anyone but me. The content of the report was of course buried under the spin it got on the left and right in the UK and the US.)
We who opposed the war – also known as “the side that has been proved right”, you’ll note – had doubts about the WMD intelligence from the start. This led us to to look for the real reason for war. Well, we were right about that as well.
Tony Blair lied to the UK and led this country into the current disaster in Iraq, not to mention adding inestimably to the diplomatic legitimacy of George Bush’s squalid little junta. Now he’s dissembling and waffling and hiding and confounding and doing everything he possibly can to avoid dealing with what he did.
He’s stuck in a corner, slowly and carefully performing a PR-structured focus-grouped media-tested step-by-step U-turn, on a schedule that will get him out of this whole situation in time for a general election next year.
In his situation, he has to lie. If he’s honest about Iraq, his whole presidency – whoops! I mean prime ministership – comes crashing down around his ears.
But that’s what he deserves: to fall from grace, spectacularly, hugely, humiliatingly, with all his self-delusions laid bare.
He doesn’t deserve his position as Prime Minister. He has failed the people of the United Kingdom. Worse than that, he has betrayed them.
I have no sympathy for him. I hope the horrible stress he is under now tears his soul apart.
Of course, he’s going to get re-elected. There is no credible alternative.
That’s the saddest thing of all.
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