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Jeremy Corbyn apologises for Blair and Bush’s Iraq War

Written By: - Date published: 11:11 am, July 7th, 2016 - 42 comments
Categories: colonialism, International, iraq, peak oil, uk politics, uncategorized, war - Tags:

In a move that will infuriate many of the disloyal Blairite MPs in his own caucus, Jeremy Corbyn has shown once and for all that he is the moral UK Labour Leader for our times. The Mirror has the full text of Corbyn’s speech, and it is worth reading through in its entirety. Here is an excerpt:

As I said earlier, I have just been meeting a group of families, military servicemen and women who lost their loved ones, Iraq war veterans and Iraqi citizens who lost relatives as a result of that war, that the US and British governments launched.

I apologised to them for the decisions taken by our then government that led the country into a disastrous war.

It was a disaster that occurred when we were in government, 140 of my then colleagues opposed it at the time, as did many, many, many members of my party, of trade unions and of many other organisations in this country.

Many more have since said that they regret their vote. My fellow MPs who voted for the war in 2003 did so on the basis of loyalty to the government and information and intelligence which the Chilcot Report has been confirmed to have been false.

They were misled by a small number of leading figures who were committed to joining the United States invasion come what may and were none too scrupulous about how they made the case for war.

Politicians and political parties can only grow stronger by acknowledging when they get it wrong and by facing up to their mistakes.

So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq.

The 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.

The apology is also owed to the families of those soldiers who died in Iraq or who have returned home injured and incapacitated.

They did their duty, but it was in a conflict they should never have been sent to.

Jeremy Corbyn delivering part of this speech to the public:


42 comments on “Jeremy Corbyn apologises for Blair and Bush’s Iraq War”

  1. rhinocrates 1

    Meanwhile, in good news for Corbyn, apparently the coup is collapsing:


    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      If Corbyn has what it takes to remain Labour Leader he will go down to the electorate committee level of the party, and get every one of those coup ring leaders de-selected as future Labour candidates. That’s how you cleanse UK Labour of its Blairite/careerist right wing.

      • Kevin 1.1.1

        Yep, only way.

        And sends a very blunt message to those remaining just who they are working for.

        • mac1

          And it’s not for Corbyn. He in turn is working for the Labour membership in total and as a politician for the British people.

          And what a message! Truth matters. Honesty matters. Principles matter. People matter.

          As young Oliver Twist said, “Please, sir, can I have more.”

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Another way would be for Corbyn to assess the institutional knowledge these compromised characters possess, and use it.

          I appreciate that purges are attractive to witless unelectables, and when did they* ever produce anything worthwhile?

          *to be clear, by “they”, I mean witless unelectables.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        And how would that work in a democratic party where the candidates are selected by the electorate?

        • Colonial Viper

          And how would that work in a democratic party where the candidates are selected by the electorate?

          You mean, how would that work in a democratic party where the candidate *selected* by the local Labour Party members is then *elected* at a General Election to become the MP.

          It would work fine.

          The electorate party membership de-select the backstabbing Blairite MP, who serves out the rest of their sorry term, and select a new Labour candidate to put forward to the electorate at the next general election.

          • Draco T Bastard

            You mean, how would that work in a democratic party where the candidate *selected* by the local Labour Party members is then *elected* at a General Election to become the MP.

            No, that’s not what I mean. I mean what happens when a democratically selected representative of an electorate is unilaterally removed from the selection by the party leader?

            Seems authoritarian and anti-democratic to me.

            • Colonial Viper

              I never said that the Leader would “unilaterally remove” the candidate from Labour’s internal electorate selection process.

              The Leader should discuss directly with the members of the electorate, and persuade the local electorate membership to give the disloyal MP the shove.

              Fully democratic.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I never said that the Leader would “unilaterally remove” the candidate from Labour’s internal electorate selection process.

                Yes you did right here:

                If Corbyn has what it takes to remain Labour Leader he will go down to the electorate committee level of the party, and get every one of those coup ring leaders de-selected as future Labour candidates.

                It cannot be read any other way.

                The Leader should discuss directly with the members of the electorate, and persuade the local electorate membership to give the disloyal MP the shove.

                That he should actually do but that’s not what you said.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Getting the coup leaders deselected is a pretty clear statement. I even told you how Corbyn could do it according to what I know of the UK Labour Party constitution.

                  Not my problem that you want to read the sentence in only one way.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Not my problem that you want to read the sentence in only one way.

                    1. IMO, it can only be read one way, you think it can be read many ways
                    2. Ambiguous sentences are, by definition, a failure to communicate by the person who made the sentence

                    Thing is, Corbyn can’t get them de-selected. He can talk to the membership of the electorate and try to persuade them to not select them at the next opportunity.

      • Sanctuary 1.1.3

        There is no need for a wholescale purge. Although 170 MPs voted against Corbyn, apparently the hard core Blairites, the ones most likely to flounce out SDP II stylez, are about 20 or 24 MPs strong. They will most likely go after the Labour party conference (coming up in Setember I think), when the Corbynistas (who have a majority of supporters on the NEC) bring about big changes to the policy formation process and PLP accountability.They’ll probably defect to the Liberal Democrats, and maybe half of them will cling to their seats. The rest will accept the changing face of Labour more or less gracefully.

        I think Corbyn himself will sheppard through and embed the changes then resign before 2020, I don’t think he has what it takes to carry the country, I don’t think his age will allow him to fight a fullblown election campaign and he would have achieved his goals anyway.

        The extraordinary thing about all this is how unnecessary it all has been. For all the wild talk about Marxism (amusingly, in Blairite land it is possible to be both a Stalinist and a Trotskyist which doesn’t say much about what sort of education you can get at Oxford or Cambridge) Corbynistas are not Bennites and Momentum is not Militant Tendency. Corbyn is simply proposing Labour become a proper, social democratic party with solid connections to it’s members. The immoderate nature (Ian Austin yesterday was a disgrace to his party and the British parliament, and he’ll face the consequences for which you can be sure he’ll bleat with all the whining lack of self awareness and pseudo victimhood the wronged entitled middle class can muster) of the constant and hysterical attacks on Corbyn say much about the messianic world view and entitlement culture of the late era Blairites and not much about anything else. Tony Blair himself gave a rambling two hour press conference yesterday he which he displayed all the total detachment from reality and refusal to admit any doubt that I thought totally summed up what a messianic cult Blairism now is. They seriously seem to believe they are annointed in some way.

        Apparently, Labour is approaching 500,000 members and there is even optimistic talk of aiming for a million members to exceed it’s highest membership ever. The size of the party membership is an amazing achievement given how frequently, loudly and surely the Blairist liberal intelligensia, Tory party and the hostile press declare Labour is finished. The membership numbers fascinate me. Rougly one in every 100 Brits is a member of the Labour party and doubling is apparently a possibility. I think this gives the lie to the received wisdom that we live in an age where mass movement parties are dead and elite cadre parties of professional managerialists, all of whom are members of the establishment, are the only option for voters. Empower people and give them belief, hope and choice and they’ll re engage with politics all right.

        NZ Labour take note.

        • Colonial Viper

          Moving the ring leaders on and putting the other MPs on notice should be sufficient, yes.

          Rougly one in every 100 Brits is a member of the Labour party and doubling is apparently a possibility.

          That would be a Labour Party membership of 45,000 in NZ, rising to 90,000.

          However, we have confident assurances from The Guardian, from several of his MPs, and other authoritive sources that Corbyn “is unelectable.” 😛

          Thanks for the analysis, Sanctuary.

          • Sanctuary

            BTW, 500,000 is the fully paid up membership. The three pound affliated members and trade union affliates (off the top of my head) are about another 260,000 and 150,000 respectively. By NZ Labour counting, UK Labour would have over 900,000 people.

    • NickS 1.2


      Sadly though I see the anti-Corbyn faction still firmly have their heads up their collective arse’s.

    • Chooky 1.3

      +100 Great news…GO Corbyn!

  2. Bill 2

    A bit tangential, but for anyone who hasn’t picked up on a rather strange phenomenon in UK media yet, the tabloid Mirror offers far more informative and newsworthy coverage of Jeremy Corbyn than the broadsheet Guardian. Take from that what you will.

    • rhinocrates 2.1

      The Guardian is a middle class dinner party socialist paper – they’ve long had it in for Corbyn.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Maybe it would be more accurate to call it a ‘liberal socialite paper’ rather than a ‘socialist paper’?

      • dukeofurl 2.1.2

        The Mirror even gives transcripts of Corbyn speech – who does that these days ?

  3. RedLogix 3

    Jeeze … no wonder they hate Corbyn so much. This is everything they did not want to hear said out loud.

    • GregJ 3.1

      It was short, simple and direct. You have to wonder how he’s lasted so long in politics without being corrupted by the purveyors of political newspeak. 😮

      • Save NZ 3.1.1

        That is why the Blairites have condemned his leadership abilities… too honest and uncorrupted…

        • Chooky

          +100 Save NZ…”too honest and uncorrupted”

          …and that is why some on the ‘Left’ had it in for Hone Harawira and the Mana Party … Annette Sykes, Laila Harre and John Minto

  4. aj 4

    Almost as satisfying as Galloway’s speech to the US Senate in 2005. Gives me hope in a hopeless world.

  5. ianmac 5

    A gracious and direct speech from Jeremy. Long Live the King.

    • AB 5.1

      Yes – without histrionics, rhetorical flourishes, self-righteousness, or vanity. All terrible things in a leader – if you draw your model of leadership from the corporate world.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        As others have said, no wonder the Labour MPs in his caucus can’t stand him.

        • ianmac

          Assuming that those seated directly behind Jeremy were his people, they seemed to be in agreement with his words. I would have thought that they would have sneered.

  6. Tory 6

    So lets get this right, Corbyn apologises (given he always opposed the war, nothing new here) and Unions endorse.
    Yet when Corbyn proposed scrapping Trident, the GMB is vehemently opposed, so its clear that the apology is ‘convenient politics’ but when it comes to jobs the Unions clearly prefer a military stance and have no qualms at producing munitions that will kill millions. Work that one out….

    • Sanctuary 6.1

      What I want you to do for your homework tonight is to draw two circles on a piece of paper, so that PART of each circle intersects the other. Then I want you label one circle “Labour Party” and the other circle “Trade Unions” and the bit in the middle “what they agree on all the time”.

      Once you’ve finshed savouring your newly minted moment of intellectual illumination, I want you to carefully fold up the piece of paper, put it in your purse or wallet, and every now and again take it out and peek at it, just as a reminder.

      • Sabine 6.1.1


      • Tory 6.1.2

        Your drawing lesson fails to question why Unions support munitions production but are up in arms when they are used.
        What you, Sanctuary, can do or me is look up the word hypocrites, normally near Marxism, unionists and bleeding heart liberals.

        • Colonial Viper

          but are up in arms when they are used.

          How droll.

        • ropata

          because hypocrisy is a worse crime than invading another country on a false pretext and killing 100000 people, so tory is fixated on that

          • Tory

            Let me finish for you, “the invading forces used munitions mass produced by unionised work forces. When asked for comment the local organiser replied that jobs for the down trodden victims of Neo liberal politics are more important than a few hundred thousand victims of collateral damage”.

            • miravox

              Show me one unionist who supports munitions manufacturing and thinks the victims are collateral damage, and I’ll show you one who doesn’t…

              Moreover I’ll show 70% of delegates at a union vote that support the scrapping of Trident. I wonder if you can do the same with a management vote. As for whether weapons kill civilians – a unionist does not need to be a pacifist, they may very well agree that wars may from time to time need to be fought. The workers don’t make the rules about how these things are used in law.

              Workers accuse Unite of betrayal over Trident vote

              Furious defence workers have accused Britain’s largest trade union of betraying them by voting to scrap Trident at the Scottish Labour conference.

              Unite members at the two Clyde naval bases where Britain’s nuclear deterrent is housed poured scorn on their union’s claim they could get alternative employment if it was scrapped by stating that they may as well “apply for jobs in Brigadoon.”

              A statement issued on behalf of the shop stewards committee at Faslane and Coulport attacked Unite in Scotland for treating its members “like mugs by taking their union subscriptions and failing to support their future livelihoods.”

              Their furious intervention came as Maria Eagle, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said UK Labour still supported Trident renewal and the vote at the Perth conference was merely one “input” into a review of the party’s defence policies.

              Ms Eagle hinted that this would not be completed before MPs vote on renewal next year, meaning UK Labour’s official stance will remain to replace it when the crucial decision is made.

              But leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the Scottish vote, which saw more than 70 per cent of delegates and unions support the scrapping of Trident. Diane Abbott, his close ally, predicted the party across the UK would follow suit…

              My bold. Sanctuary’s point at 6.1 holds. There are a range of views. I happen to agree with Corbyn on this, but that doesn’t mean the argument of others is not valid.

              For all sorts or reasons people can be seen as, or be, hypocrites. You cannot legitimately put forward the views of some in unions as the views of all, otherwise you’re guilty of the same charge the next time you disagree with the position of the group of people/organisation/political party you associate with.

              Or if you do sanctuary’s little thought exercise you may come to some sort of understanding about how the left is less of hive-mind than your part of the political spectrum.

              P.S. a link when you quote would be useful.

            • locus

              Tory – your fantasy about what you think a ‘local organiser’ might have said, reveals a prejudiced and objectionable attitude towards unions, as well as a false and defamatory assumption that – in your words “Unions support munitions production”

              You are of course entitled to your fantasies, but don’t imagine you have presented any kind of rational argument about why some members of the GMB oppose the scrapping of Trident.

              If you go to the GMB website you’ll see that Gary Smith the union secretary in Scotland believes that Trident is a deterrent that has prevented nuclear war. He is most concerned that government (whichever party) provides a commitment to jobs for the skilled workers who it’s his job to represent.

              It is your febrile imagination Tory, which has a union organiser saying that they care more for their jobs than ‘hundreds of thousands of victims’

              What Gary Smith of GMB did say is:
              “What we didn’t need is for the Scottish Labour Party, incredibly supported by other trade unions, to also call for an end to Trident renewal. So now we’re up against a cosy establishment consensus in Scotland directly opposed to decent, hard-working trade union members, their families and their communities.” http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/gmb-trident-successor-programme-conference

              You might also be interested to know that Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, Britain’s largest union and Labour’s biggest donor, told The Independent just prior to the last election: “Both Labour and the Coalition are debating Trident’s replacement. It is a healthy debate of huge national interest in which our members’ jobs and skills should not be forgotten.”

              As for your dismissive comment about Corbyn’s apology – let me enlighten you. In his speech to Parliament yesterday, Corbyn (the only current political leader in Britiain who voted against the 2003 invasion, described the war as the most “serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years”

              In his measured and reflective speech Corbyn explained that he had visited families of Iraqis and of British servicement who were killed: “I apologised to them for the decisions taken by our then government that led this country into a disastrous war.”

        • RedLogix

          Tory is of course quite right on this.

          A job is not just a job, and what we do always has consequences.

          • Colonial Viper

            The banality of evil

          • locus

            RL that’s a self evident truth. But of course, consequences may be good or bad….

            I’m sure that some of the workers in Faslane believe that the consequences of making nuclear weapons is to provide a deterrant to nuclear war.

            imo Tory’s remarks are dissembling and framing how he wants you to read it, not how it really is. I think it is particularly distasteful that he has chosen this topic to play games with. I will be surprised if he provides references to justify his interpretation and ‘quotes’

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