33 3 mins 13 yrs

I KNOW, it’s a shock to learn for certain he’d lie about even war, eh?

All that talk about WMDs meant nothing afterall because he’s admitted he wanted war against Iraq anyway. Who dragged this out of him: Paxman? Humphreys? No, it was hard-hitting breakfast TV presenter Fern Britton, during an interview for a BBC One religious programme.

Discussing Saddam Hussein and the decision to invade Iraq, Mr Blair was asked: “If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?”

Mr Blair replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean, obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat.”

Therefore citing WMDs so much was just a tactic all along. If that argument were not available, another would have been rolled out. Truth and morality can go hang, Blair simply had an argument to win. Even if you agree with the Iraq war and think Saddam Hussein should have been ousted, the truth cannot be sacrificed, which happened because, in February 2003, Blair told the House of Commons:

I detest his regime—I hope most people do—but even now, he could save it by complying with the UN’s demand. Even now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully. I do not want war. I do not believe anyone in the House wants war. But disarmament peacefully can happen only with Saddam’s active co-operation.

Now we know this was a lie delivered to Parliament to involve us in war. We know for certain also that going to the UN to bring back Security Council resolutions on Iraq’s WMDs was a fig leaf, yet another piece of spin to justify a war he’d decided he’d have anyway. At least Bush was honest: he’d make Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act happen with or without WMDs. For Blair, all he needed was an argument that worked.

You can still support the war and think the eventual outcome worth it, but no-one can defend Blair’s duplicity in how he involved us in it.

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  1. Hard for anyone to disagree with anything there Pete regardless of what side you take in the Iraq war. The argument could be made by those who supported the war that the most important thing was for the govt. to get the approval it needed for military action however it was argued and that if Blair had admitted his true views the Commons would not have voted in favour and the UK would have had to quit the coalition at the last minute causing damage to the overall military plans, but if becomes acceptable strategically to lie in Parliament then that makes the continued existence of that institution pointless.

  2. Hmm

    I haven’t really read all the stuff in detail and I hate to say anything in defence of Blair but if you want to carry out an action and there are two relevant arguements A & B. Where you are convinced by B but think that the support you need is best placed by promoting A, then I see nothing wrong with that unles you know that A is actually a lie.

    I don’t have a problem with Blair thinking that Sadam had to be deposed for reasons other than WMD but using that as the arguement as long as he also believed that there were WMD.

    I probably haven’t expressed that too clearly but I know what I mean 🙂

  3. I know what you meant Aileen. If Blair used the WMD argument because that worked in getting Commons approval while also genuinely believing in the danger of WMD was more acceptable, even if he wasn’t being strictly honest about the real reasons he supported military action. However if he used the WMD argument while not actually believing they existed or were a threat then that was much more morally wrong.

  4. Colm

    Agreed, except that I don’t think that the former was morally wrong at all (unless he actually lied). As to the latter I wouldn’t put it past him not to believe that they existed or were a threat and as you say that would be very morally wrong.

  5. If it is "right" to remove anybody, I’m sure more British people would have voted to remove Mugabe rather than Saddam!
    And it would have cost a lot less casualties.

  6. There is zero evidence that he lied. Not actual smoking gun evidence, not circumstantial evidence. Zero, zip, nada.

    The Brits ( and those from all other major countries ) did believe that Saddam had WMD – it had not been proven of course, but but the Iraqi regime did everything to make the region and world believe that these weapons existed, and the intelligence services In Europe, America, Russia, China, Israel, etc believed it. Three was much reason to believe it too, considering again, that Hussein had used such weapons in the Kurdish part of Iraq in the not so distant past.

    I happen to believe that Blair is correct in that regime change was necessary in any event for many reasons, as stated on these pages.

    But there is zero evidence that he lied. It is at best a hilarious leap of faith to say that he did, against a political actor you don’t happen to care for.

    History will be very kind to Blair and Bush for the decision to invade Iraq. The aftermath of the invasion, not so much, the diversion from the Afghan theater, a huge error, but we were right to remove Saddam Hussein.

  7. >>All that talk about WMDs meant nothing afterall <<

    What do you mean "after all"?

    >>Now we know this was a lie delivered to Parliament to involve us in war. <<

    What do you mean "now"?

    What we knew all along is that there are always enough people prepared to believe and support the most ridiculous of lies and to jettison any principles they may claim to have, and tie themselves to the tails of the most boneheaded donkeys, as long as they see an opportunity of hitting Arabs and/or Muslims.
    And you need look no further than this website to find a score of examples.

  8. Please provide a shred of evidence that it was a " lie "

    You can’t.

    Because it wasn’t.

    There is never perfect knowledge in wartime. Or before or after it.

    Criticize the decision, criticize the aftermath, criticize the prosecution, criticize the men who made the decision, but it is a grave untruth to call the decision to attack and invade Iraq a " lie ". There is zero evidence of that. Zero.

  9. >>There is never perfect knowledge in wartime. <<

    Wrong, there is. There is always perfect knowledge of what your own side tells you, knowledge of what you yourself believe, knowledge of what you know.

    Blair lied about these (and various other things).

    For example, he said that HMG was certain about WMD while he knew that it wasn’t certain.

    He said he believed the war would be legal, yet it later emerged he had been informed by the Attorney General no less that it would be illegal.

    He told the public a few months before the war that there were no plans for an invasion of Iraq; yet several months previously he had agreed to support the US and had committed British troops in the event of an invasion.

    He told the British people defence of the UK was the key concern, and that Saddam could avert action by complying with the UN, yet he had already told the cabinet that his government was primarily interested in regime change.

    His negotiator in the UN was kept informed of military intelligence and said that there was never any indication of any WMDs, neither from the Govt nor from the military, all the time when Blair was telling the public – but not his chief negotiator strangely enough – that there was plenty of evidence of same.

  10. I will set aside the issues of " legality " or about what was said to Parliament or the public. That’s for the British contingent to here to deal with.

    Pete here speaks of the veracity of Blair’s belief that that there were WMDs in the possession of the Iraq government in 2001 through 2002.

    You may criticize his judgment but I still see zero evidence that he lied in his belief that these things existed. His major ally was telling him that they existed and my understanding is that the other intelligence services believed it as well

    In business, govermnment and in every element of human endeavor people reach improper conclusions every day, adding two and two and reaching five. Maybe Blair ( and Bush ) did this. They’re not always " liars ". Sometimes people are simply wrong.

    Intelligence rightly or wrongly is often compartmenatlized and unless you have a need to know you are not informed of everything and should not be informed of everything. The guy at the UN was an important player but it would be entirely plausible that he would not be told the most sensitive information. Why should he know such things?

    There is a case to be made for the war being in error or even that it was wrong, a catastrophe. But saying that it was based on lies is just not true.

  11. Or to be more precise – not proven.

    And even if he did lie, and I don’t accept that he did, he did not " admit " to lying in the linked article

  12. >>I will set aside the issues of " legality " or about what was said to Parliament or the public. <<

    OK, if you set aside the examples of his lies, then of course there will be no examples of his lies.

    And I wasn’t dealing with the issue of legality, just with the issue of his lies, and the legality point shows that he was lying.

    You said there was "not a shred of evidence" that he lied, and I think I have provided much more than that.

  13. Pete’s post was on PM Blair’s comments on WMD and his comments about the war was right even if they did not exist.

    My comments on the lack of " lies " were made about the subject of the post. Not about whether some guy at the UN was kept in the loop, and not about the " legality " of the war.

    There are some here who make the weak claim that the Afghan war is illegal – which calls into question the validity of the concept of legality in such matters. The important question is whether the war was just, or if it was at least thought to be just.

  14. >>Not about whether some guy at the UN was kept in the loop, and not about the " legality " of the war.<<

    You’re still trying to divert attention from the point that refutes your argument.

    Nobody (and I’m saying this for the second time) was talking here about the "legality" or otherwise of the war.

    If someone says he knows XY is the case, and it later emerges that the top expert on the matter in the country, a man entrusted with supreme authority on the subject, had told him beforehand that XY is NOT the case, then you can be sure he was bluffing when he said he knows XY to be the case, i.e. he was telling a lie.

    Go it now? (The above sentence is not a discussion of the merits of XY, by the way).

  15. Noel

    Your 607 spoke of the legality of the war – you introduced that diversion

    There is some possibility that he lied , but again the linked article says no such thing , and proves no evidence pointing to such a thing.

    And a quick perusal of the major British / US media including the anti Blair anti war Guardian indicates that they aren’t saying anything of the sort either.

  16. >>Your 607 spoke of the legality of the war – you introduced that diversion<<

    No, I didn’t. As I explained before, the whole question of "legality" was irrelevant to my comment. The point was that the leading authority told him something which he later said he did not know, i.e. he told a lie there.

    Is it so difficult for you to understand that if someone of the highest authority in the country tells you something, you are telling a lie if you later claim you didn’t know it? Whether it’s the legality of a war or the price of butter or the size of his wife’s tits is irrelevant.

    Think about it.

    Harping on about the legality of the war – or adding further smoke in the form of the legality of the Afghanistan war (!) – won’t get you away from the fact that Blair lied to the British people in the examples I cited.

  17. I do not like Blair at all, however I find it rather amusing, udo, Noel, Colm, did you vote for Blair in 1997, and you did vote for a moral foriegn policy that was in the manifesto and had been explained in detail by Mr Cook before that election, and yet you bitch?

    Regardless of the rights and wrongs of it, you guys voted for a moral foriegn policy that was to stop dictators killing their people without snaction, I voted against Blair and Brown, especially Brown, but in all of this do you not feel shame that this criminal government lead by Saddam was feeding people feet first into shredders or throwing women and childeren into burning tyres.

    I can only express my utter contempt for bicthing about the policy that you voted for, now go back and look at that manifesto and explain why I am wrong?

  18. udo

    You should be in detention for spelling like that.

    If we’re going to put anyone in jail, let’s start with

    the Republicans who criticized Pres Clinton for attacking Al Queda in Sudan

    the sniveling sycophants who criticized the sanctions that aimed to keep Iraq contained

    the French, German and Russian businessmen who aided and abetted the breaking of the weak sanctions regime

    Lets start there. It is substantially those three groups who made the Iraq war necessary. Each has blood on their hands, a stain that can never be removed.

  19. Phantom, is it your contention that Blair did not lie to the British parliament (and by extension the british public) prior to the Iraq war?

    A simple yes or no will suffice.

  20. I don’t know everything that he said

    I do believe that he thought Iraq had WMD if that that is the question and on this most essential point that he told the truth.

    And I’m still not entirely convinced that they didn’t have some WMD capability that was salted away somewhere.

    They did bury planes in the sand – they may well have buried other things too.

    History will be kinder to Blair than you guys on his left and right think.

  21. He believed it, and so did Bush.

    He was getting intel from many sources, and not just those from the UK. His job was to analyze it and to add his own judgment to what the various sources told him.

    You can’t prove a negative. And Saddam had used WMD in the fairly recent past. (The poison gas attack against the Kurds in Halabja, 1988 ) . How could it ever have been proven that these systems did not exist anywhere in a big and secretive country like that?

    The fact that the US and UK believed that WMD existed is borne out by the fact that the US and UK equipped their troops with cumbersome protective gear when they entered the country.

    I think you can make a case that the war was wrong in a hunrdred different ways but I see no reason to believe that either Blair or Bush were evil masterminds who lied their way into war.

    I think that the more valid criticisms would have been

    That the case for regime change before sanctions fell completely should have been made at the same time as the WMD argument. ( Saddam would have rearmed and he would soon be up to his old tricks, menacing his neighbors )

    The poor planning and excecution for the post invasion period.

  22. He believed it, and so did Bush

    Yeah, that they had to convince the public by lying.

    The fact that the US and UK believed that WMD existed is borne out by the fact that the US and UK equipped their troops with cumbersome protective gear when they entered the country.

    And here was I thinking you’d served. Every modern army is issued with such preventative equipment. I suppose all those armies round the world training in counter-NBC are wasting their time.

    Ever preview what you write?

  23. RS

    You’re a cranky wee lass today, aren’t you?

    Reports at the time spoke of the NBC protective suits fully deployed early in the invasion – which was not normally the case even in a battle situation.

    Even in March 2003, those things were damned hot but they wore them anyway.

    Most US, UK and other troops do not carry full kit into the field with them. They did at times in Iraq, very unusual.

    If I have to keep educating you, I will submit a bill.

  24. Phantom, theres an old army saying ‘ Better looking at it than looking for it’.

    Now if your naive enough to think the British govt would never interfere in the army with public opinion in mind thats quite endearing, but remains naive.

    Also could you write to all the worlds armies and instruct them they could save a few quid by axing the training in CBRN and the procurement of suits, its not necessary now Saddam is gone. im sure they would appreciate such efforts from the great Phantom.

    How could it ever have been proven that these systems did not exist anywhere in a big and secretive country like that?

    How can it be proven the USA or Uk doesn’t have them? You don’t seem to realise that the onus was on Bush and Blair ‘to prove’ they did exist. Hence their sexing up and LIES

    "But I think it is quite clear according to our information that those weapons exist."

    BTW if we get paid for educating eachother, you owe me your pension.

    Oh and as i said your naivety is endearing.

  25. "That Blair lied to the British people is as certain as anything in history."

    Noel, he’s a Politician. The best way to see if a Politician is lying is to see if his lips are moving.

  26. All politicians lie

    But there is zero evidence that he didn’t believe in the existence of WMD.

  27. But he did lie when he said that Saddam’s co-operation with the UN inspectors could prevent the invasion. Blair was clearly looking for any Casus Beli and the WMD argument gave him one.

  28. David H

    What is your rambling inconsistent rant all about – apart from being full of ill informed suppositions. You don’t know how I voted in 1997 and you don’t actually know my opinion on the Iraq war, but yet that doesn’t stop you talking made up rubbish about me does it ?

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