and now to Tony…

Posted on Friday 29 January 2010

Tony Blair at the Chilcot Inquiry 4:30 AM-7:00 AM: I’m sure Tony Blair didn’t have to stay after school for not doing his homework – he’s a bundle of information [and vivacity]. The risk assessment of Iraq changed after 911. The options were: UK containment, UN containment, remove Saddam [UN 1409]. He says Regime Change versus WMD is a false dichotome, they are interrelated. Blair denies agreeing to Regime Change at Crawford in April ["in blood"], though he did commit to stand "shoulder to shoulder." He confirms that the UK policy was to go the "UN Route." Tony Blair is a smart guy – seems principled, informed, and sincere. When he talks about Bush, he speaks of him as a colleague [rather than as a dolt].  He was grilled about the "dossier" [September 24, 2002] in which he said "I believe" "beyond doubt" that Saddam was continuing his WMD program. There were a lot of questions of timing and the issue of "the second resolution." Blair obviously tried to draft a "second resolution" with clears tests of compliance, but the block was clear at that time. Russia and France were set to veto any resolution that lead to the use of force. Comes now the break for lunch and my need to go to my volunteer job. So I’ll view the afternoon session belatedly after a day at the clinic.

[see Citing 9/11, Blair Defends Legacy at Iraq Inquiry]…

Tony Blair at the Chilcot Inquiry, Afternoon Session: In the grilling of Tony Blair about the legality decision, Blair seemed to stick to the details of Lord Goldsmith’s final decision [the "revival argument" is valid – the invasion is "legal"] and Blair avoided that Goldsmith’s argument was a minority opinion or that it was a eleventh hour decision. In this area, Blair couldn’t get out of the "what was done" position into looking at "what was done." In the area of post-invasion planning, Blair kept saying "we planned for the wrong thing," not "we planned poorly." I must say, throughout this grilling which was confrontive, or as confrontive as the British seem to get, Tony Blair held his own. He is, indeed, a lawyer.

I have nothing to say about the late discussion of post regime change Iraq.
    January 29, 2010 | 3:16 PM

    My media watch continues. WSJ a couple of days ago, and today Talking Points Memo noted (in a minor blurb) that Tony Blair was testifying today.

    Let’s see if Blair’s star power will be enough to interest the NYT or even HP.

    How can anything so important be so ignored? Or is it a highly effective, massive conspiracy to avoid the whole thing, because . . . who knows where it might lead. . ?.

    January 29, 2010 | 11:40 PM

    Well there is “some” coverage and I can’t fathom the CIA or State conspiring to suppress the data. We’re inclined to an insularity of sorts. Even at this stage of the game, “we” are not really that interested in what Europeans are doing….a residue of Charles Lindbergh perhaps? There are lots of good historical reasons for not caring much about what Europeans are up to…they gave us slavery and all manner of pernicious norms. Blair is correct at a certain level. Iraq, Kuwait, Kurdistan are certainly safer without Saddam. The world? I’m not convinced that he and his regime weren’t about to crumble under its own weight and “we” had no moral imperative at the time we invaded. Moral rationale perhaps. “We” had a moral imperative in Rwanda and we failed at that one too.

    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible but in the end they always fall…think of it – always.” (Ghandi)

    January 30, 2010 | 10:24 AM

    Well, the NYT and even the Atlanta paper covered Tony Blair’s testimony. Star power trumps real substance, because the real damaging testimony came earlier from others. Blair defended the decision — saying that 9/11 brought home how much at risk the world was from terrorists with WMD, so it all suddenly looked more dangerous and demanded action.

    He didn’t acftually say Sadaam was behind 9/11, but just as Bush did in 1993, he makes the link in such a way that people who want to believe it take it as such.

    In contrast, testimony from others, that Mickey has followed for us here, gives a much more manipulative, calculated process of “fixing the facts” to support the already-made decision by Bush & Co.

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