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Chilcot report – Blair’s bad week

Written By: - Date published: 10:02 am, July 5th, 2016 - 44 comments
Categories: iraq, uk politics, war - Tags: , , ,

It’s interesting how much the shadow of Tony Blair still hangs over British politics. He’d still often quoted on events of the day (e.g. here arguing to slow the rush to Brexit), and still obviously popular with many Labour Party MPs. But he’s having a bad week. Even before its release the Chilcot report is drawing attention to the hubristic warmongering that will forever stain his time in office:

Tony Blair faces calls for impeachment on release of Chilcot report

Labour and SNP figures consider legal action against former PM to ban him from office over role in Iraq war

Senior figures from Labour and the Scottish National party are considering calls for legal action against Tony Blair if the former prime minister faces severe criticisms from the long-awaited inquiry into the war in Iraq.

A number of MPs led by Alex Salmond are expected to use an ancient law to try to impeach the former prime minister when the Chilcot report comes out on Wednesday.

The law, last used in 1806 when the Tory minister Lord Melville was charged for misappropriating official funds, is seen in Westminster as an alternative form of punishment that could ensure Blair never holds office again.

Salmond, the former Scottish first minister, said there “has to be a judicial or political reckoning” for Blair’s role in the Iraq conflict. “He seemed puzzled as to why Jeremy Corbyn thinks he is a war criminal, why people don’t like him,” he told Sky News.

“The reason is 179 British war dead, 150,000 immediate dead from the Iraq conflict, the Middle East in flames, the world faced with an existential crisis on terrorism – these are just some of the reasons perhaps he should understand why people don’t hold him in the highest regard.

“[MPs] believe you cannot have a situation where this country blunders into an illegal war with the appalling consequences and at the end of the day there isn’t a reckoning. There has to be a judicial or political reckoning for that.” …

A “reckoning” for the leaders of this fiasco would indeed be welcome. More welcome still would be a formal recognition by the “coalition of the willing” of the false pretenses on which this war was based and the damage that it has done, followed massive reparations and assistance rebuilding the shattered countries of the region. Don’t hold your breath though.

44 comments on “Chilcot report – Blair’s bad week”

  1. Anne 1

    Further excerpt from the provided link:

    But John Prescott called for Labour’s leadership not to increase tensions within the party by making “very angry statements” about the Iraq war.

    “Bitter division within the PLP talking about different parties can only be made worse by very angry statements about Iraq,” Lord Prescott told the BBC’s Sunday Politics show. “We can have a proper debate, but keep it less personal. Let’s debate it and probably learn from the lessons and avoid such a terrible situation.”

    Very wise words from an experienced UK Labour sage.
    If Corbyn and co. indulge in a bitter [personal] rampage against Tony Blair in particular at this crucial time, then they will do the UK Labour Party irreparable and probably terminal damage.

    Edit: I’m a Corbyn supporter but, imo, an all out war waged against the former Blair govt. is not the answer to future UK Labour stability.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      I’m interested in why you think UK Labour Party stability is the priority here, instead of say, clearing out the right wing of the Labour Party and returning Labour to its working class and lower middle class roots.

      Do you really think that accommodating the Blairites and the careerist MPs in Labour is the way to go.

      Without disruptive renewal and a return to its principles, a continuation of Labour’s decline into irrelevance is what will happen.

      • Angryca 1.1.1

        My thoughts exactly!! The blairites should toddle off to the lib dems, labour parties will be minority parties here and abroad within a decade if they don’t start washing their hands of the neoliberal wing and get back to their original beliefs

    • whateva next? 1.2

      I think it is the former Blair govt that is waging war on Corbyn using his spin doctor to orchestrate it, power abused.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Well the millions of us who can still remember marching against this war, and who remember being arrogantly dismissed have no sympathy for Blair and Bush at all.

    Even less the 10’s of millions of people living in the Middle East who’ve had to live with the brutal consequences.

    Not to mention the 100’s thousands of dead, maimed and devastated.

    Time for a reckoning in my book.

    • Peter ChCh 2.1

      Absolutely agree. Blair seemed then and now to have some sort of messiah complex. Maybe he and Bush really did believe their own bs about forcing change on despotic regimes. But I am equally sure Hitler was acting in what he saw as the best interests of all. He was a war criminal and so is Blair.

      Its sad though that the first two comments in this thread (Anne and CV) are more interested in Labour politics than pursuing what is right, regardless of whether it is good or bad for Labour or Corbyn.

      • Anne 2.1.1

        No-one is suggesting that Tony Blair and his supporters (past and present) should not be held to account for the disastrous decision to wage war on Iraq. Quite the opposite. But don’t get personal. Corbyn and co. must be sorely tempted to do so given recent events but it won’t help them much in their fight to win the next election. And surely that is the ultimate aim – get rid of the Tories and elect a worker friendly Labour government.

        If speculation re- the outcome of the report proves to be correct, then the Blairites are going to be left largely bereft of credibility and influence and will, hopefully, melt away without further internal ructions being created – ructions that allow the British MSM to persevere with their distortions and misrepresentations of the Corbynites.

        • Peter Ch Ch 2.1.1.1

          Apologies if that came out as a personal attack. I certainly meant the comment as a statement of principal.

        • Peter Ch Ch 2.1.1.2

          Apologies if that came out as a personal attack. I certainly meant the comment as a statement of principal.

          • Ad 2.1.1.2.1

            Principle.

          • Anne 2.1.1.2.2

            I didn’t take your comment as a personal attack Peter Ch Ch. 🙂

            I was referencing the UK LP. Attack the past policies of Blair and co. by all means but don’t get personal about it.

        • Bill 2.1.1.3

          So you don’t think this whole coup attempt in UK Labour is in anyway driven by the personal agenda of Tony Blair to have a certain amount of quashing applied by the PLP to the Chilcot report?

          I mean, Corbyn has been clear that if there is a case to answer, then Blair must answer. I don’t think the same can be said for many within the PLP.

          And a thing to consider is that it takes a government to refer war crimes to the International Criminal Court. Would an Angela Eagle argue for the government to take such a course of action?

          I believe it already is personal and has been ever since Corbyn became leader. I said it before and I’ll say it again. If Corbyn sees out the aftermath of the Chilcot Report, then all the baying will subside because the principle reason for all that baying won’t apply any more.

          By the way. I don’t for a second believe that all of the mps who voted against Corbyn were doing so for reasons of the Chilcot Report. I wouldn’t hazard a guess at how many have been blind sided by fuckers running spurious lines that he’s unelectable and unable to ‘bring the Party together’ etc – but a fair few.

          • Anne 2.1.1.3.1

            I don’t disagree with anything you have said Bill especially the fact that the coup attempt was a personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn in an effort to undermine his influence and authority within the Party. I suspect they have failed and that Corbyn’s responses thus far – which have not been personal – have been the correct responses.

            I also agree that a significant portion of the Labour MPs were in such a state of confusion after the Brexit vote they became suckers for the Blairite line. I wonder how many of them have privately conceded they were hoodwinked since?

    • save nz 2.2

      +1 RedLogix – Bush would probably not have invaded Iraq if Blair had not promised to support him. Bush was rightly very nervous about invading Afghanistan.

      The whole middle east could be completely different. The US would be different and not trillions in debt. They should have learnt from Vietnam.

      Brexit would never happened because as Labour would have been able to get back in power. Now many UK labour politicians seem to be considered as having as few principals as the Conservatives.

      Corbyn is feared because he has real views and methods to help the British people.

      • Chooky 2.2.1

        +100 save nz

        …imo Blair deserves to be in jail for war crimes against humanity

        …there should an equivalent of the Nuremberg Trials for crimes committed by politician leaders in the West against the Middle East peoples and sovereign states

        • Rodel 2.2.1.1

          Chooky-I can recall a photo of a sad little Iraqi boy in hospital with both arms and legs blown off by a US missile…..and in the same newspaper a photo of Bush and Blair grinning and shaking hands over their successful invasion of Iraq.How do such monsters get elected?

          IMO they should both be imprisoned, preferably in Abu Ghraib.

          • Chooky 2.2.1.1.1

            +100…and I can recall a photo of an Iraqi man in tears of utter despair looking up while holding his little boy in his arms as he viewed his destroyed house ( I hope none of the rest of the family were in that house)

            it was an utterly outrageous immoral war!

  3. s y d 3

    Please remember that in the corporate model only the operatives will be held to account (fed to the wolves)

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tony-blair-chilcot-iraq-war-soldiers-international-criminal-court-human-rights-saddam-hussein-a7116696.html

    • Peter Ch Ch 3.1

      Hardly unique to corporate culture though is it?

      Gaddafi sacrificed Megrahi over lockerbie; the senior Nazis and SS ran to South America and left the German people to pay the price, Mao Great Leap forward led to millions starving whilst he grew fat; the islamic revolution in iran led to millions of poor being slaughtered while the elite pursued very earth5ky pleasures. Communism or capitalism. Faciscm or islamism. All muchbthe same innterms of sacrificial.lambs.

      And reading this thread where the first posters disregard the deaths and torture and destruction as being on little consequence so long as their spiritual leaders of Labour and Corbyn thrive, makes me see that even the extreme left acolytes are no different than the Blairs and Bushs of this world.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Boy you really know fucking nothing about the history of the world.

  4. swordfish 4

    Recent British Public Opinion on Blair/Iraq

    YouGov (May 2016)
    ………………………………………Total……Lab voters……Tory………..LD………..SNP………Ukip
    Never Forgive Blair…………53%………….39%…………64%……….52%………67%………74%

    Time we Forgave Him……..15%………….25%…………11%………16%……….10%……….7%

    Blair did nothing Wrong……8%……………14%…………7%………..8%…………7%……….7%

    Unsure…………………………….24%……………22%……….18%………24%………..16%………12%

    YouGov research since 2003 has charted a steady decline in public support for the Iraq War (was it the right thing to do in retrospect), falling to just 26% last year. (Support for the attack had averaged 54% across the 21 polls conducted by YouGov throughout 2003, reaching a height of 66% in April 2003).

    YouGov (June 2015)
    US and Britain were Right or Wrong to take Military Action against Iraq ?
    ……………………Total………..Lab……..Tory……..LD……..Ukip
    Wrong……………51%……….51%……..48%…….56%…….60%

    Right………………26%……….27%……..32%…….22%…….24%

    YouGov (March 2013)
    Did the invasion of Iraq Increase or Decrease the risk of Terrorist Attacks on Britain ?
    Increase……56%
    Decrease…..7%
    No Diff……..30%

    Which do you think is more likely for Iraq in the future ?
    Becomes a Peaceful Democracy….12%
    A Permanently Unstable Country…71%

    Did Blair deliberately set out to Mislead the British public in the run-up to the war about whether Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction ?
    Yes, Blair deliberately misled … 50%
    No, Blair genuinely believed it…31%
    Unsure……………………………………19%

    In early 2010, a poll conducted by BPIX (for the Daily Mail), found that 80% of respondents believed Blair had lied in his evidence to the Chilcot War Inquiry, with almost a third agreeing he should stand trial for War Crimes. Nearly 60% agreed that Blair had made a blood pact with Bush well in advance of war on Iraq being declared and so was forced to exaggerate the WMDs motive to secure public approval. The most hostile judgement came from women (who were crucial to sealing Labour’s three Election victories under Blair). On almost every measure, women were particularly critical of the former PM.

    By the time he stood down as Prime Minister and Labour leader in June 2007, Blair had experienced high net negativity poll ratings for well over a year. Disapproval of his performance as PM almost always being in the 60-70% range, with Approval down in the mid-20s to early-30s.

    • swordfish 4.1

      To be scrupulously fair, though, you’d have to say that most Brits are opposed to Blair standing trial for war crimes.

      The early 2010 BPIX poll (cited above) found just under a third agreeing he should face Trial.

      And the March 2013 YouGov found:
      More broadly, which of the following best sums up your view of Tony Blair in respect of the Iraq War ?

      (1) Even if some of the details were wrong, Blair was right to warn that Hussein’s regime was extremely dangerous … 29%

      (2) Blair misled Parliament and the British public about the scale of the threat from Iraq but he did not intend to do so15%

      (3) Blair knowingly misled Parliament and the Public but we should move on and take no action against him18%

      (4) Blair knowingly misled Parliament and the Public and should be tried as a War Criminal22%

      (5) Unsure … 15%

      Strongest supporters of Blair being tried as a War Criminal were Tories (29%), the over 60s (28%), and Londoners (28%). Men and the Scots (and probably Scots Men – like Bill) were also more likely than average to want to see Blair face the music. Weakest support for this option came from Labour voters (12%) and 25-39 year olds (15%).

      On the other hand, a Jan 2010 Com Res Poll found as many as 37% agreeing Blair should be put on trial for War Crimes (57% disagreed), with particularly strong support among the young and the poorer (C2DE) half of the Country and SNP, Greens and especially Ukip supporters.

      60% agreed that Gordon Brown should share responsibility with Blair for the decision to wage war on Iraq.

      In all cases, though, a minority.

      • Chooky 4.1.1

        re “To be scrupulously fair, though, you’d have to say that most Brits are opposed to Blair standing trial for war crimes”

        …well you can compare those Brits stats with the Germans who wanted the Nuremberg Trials….better to ask the peoples of the Middle East …the victims!

        (so NOT “scrupulously fair” at all!)

        imo unless Western leaders are held to account for what has happened and is happening in the Middle East …then there will be no healing

        …and the war crimes will continue

        • swordfish 4.1.1.1

          Whoa there !!! You’re getting a little over-excited, Chooks. Those nostrils are beginning to flair with self-righteous fervour.

          Entirely agree with the broad thrust of your eloquently-stated argument. He (and others) certainly should be held to account.

          I was simply trying to objectively outline British Public Opinion on the matter (which has some bearing on what British Elites do next).

          Wasn’t suggesting that UK public opinion was some sort of definitive Yardstick by which to judge Blair’s guilt or innocence.

          So, you see, there was no need for tears before bedtime.

  5. dukeofurl 5

    Comment from ICC
    “Fourth, while the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) currently has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, [as explained to The Telegraph], the Court does not yet have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. Therefore, the specific question of the legality of the decision to resort to the use of force in Iraq in 2003 – or elsewhere – does not fall within the legal mandate of the Court, and hence, is not within the scope of its preliminary examination.”

    Office of Prosecutor ICC.
    http://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=160704-otp-stat

    wee brains need to get their head around that.

  6. save nz 6

    AS for the most disgusting way to cash on on the Iraq War….

    This is what war has come down to, money and fake everything!

    Iraq PM orders removal of British-made fake bomb detectors
    After hundreds killed by Isis car bomb, Haidar al-Abadi orders corruption inquiry into James McCormick handheld wands

    http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=7e03b2f974c68fa947b09be30025ab1032c1bd8ed11a1402c3becb00befb7ffc

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      They were originally sold a (fake) golf ball detector, which was supposed to be novelty item !!. You couldnt make it up as it would too unbelievable.

  7. Ad 7

    Can we have a quick check about how many other British Prime Ministers have had a “find the blame” report or a call to send them to a War Crimes Tribunal?

    I think there’s a bit of misdirected leftie rage about this war under this Prime Minister than say the fifty others Britain has got itself into over the last 150 years.

    It would be more useful to have a proper evaluation of his government’s policies on the whole of Britain.

    • Bill 7.1

      Well, I dunno Ad. Maybe none of those other PMs were suspected of committing a war crime? Just a thought.

      • save nz 7.1.1

        Just because he looks charismatic, white, has powerful friends and from the west, does not mean he should just be let off.

      • dukeofurl 7.1.2

        Your ‘intel is faulty”

        As the link to ICC prosecutors says -no way.

      • Pretty sure Winston Churchill made Blair look like a rank amateur in the war crimes stakes.

        • Bill 7.1.3.1

          In deed. But the general public and the political class didn’t give a shit…so, no ‘suspicion’.

  8. save nz 8

    And don’t forget the persecution of Weapons Inspector David Kelly…

  9. dukeofurl 9

    The worst about the Iraqi war, the deluded idea of regime change, flowering of western style democracy-
    is they did it all again in Syria.

    oh one thing changed, no western troops on ground this time, just supply the weapons to let Syrians kill Syrians.

    Cameron Obama etc all made the same mistake that Bush and Blair made, even though they had the hindsight.

  10. Chooky 10

    ‘Enraged UK veterans blast ‘war of aggression’ ahead of Chilcot’s Iraq war report (RT EXCLUSIVE)’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/349456-veteran-blast-iraq-chilcot/

    “A UK veterans’ group has blasted the 2003 Iraq conflict as a “war of aggression” waged on the Iraqi people ahead of the publication of the Chilcot report on Wednesday.
    Veterans for Peace UK (VFPUK), which is reported to contain up to 400 armed forces veterans from Britain’s recent conflicts, has criticized the country’s establishment over the war. It is the first public intervention by an ex-services organization on the issue.

    “Whatever Chilcot says, this country and its armed forces executed a war of aggression on the people of Iraq,” the group claimed in a statement seen in advance by RT and due for release Monday evening…

  11. newsense 11

    There is a whole lot rotten in the commons.

    If we’re putting Blair in the dock for dissembling about this war, can we damn well make sure that we put those that dissembled and led to Brexit with all these terrible consequences in the dock too? their deceit is responsible for a lot.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Your comparison is a nonsense. The Iraq War was illegal and cost a nation and a million lives or more.

      BREXIT – freedom from the French and the Germans. No wonder the English outside of London voted for it so clearly.

      • miravox 11.1.1

        “freedom from the French and the Germans”
        Remember freedom fries?

        If the UK followed the French and Germans. Blair could never have joined the Coalition of the Willing. Clearly the EU does not run UK foreign policy

        In both cases the people are deceived by their own, not foreign, leaders (although the referendum obviously was not illegal).

  12. Chooky 12

    ‘Vindicated? Jeremy Corbyn’s decade-long opposition to the Iraq War’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/349640-chilcot-corbyn-blair-iraq/

    …”In the soon-to-be-launched documentary on the decisions taken by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, ‘We Are Many’, Corbyn angrily describes how MPs neglected the millions-strong anti-war movement and voted for intervention in Iraq regardless.

    …In a 2011 interview with RT, Corbyn said: “[The UK] has involved itself in what I believe to be an illegal invasion of another country. We’ve lost a considerable number of British soldiers, a much larger number of American soldiers and others have died, and tens of thousands of Iraqis, probably half a million Iraqis, have died as a result of this. And is the world a safer place? No. Is the threat of terrorism less? No. Is this a good way forward for international law? No.”

    The so-called coup launched against Corbyn’s leadership last week was seen by commentators as a way to silence the Islington MP ahead of the publication of the Chilcot report. Corbyn has vowed to apologize in the name of his party once the inquiry results are made public, and is known to want to see heads roll for the 2003 decision…

  13. mauī 13

    So many good tweets from Neil Clark journo

    After #Chilcot Blairites & Iraq war propagandists need to be kicked out of public life & put on trial

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  • Fleeing drivers hit new record-high yet again
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  • Fletcher Tabuteau selected as candidate for Rotorua
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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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    6 days ago
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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
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  • New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021
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  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
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  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
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