Sunday, November 12, 2006

Remembrance Sunday; Tony Blair and War

On this day of remembrance for those brave men and women
who died to two world wars so that we might remain free,
it is natural for thoughts also to turn to the
war in Iraq British troops are engaged in.
I can do little better than to republish
my musings on this topic from the Sharecrazy bulletin boards
some weeks back:


GordonF Greetings :cool:

As one who tends to regard the British Political
establishment both in and out of government as being,
flawed though it is, above average in terms
of integrity, it took a great deal for
me to conclude that TB lied us into war.
Although I did not vote for his party, I well recall
as I am sure you do, the feeling of optimism
that prevailed following Labour's victory
following on from years of Tory rule, the latter
years of which were widely regarded as sliding
into sleaze.

TB's style has undoubtedly always been one
of keeping an eye on what the media say or
might say. He has had special media spin
doctors working for him as of course i accept, do
many others. I don't like the current
concern in government and elsewhere for
what the media thinks. One of the disadvantages
is that politicians trying to influence the media
tend to adopt sound bite type media releases.
Otherwise those sections of the electorate with short
attention spans will not pick up the influence
and the point the politician is trying to make
will be lost.

The relevant background to the "lie" aspect is
imho succinctly contained in the following
BBC analysis:

"On 24 September 2002 the UK government published an intelligence dossier outlining its concerns over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, including the claim that Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes.


In the foreword, Mr Blair said that "this issue was a current and serious threat to the UK national interest".


On 18 March 2003, just before the UK went to war with Iraq, Mr Blair told the House of Commons that it was "palpably absurd" to accept that Saddam Hussein "contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence" had "decided unilaterally to destroy these weapons".

Since the war extensive searches by the US-led Iraq Survey Group after the war failed to uncover any nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

The Oxford dictionary defines a lie as a "statement the speaker knows to be untrue"....
With hindsight, everyone agrees that much of the intelligence that the UK (and US) government published to justify their case for war against Iraq was unreliable.

Mr Howard believes Mr Blair lied. He told Breakfast with Frost: "The intelligence that he had, as we know from the Butler report... was limited sporadic and patchy. When Mr Blair came to report that to the country, he said he had intelligence that was extensive, detailed and authoritative. Maybe you can reconcile those two different sets of words. I can't. I think that portraying the intelligence in that way was untrue."

The Liberal Democrats do not accuse Mr Blair of lying, but they say the UK was taken to war on a "false prospectus". Pressed on whether Mr Blair had lied, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said he could not say that because: "Only he (Tony Blair) knows if he was telling the truth when addressing the House of Commons."

Mr Blair denies lying or misrepresenting the intelligence on Iraq's weapons. He has acknowledged (at September's Labour Party conference) that "the evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong. I acknowledge and accept that. I simply point out that it was agreed by the whole international community."


He says that, even now knowing that the intelligence was wrong, he cannot apologise for taking the tough decision to remove Saddam Hussein, and says he believes the world is a better place without him. He has consistently stressed that he respects the views of opponents of the war.

Ultimately, as he has said on a number of occasions, it is a question of his judgement rather than his character - and voters will have the chance to deliver their verdict on polling day."


The reason I dwelt on the Labour government's
concerns to influence the media and its spin doctor
approach, is that that apporoach necessitates the use of soundbites.
Soundbites inform or misinform some far
more easily than reasoned arguement. If you
use soundbites the you risk straying into
the realm of balck or white infomation without greys.


If the issues had been put to the people
in the well argued way set out in some of the posts
above, especially yours and Slaters, then you
would surely be right and my word "lie" would be wrong.
Unfortunately your well reasoned arguments
are not now and would not have been at the time,
compatible with the spin and sound bite mentality
that has taken hold in the higher echallons of
government. Sound bites require the people to be
told in black and white. The way in which
it was put at the time led the people to believe
that there were WMD and that
there was a clear and present danger from the same.
No discernible effort was made at the time to
dispell that impression. If that impression was
not what TB intended, he had opportunity to
express caveats but failed to do so.
For a politcian I would extend the meaning of lie to
include being recklessly careless with the truth
or permiting others under you to be so.

By that yardstick at least, I am afraid to say that the
British Prime Minister lied the nation to war
and should resign. :shocked:

All imho.

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