06 July 2016

The Chilcot Report is Out, and It's 12 Volumes of Whup Ass

The reporting is reveals the mendacity, incompetence, and complete impotenceof Tony Blair on Iraq:
The Chilcot inquiry has delivered a damning verdict on the decision by former prime minister Tony Blair to commit British troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. It says:

The UK chose to join the invasion before peaceful options had been exhausted
Chilcot is withering about Blair’s choice to join the US invasion. He says: “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”

Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein
Chilcot finds that Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime as he sought to make the case for military action to MPs and the public in the buildup to the invasion in 2002 and 2003. The then prime minister disregarded warnings about the potential consequences of military action, and relied too heavily on his own beliefs, rather than the more nuanced judgments of the intelligence services. “The judgments about Iraq’s capabilities ... were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” the report says.

Blair promised George Bush: ’I will be with you, whatever’
Tony Blair wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion to offer his unqualified backing for war well before UN weapons inspectors had complete their work, saying: “I will be with you, whatever.” In a six-page memo marked secret and personal, the then British prime minister told Bush, US president at the time, in July 2002 that the removal of Saddam Hussein would “free up the region” even if Iraqis may “feel ambivalent about being invaded”. It was one of 29 letters Blair sent to Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war, during the conflict and in its devastating aftermath, released on Wednesday as part of the Chilcot report.
"I will be with you whatever".

He really was Bush's Poodle.

I would also note that current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is suggesting that the parliament should take some sort of action against blair, which implies that he is generally supportive of efforts by some Scottish National Party MPs to draft bills of impeachment against Blair: (Impeachment is a very different thing in the UK)
Senior figures from Labour and the Scottish National party are considering calls for legal action against Tony Blair if the former prime minister faces severe criticisms from the long-awaited inquiry into the war in Iraq.

A number of MPs led by Alex Salmond are expected to use an ancient law to try to impeach the former prime minister when the Chilcot report comes out on Wednesday.

The law, last used in 1806 when the Tory minister Lord Melville was charged for misappropriating official funds, is seen in Westminster as an alternative form of punishment that could ensure Blair never holds office again.

Triggering the process simply requires an MP to propose a motion and provide supporting evidence as part of a document called the article of impeachment which has no time limit placed upon it. If the impeachment attempt is approved by MPs, the defendant is delivered to Black Rod [kind of like a sergeant at arms] before a trial.

A simple majority is required to convict, at which point a sentence can be passed which could, in theory, involve Blair being sent to prison. However, MPs have said the attempt will be symbolic and is unlikely to result in imprisonment.

Salmond, the former Scottish first minister, said there “has to be a judicial or political reckoning” for Blair’s role in the Iraq conflict. “He seemed puzzled as to why Jeremy Corbyn thinks he is a war criminal, why people don’t like him,” he told Sky News.

“The reason is 179 British war dead, 150,000 immediate dead from the Iraq conflict, the Middle East in flames, the world faced with an existential crisis on terrorism – these are just some of the reasons perhaps he should understand why people don’t hold him in the highest regard.

“[MPs] believe you cannot have a situation where this country blunders into an illegal war with the appalling consequences and at the end of the day there isn’t a reckoning. There has to be a judicial or political reckoning for that.”

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, did not disagree with the suggestion that he and Corbyn were going to “crucify” the former leader for “being a war criminal”.
I really hope that Blair is impeached.

It would result in his living he rest of his life in well-deserved disgrace, and it would also mean that his lucrative consultancy business would likely be dashed.

I'd like to see jail time, but that won't happen, so disgrace is the best one can hope for.


Stephen Montsaroff said...

Actually, the meaning of impeached in both the US and UK is the same -- to accuse formally. Hence the 18th C London street slang "to 'peach" someone for turning state's evidence.

After conviction, which can be for any reason what so ever, an individual is said to be attainded.

This is forbidden in our constitution (note that conviction following impeachment only removes from office), as it was seen (correctly in my view) a terrible breach of due process and a tool of tyrany.

Even a 'formal' punishment would be a violation of the European and UN Human rights documents.

It is a bad, bad precedent to revive this.

Matthew Saroff said...

Unfortunately, the ICC has washed their hands of Blair, so I am not sure what should be done.

Stephen Montsaroff said...

Whatever it is, attainder is not a good idea.

He did something you didn't like, but I don't see any laws he broke. And no, I don't think going to a war on a false pretext is a crime. It's just international relations. If he sincerely believed it was the right thing to do at the time, he should have done it.

If it is a crime to lie to Parliament, then try that.

This smacks of the retroactive punishments for failure and post facto law making.

You are opening a big door for the other side if you go there, just because you hat Blair.

Matthew Saroff said...

One of the things that the report says is that Blair lied to Parliament on an issue of going to war.

That ain't just politics.

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