I could have quoted any number of press articles on Tony Blair and the Chilcot report today. This just happened to be the first one that came to hand.
The press reaction really isn’t important to This Writer, you see. I want to know what Vox Political readers think.
Do any of you believe the war was justified, as Ann Clwyd still does (apparently)? Have any of you come to believe that? Did you support the war and turn away? Do you think Saddam Hussein had to go, no matter the cost? Do you think the war contributed to the rise of new terrorist groups like Daesh – sometimes called Islamic State – as laid out in the ‘cycle of international stupidity’ (above)? Do you think it didn’t? Do you think Blair wanted a war because they put national politicians on the international stage? Do you think he improved or diminished the UK’s international standing? Do you think the UK has gained from the war, or suffered as a result?
There are so many questions. I’d love to see your answers.
Tony Blair is damned. We have seen establishment whitewashes in the past: from Bloody Sunday to Hillsborough, officialdom has repeatedly conspired to smother truth in the interests of the powerful. But not this time. The Chilcot inquiry was becoming a satirical byword for taking farcically long to execute a task; but Sir John will surely go down in history for delivering the most comprehensively devastating verdict on any modern prime minister.
Those of us who marched against the Iraq calamity can feel no vindication, only misery that we failed to prevent a disaster that robbed hundreds of thousands of lives – those of 179 British soldiers among them – and which injured, traumatised and displaced millions of people: a disaster that bred extremism on a catastrophic scale.
One legacy of Chilcot should be to encourage us to be bolder in challenging authority, in being sceptical of official claims, in standing firm against an aggressive agenda spun by the media. Lessons must be learned, the war’s supporters will now declare. Don’t let them get away with it. The lessons were obvious to many of us before the bombs started falling.
And now Chilcot agrees that the war was indeed based on “flawed intelligence and assessments” that were not “challenged, and they should have been”. Nelson Mandela was among those who, in the runup to war, accused Blair and Bush of undermining the United Nations. Mandela lies vindicated. As Chilcot says: “We consider that the UK was … undermining the security council’s authority.”
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