Iraq War: Blair Held Accountable While Bush Enjoys Retirement

Today is a good day for accountability and democracy in the United Kingdom. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is facing UK’s Iraq war independent inquiry panel for six hours in what some people in England have called his “judgment day.” Although Blair is not on trial and does not face any legal consequences, this could give some people in the UK a sense of justice and closure for a war based on false premises and manufactured evidence.

It is obvious that Tony Blair was not the main driving force for the illegal invasion of Iraq, the decision was made in Washington. And, as matter of fact, it seems that the decision to invade Iraq was made within the Bush administration right in the aftermath of the attack of September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, Tony Blair’s support gave George W. Bush a vague legitimacy and justification for dragging the world into the folly of the war in Iraq.

Tony Blair was greeted today by hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered outside the building where the inquiry is being held. They include the relatives of the 179 British soldiers who have died during the conflict and were shouting: “Blair war criminal!” Anger over the war runs deep in the UK, especially from members of the families of soldiers who got killed in Iraq. If the war in Iraq can be considered to be a crime, Tony Blair was the Bush Administration’s key accomplice.

Facing some tough questions today, Blair stated that “the 9/11 attack changed his perception of everything.” He also mentioned that he tried to convince George W. Bush to go to the United Nations first, before invading Iraq. Sitting before the panel, Blair described the private meeting he had with Bush in 2002. He said he told the President that “we are going to be with you in confronting and dealing with this threat.”

Blair argued to the panel that “Britain needed to be involved in the decision, not just because of its strong links with the United States but also because the proliferation of Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD) threatened Britain.” Blair then described Saddam Hussein as a “monster” who used chemical weapons on his own people, and he couldn’t run the risk of such a regime being allowed to develop WMDs.

It seems ludicrous that Tony Blair used the tired argument of the WMDs, but what is striking is what Blair said about 9/11 changing his perception of everything. It is as if, rationality and cold headed decisions were thrown out of the window by the former British Prime Minister and replaced by the misguided irrationality of George W. Bush. The Weapons of Mass Destruction never existed of course, but what did exist was the delusion shared by Tony Blair and his partner-in-crimes George W. Bush. Such an inquiry against a former PM is unprecedented in Britain, and it is a sign that democracy is still alive and well in the UK. It is too bad we will never have a similar independent inquiry in the US; this is quite a shame and not a great sign of health for a democracy.

For a complete day-by-day timeline of the Iraq war inquiry click here.


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