9 comments

  • >I remember all the arguments for and against war in 2003. I don't think Blair was aware that Iraq didn't have Weapons of Mass Destruction. And I also think that in his statement he was lying. We all know Blair for his mastery in spin. But the problem with such political lies is that when you get it wrong you end up saying something that's hard to justify because it's not correspondent with your own views.Blair doesn't want to put out the message that our time and efforts in Iraq were wasted. In fact to do so may further de-stabilise the region. In my view what he said seemed to be carefully calculated. He wanted to say that British forces have done a good job; and that Iraq is better off without a leader who uses chemical weapons on his own people. And this is precisley true.However his message is unlikely to be what he truly believed. With that logic i.e. that the intervention was for human rights purposes, there were many other regions in the world in greater need of intervention. So either he was acting due to benefits he thought the US could provide, and through personal emotional commitments to the Middle East, or he was genuinely mistaken and is now saying otherwise in order to avoid greater destabilisation. Of course there is some truth in both assertions but I think the second reason to be significant.

  • >Yes, Blair is a war criminal.First because it is a rock hard fact that Blair and Bush did not have UN approval for an invasion. Therefore this was an illegal act. Second, i dispute your claim that Balir wasn't aware that Iraq had no waepons of MD. Hans Blix had stated that he had not found any and that he did not think they did have any. Hans Blix was also from the UN correct? So this is twice that Balir had disregarded the rule of international law to go to war.And what were Blair's arguments against these facts? He had a 'belief'.Well thats ok then.As long as we allw that precedent set by him and Bush to be used by future war-mongers.Last is the point of irony. Blair dismissed over 2 million protesters marching in the streets of his own country, and a number of resignations from his government so that he could go to war to bring the 'gift of democracy' to the heathens.the same democracy and rule of law that he ran roughshod over to set upon the task of killing approx. 1 million iraq citizens. killed them dead. and displaced a lot more, and generally just fucked up the lives of those who escaped the first two consequences of his actions.will Blair be charged as a war criminal?not a chance in hell.

  • >The accusation that Blair is a war criminal is based on the assumption that it was solely his decision to go to war. But March 2003: the UK Parliament voted to invade Iraq by 412 to 149. If Blair is found to be a war criminal then so must almost the entire Parliament.As for the evidence for or against WMD, well there wasn't much on either side. Yes there were reports, such as those from Hans Blix (head of the UN monitoring, verification and inspection commission but not the "rule of international law"), saying that there weren't any. But there were many others saying the opposite. There were a huge amount of damning reports coming from the UN. In fact I think there were 18, or possibly more UN resolutions accusing Iraq of illegal activity and asking for cooperation in concerns of disarmament. Blair even received a false intelligence report from MI6. So perhaps it was a belief but it was one backed by a hell of a lot of people, and maybe it was a guess but it was not an uneducated guess.When it started to come to the huge protests Blair should have realised the extent to which people were against the war and acted how he was supposed to act i.e. democratically. However once the invasion was started he did have a responsibility to the Iraqi people to ensure that Britain did not simply pull out to leave a country in ruins and in the grip of civil war.As for the conduct of the war, yes the Iraq War and war in Afghanistan have been fought poorly. This is not due to the military; they have fought well. It is because for the most part politicians do not understand the nature of war they have gotten involved in (and still do not today). The actions of politicians are far more important in such conflicts than standard pitched battles.So in conclusion, did I agree with the decision to invade? No, but the elected Parliament did. Hence some responsibility does fall to the people (I was too young to vote then so I escape any responsibility, lol). Blair was upholding the laws of the UK. He broke with conventions to ask for Parliament's support and hence his decision to go to war was actually more democratic than most past wars. Do I think the war was/is being fought well? No. Blair went into the Middle East with a serious lack of understanding of military strategy in such encounters. He did not understand how crucial it was to win the hearts and minds of the people, and made very little in the way of a plan for what would happen after the war was won. But once the mistakes had been made should he have pulled the troops out? Absolutely not! To do so would only have made the situation worse than had the West never gone in the first place. So should Blair be charged with war crimes? He should not have acted without UN approval, and to do so could be defined as a crime. But in order to do so would involve accusing thousands of people around the world of war crimes. He is and will be accused of making childish decisions, and acting in an undemocratic manner. But as you say Sean it is unlikely that he will be tried as it is practically very inconvenient. His crime is nowhere near the league of other crimes listed on legal documents about what constitutes a war crime. It would also be kind of hipocritical to find Blair guilty of such crimes when so many others have invaded another country against the will of the UN, in a less democratic fashion, and recieved not such much as a slap on the wrist. But if we can strengthen the UN and make future verdicts stick then in my opinion maybe Blair should be given some minor punishment. To not do so weakens the UN for it is seen as easy to ignore what the UN says. Indeed this is exactly what destroyed the League of Nations. Their verdicts could not be backed up.

  • >Do you think Blair's 'breaking with tradition' in asking for parliaments support was more to do with his generosity or with his desire to not be solely responsible?that's not rhetorical.WMD – 'there were many other reports saying the opposite'. But who was the internationally appointed expert? Hans Blix right?It's all very convenient to respect the opinions of the UN and their commissions when it supports your view and disregard it when it is contrary to your goals.All the nations of the world bar the US, UK, Aus, Spain, and one other minor country believed in Hans Blix's findings and agreed and supported the UN's position. It seems that the facts of the situation were plainly obvious to 143 countries but not the other 5? Strange.Blair asserted last week he still would have invaded Iraq even if he knew they didn't have WMDs. Does this not bring you to the conclusion that Blair had a bias towards invading Iraq and was happy and willing to use any unofficial findings that showed Iraq to have such weapons?

  • >The conduct of the war is not important for this debate, although i do entirely disagree with your assertion that the lack of results has nothing to do with the military.Blair is not responsible for the operations in the field of battle and all expert advice comes from his war cabinet and military advisors.Therefore it IS the responsibility/fault of the military.It is only Blairs job to make sure they don't go totally off the road map.

  • >Of course Blair's decision to ask the Parliament was due to his desire to not be held solely responsible. But nevertheless it happened. Irrelevent of the intentions the result is the same.As for Hans Blix being the expert that Blair should have listened to I agree with you. But I'm sure Blair could argue that there were nationally appointed experts that he believed worthy of more trust.As for Blair's decision to go against the UN's verdict I already said that he should not have acted without UN approval. To do so he risked severely weakening the international system. Thankfully he avoided this outcome by weakening his own reputation. And yes I do believe his reputation is the best one to pick to deteriorate. For a weak United Nations could be an underlying cause of World War 3.But as for his statement that he would have believed it right to invade anyway; as I have said I think he is lying in order to give credit to the continuing operations there.As for my assertion that the lack of results has nothing to do with the military, I never said that! I simply said that the military have fought well, and they have. This should be recognised and they should be congratulated for a job well done.However civilian casualties have been far too high, military men who acted in the wrong have not always been held to account, and they have been on the whole, too slow to realize that they are there to help. But most of the problems, and indeed these problems too stem ultimately down to the lack of action by politicians. It should have been politicians mapping out plans for after the invasion. It should have been politicians ensuring that those who suffered personal losses saw accountability and were helped back on their feet. It should have been politicians creating the winning formulas for winning over the people. It should have been the politicians ensuring that people who went into Iraq and Afghanistan were properly educated, could speak the language, and understood the culture. And above all it was the responsibility of the politicians to ensure that after the military took control of the country, there were detailed plans to be immediately put into action and get the country back on the path to recovery. These things did not happen! Some blame could be attributed to some soldiers, but a lot of blame can be attributed to politicians like Bush and Blair.

  • >The arguments to refrain from invasion were strong.the arguments to go to war were weak.why did Blair choose to believe the weaker arguments?because of his 'personal beliefs'.he then persuaded his parliament to follow him. As the leader with whom the buck stops, he is therefore finally responsible.This has been recognized by a world in which the opinion of Blair has deteriorated as you say.unfortunately this is the extent of the repercussions that will effect Blair as he will not be held to account for the instrumental role he played in the killing of 1 million Iraqi citizens.

  • >I'd be careful if I were you now. For your criticism that Blair acted on his beliefs could be closely related to you acting on your beliefs of what evidence was stronger. To say that you know because of hindsight is an unfair advantage. There were many people at the time saying that the evidence for wmd in Iraq was the stronger set of evidence.

  • >Thanks for the advice but you're not me.None of 'those many people' were working for the independant UN commission.I stand by my criticism of Blair being biased in his decision and it has little to do with hindsight, although hindsight has confirmed what Blairs critics argued at the time.

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