Monday, 16 June 2014


By Mark Cooney

TONY BLAIR - very few sane people would associate his name with truth and justice.

The disingenuous nature of this man led to the violent deaths of more than 100,00 Iraqis, a normally hospitable and generous race who represented no threat to us.

For decades, their only instinct has been to survive.

But then they were caught in the crossfire of a monstrous dictator who ruled them with an iron fist, and two scheming Western governments who ostensibly sponsored their destruction - babies and all.

Today, the Iraqis find themselves once again trapped by their geography and history in a cauldron of violence and hate.

With political, religious and tribal uprisings sweeping the Middle East, they don't even have the comfort blanket of peace in order to pick up the pieces of their lives destroyed by death and destruction.

Old tribal vendettas have re-emerged and exploded into bloody civil war.

While Iraq’s majority Shia and minority Sunni tribes fight for control of the region, the al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), has comprehensively rekindled the flames of sectarian bloodshed in recent days. Amidst this carnage, a fourth faction, the Kurds, are on the verge of realising a long-held dream by taking control of Iraq’s northern region.

Blair’s contribution to the chaos is once again to step into the spotlight and declare that the latest insurgency has nothing to do with him.

He has further twisted his blood-stained dagger into the hearts of Iraqis seeking justice by reiterating his spurious claims that he didn’t initiate the crisis over there. Far from it. In fact, in waging a devastating war on the country, he claims he did the right thing.

The Labour Party’s former golden boy has said that Iraq would still be a major problem even without the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003. He insists the US-UK invasion was not to blame for the current apocalypse.

In an essay on the Middle East crisis (Read it here), Blair insisted that we had to “liberate ourselves from the notion that we caused this”. Note the “we”.

And, in another unconvincing televised ramble, he added: ”Even if you'd left Saddam in place in 2003, then when 2011 happened - and  had the Arab revolutions going through Tunisia and Libya and Yemen and Bahrain and Egypt and Syria - you would have still had a major problem in Iraq.”

That claim has already been disputed by some diplomatic heavyweights, including Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's ambassador to the US between 1997 and 2003. In a newspaper interview, he said the campaign strategy against Saddam Hussein was "perhaps the most significant reason" for the current sectarian violence.

"We are reaping what we sowed in 2003,” he claimed. “This is not hindsight. We knew in the run-up to war that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would seriously destabilise Iraq after 24 years of his iron rule.”

And Lakhdar Brahimi, former UN representative in Iraq, also disputes Tony Blair's analysis of the conflict, saying ISIS did not exist before the 2003 invasion. Rather, it grew out of the bloodshed and the regional instability created by Bush and Blair.

He has already said several times in the past that the West's indifference to Syria would put it at risk of being a failed state and that it would spill over into neighbouring areas.

When asked by Channel 4 News if he agreed with Tony Blair that the West should once again send in the troops, Mr Brahimi said: "Military intervention? Not again, please. I doubt if military intervention from the outside again is the right thing because you know how these things start, and how they finish."

Asked if Blair was correct in his assertion that the current slaughter would exist even without the 2003 invasion, he replied: "I'm afraid he's wrong. We would probably still be in an extremely bad place, but nothing like we have now. You wouldn't have al-Qaeda going around. I mean, al-Qaeda taking over three cities in two days...that's unthinkable!

"A lot of people in the region who were interested in listening to Mr Blair don't listen anymore."

Something of a handicap for a Middle East peace envoy.

What is also for sure is that without Blair and George Bush’s trigger-happy attitude, there would be a lot more Iraqi citizens alive today to testify against these claims of innocence.

There would also not have been thousands of British and American parents saluting their sons and daughters returning in coffins, having served their purpose in the eyes of the politicians.

There have also been strong accusations that the Ministry of Defence under equipped our soldiers, which is why their American counterparts nickname the British Army “The Borrowers”. They weren’t given the right tools to execute a very dirty job. The fact that they were not properly protected in a war zone was morally reprehensible.

So, does this one rate as a war crime? That’s one for international law to decide if it ever bothers to catch up with this morally bankrupt globetrotter.

There would almost certainly not be a whole generation of orphaned children growing up with appalling injuries and a lifetime of horrific mental traumas. And who can blame them for growing up with a serious grudge?

In his typical phoney manner, Blair pleaded in the run-up to the invasion that he just wanted to help the Iraqi people and that the troops were going to “win hearts and minds”. Instead, they put bullets in them.

Saddam was hanged for his three-decade murder spree (and perhaps other more convenient reasons). But, following the invasion and slaughter, Blair was bestowed with the distinguished mantle of Middle East peace envoy.

On that kind of recruiting logic, could Kim Jong-un be next in line for UN Secretary General? Is it any more absurd or distasteful?

If it the whole scenario were not appalling enough, Blair has become exceedingly rich off the back of the invasion.

Rather than demonstrate some humility and accountability, perhaps even a smattering of repentance, he continues to enjoy the glare of the public eye, travelling the globe first class to give handsomely-paid speeches to all who will listen to his self-serving version of world events. He is now a multi-millionaire.

Perhaps repeating the same old nonsense to audiences is cathartic for him, and helps relieve him of some of the guilt burden that most of us would carry heavily. But he gives the impression that he possesses neither guilt nor shame.

He ignored the will of the British public, many of whom still fully believe the attack on Iraq to be illegal. Instead, he cartwheeled out of international obscurity and onto the world stage to fully support Bush’s plan to invade. Brothers-in-arms, or, at least, brothers-in-bomber jackets.

He sent UK forces to join the US-led invasion in violation of international law.

America’s favourite poodle sold it on a pretext of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. It didn’t. But now he says they might have got them at some point in the future.

As for Blair’s “hearts and minds” pledge? Well, it was left to charities to count the bodies (and the body parts) in the streets and market squares.

Perversely, Blair expected us all to triumphantly celebrate the glory of Britain in “liberating” a country and installing “democracy”. He was wrong.

Moreover, this narcissistic egomaniac hoped we would all laud him as a great leader and world statesman who had helped make the world a safer place. Another massive miscalculation.

This week Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, who wants to end England’s 300-year rule over Scotland in September’s Independence Referendum, said: “Tony Blair has now claimed that the invasion of Iraq was about whether or not Saddam Hussein remained in power. Eleven years ago he said it was about weapons of mass destruction.

“He is guilty of breathtaking amnesia on his reasons for invading Iraq and clearly hopes everybody else will conveniently forget his 2003 decision, the consequences of which have played out over 11 years, with hundreds of thousands dead.

“We have reached a position where Western powers’ ability to intervene in any conflict – even in a just manner – has been totally undermined by the legacy of the Iraq disaster, with a damaging loss."

Blair’s denials and delusions suggest he believes only God should judge him.

He has blood on his hands alright, but he’s cleansed himself of all responsibility.

The next time we see Tony Blair, let's hope it's in front of a judge, or, better still, behind bars.

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