Saturday, 30 January 2010

Chilcot's Blair Damb Squib

Well what exactly did we learn from Tony Blair's appearance before the Chilcot inquiry yesterday.

Pretty much nothing, as Jackie Ashley writes in today's Guardian:

"the inquiry members had failed to nail him on the central issue of their quest – why had he taken the country to war when the Attorney General's advice had been lukewarm at least, on the legality of such action?"

So what was the point?

Blair even tried to turn on to the offensive asking where Saddam would be in 2010 if he hadn't taken action. Well a decade on from the first Gulf War we saw exactly what a decade of sanctions against arm deals to Iraq had left him. Jonathan Freeland puts it like this:

"To which the answer is surely that the 2003 invasion exposed Saddam and his ragtag army as a toothless tiger, whose rusting arsenal would be even more useless seven years on than it was then."

The former Prime Minister:
  • gave no substantial ground over why he sent 40,000 UK troops to war to disarm Saddam of weapons he did not possess
  • blamed blamed 'the very near failure of the Iraqi occupation' on Iranian interference
  • arguing that if the west had backed off Saddam would have reassembled the invisible WMDs
As for regrets. He had none saying as his parting statement:

"Responsibility – but not a regret for removing Saddam Hussein. I think he was a monster."

This led to the jeers and calls of 'murderer' and 'liar' from the public gallery.

But then did we expect anything else key questions were left out from Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith's questioning. There was the lack of the Paxman punch to get any answers to the tough questions. The real answers that needed to be got at were left out, there wasn't that sense of digging any deeper. Fern Britton proved to be a tougher, if shorter, inquisitor of Blair than Chilcot.


  1. "Well what exactly did we learn from Tony Blair's appearance before the Chilcot inquiry yesterday"

    Stephen, you're an intelligent man. There was nothing to learn and there never was anything to learn. Was he going to bare his bum and reveal a TB luvs JWB tattoo, no. We pretty much knew everything already.

    Then you ask...
    "So what was the point?"

    Damn good question. As one the Lib Dems pushed hard for this inquiry, maybe you can explain what the point was.
    There wasn't one, it was a pathetic idea to pander to the newspapers and irrational people calling for a pointless inquiry.

  2. It's not an inquisition, there is no examination or cross-examination. It's an inquiry, so no surprise.

    Testimony will be cross-referenced with the documentary record, some of which will be out of sight, some documents unpublished.

    I suspect Blair will be back, in public and possibly in private. I hope a future Tory government will declassify all the documents.