Tony Blair is a sad pathetic excuse for a human being, Even the New York Times acknowledged, yesterday, something that he still refuses to: Iraqis have suffered, and still suffer, enormously from the 2003 invasion and its continuing aftermath. "Widen the lens more broadly over Iraq, and a panorama of suffering that most Iraqis attribute to bad decisions by the United States and Britain comes into view: more than three million people displaced from their homes because of fighting with the Islamic State; cities in rubble; a barely functional government facing a severe financial crisis; Iranian-controlled militias that seem more powerful than the Iraqi Army," the Times reports. "Some Iraqis took a modicum of satisfaction in seeing Mr. Blair, who made a statement on Wednesday in which he said he took "full responsibility" for any mistakes related to the war, called to account for his decisions."
More Iraqis died in the Sunday suicide bombing in Baghdad than did British soldiers during the entire war, the Times notes. Haidar Sumeri, an Iraqi analyst who made the comparison on Twitter, wrote in an email, "It highlights the degree of irrelevance of Iraqi suffering in the West." He continued: "People see another bombing in Baghdad, roll their eyes, make a comment about how bad it is there and move on. No one really likes to think about how we got here, how we can change the situation or learn from what happened so it doesn't happen again."
In this regard, the Telegraph says of Blair, "Tony Blair was sorrowful. But he wasn't sorry." Blair apologized for many things, "But he wouldn't apologise for the invasion of Iraq itself. He still believed it had been "the right thing to do". He still believed he would take the same decision again, in the same circumstances, with the same information. And he still believed – still – that the world was a safer place because of what he, and George W Bush, had done. He wasn't sorry for any of that. No matter how sorry he looked. And he did look sorry: sorry in the sense of wretched, miserable, diminished." And Blair's problem is this: "If people don't believe he was honest in taking the country to war, they won't believe he's honest in anything."
Reuters characterized Blair's two-hour dramatic performance of yesterday as coming down to one message: "Please stop saying I was lying." According to Reuters, Blair was at times contrite and emotional, and at others clearly angry at the way his actions had been portrayed. "If you disagree with me fine, but please stop saying I was lying or I had some sort of dishonest or underhand motive," he said. "'You lied about the intelligence' - that's what people say the whole time," Blair said. "Actually if people are being fair and read the whole report, that allegation should be put to rest, because it's not true and it never was true."
The Independent was even less charitable. "The former Prime Minister seemed to be emotionally on edge. His voice sometimes appeared to be almost cracking. He was defending something that is very hard to defend, and presenting a version of the story that did not always fit well with reality, or with the findings of yesterday's report." Deep in its coverage the Independent draws from the Chilcot report that Blair told his cabinet members very little about what his real intentions were with respect to Iraq. The whole business of going to the UN to get an "ultimatum" was, itself, just a cover. Privately, "Blair told the US President that he did not believe that the Iraqi dictator would give up his forbidden weapons – and we now know that he could not, because he did not have any. Saddam Hussein's fate was, therefore, sealed in Crawford."
Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who always opposed the war, was, on the other hand, very apologetic on behalf of the Labour party. "The decision to go to war in Iraq has been a stain on our party and our country," he said, after a private meeting with families who lost members in the war. said Labour MPs who, unlike him, voted for the war "were misled by a small number of leading figures in the Government who were committed to joining the US invasion of Iraq come what may and were none too scrupulous about how they made their case for war". Corbyn declared: "So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003. That apology is owed first of all to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed. They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years."
Earlier, in the House of Commons, he called the Iraq war an "act of military aggression, launched on a false pretext" and the "colonial style occupation" that followed led to the rise of ISIS. The Blairites were reportedly very unhappy with his statement. "It was an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext, as the Inquiry accepts, and has long been regarded as illegal by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion," he went on. "It led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of refugees. It devastated Iraq's infrastructure and society. The occupation fostered a lethal sectarianism that turned into a civil war. Instead of protecting security at home or abroad the war fuelled and spread terrorism across the region."
The one thing he didn't do, and this was a point of disappointment for the families of British military personnel killed in the war, was call for Blair's prosecution.
David Cameron, however, would not apologize for the war. During a parliamentary debate on the report, Conservative MP John Baron asked: "Will the Prime Minister now do something that no government has done since 2003? "That is, finally and unequivocally, admit that this intervention was both wrong and a mistake." Cameron replied: "I think people should read the report and come to their own conclusion. Clearly the aftermath of this conflict was profoundly disastrous in so many ways. I don't move away from that all."
Baron, some may recall, played a key role in 2013 in preventing a British attack on Syria, which would've been alongside the one that Obama was contemplating.
Meanwhile, the Bush-Cheney Gang Remains As Deluded As Blair
GW Bush said, through a spokesman, yesterday, that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. "Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, spokesman Freddy Ford said in a statement, reports the Independent. Furthermore, "President Bush believes we must now find the unity and resolve to stay on the offensive and defeat radical extremism wherever it exists."
Karl Rove, meanwhile, flatly denied that the war and occupation had anything to do with the chaos that followed. Instead, it was the fault of Obama. He defended the invasion, he defended the war, and he defended both Bush and Blair saying that "The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein." In an interview with The Telegraph, he said the idea that Saddam's removal had unleashed the sectarian violence that gave rise to Isil was "twisting it to the extreme." It was Obama who screwed it up by withdrawing US troops at the end of 2011.
The Guardian provides a roundup of other reaction from the US side, the indicates the degree of delusion among these guys. Paul Bremer, the least defensive of the gang, admitted that there was a failure of planning for the aftermath of the invasion. Former Bush speech writer David Frum argued the invasion of Iraq actually offered Iraqis a better future. Whatever [the] West's mistakes: sectarian war was a choice Iraqis made for themselves," he claimed, citing Syria as "proof" of his contention. David Wurmser, who was a Middle East advisor to Cheney, blamed the sectarian warfare and the terrorism on Syria and Iran (the Saudis, of course, get off scot free).
No word from Cheney, yet. He's probably still looking for those WMDs.