On Sunday October 25th, CNN headlined “Tony Blair says he’s sorry for Iraq War ‘mistakes,’ but not for ousting Saddam” and reported:
“I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought,” Blair said in an exclusive interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS that airs Sunday.
Blair was referring to the claim that Saddam’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction, which was used by the U.S. and British governments to justify launching the invasion. But the intelligence reports the claim was based on turned out to be false.
Actually, here’s the Downing Street Memo on that matter (dated 23 July 2002):
“C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
That was written by Matthew Rycroft, to David Manning, John Scarlett, Alastair Campbell, and others. It summarized “PRIME MINISTER’S MEETING, 23 JULY.” Blair was the Prime Minister. The memo then goes on to say:
“The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. [NOTE: He did let them in; they were making progress and were pleading to continue their work when Bush/Blair ordered them out so we could invade.] Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD.” So: Blair at that time considered to be beyond question that Saddam was trying to reconstitute, and was reconstituting, his prior WMD operation.
The memo continues: “There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change.” So: Blair likewise wanted to overthrow the leaders of Libya and of Iran.
So: Blair took some serious questions as being instead simply unquestionable, true beyond doubt. This fits in with his devout religious commitment. He respects faith: that consists only of unproven beliefs, and of the conviction that these beliefs should remain as beliefs no matter how weak the actual evidence for them is. For a person of faith, the less reason there is to believe an allegedly authoritative statement, the stronger his belief in it is. In short: Blair is stupid. But he’s authentically following the Bible there, and he’s committed to it. For example, the Gospel of John opens: “Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and was the same as God.” Then (8:31-32): “Jesus said to the faithful, ‘If you obey my teachings, you are authentically my followers; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Blair is free: he is committed to The Word — not to reality. He’s free from reality, which can be figured out only by lots of careful work, which we call by the name of “science.” It’s a methodology above methodologies; and it demands lack of faith in anything, because it’s the exact opposite of faith, which is the opposite meta-methodology from science. He is the ultimate conformist. And he has become enormously successful as a result.
Therefore: he really is sincere that the problem was “that the intelligence we received was wrong.” He didn’t lie when he spouted what Bush told him; he really was that stupid. His faith was real, though what he believed was false.
He believed this even though he already knew that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” He knew, on 23 July 2002, that the “policy” (invading Iraq) was the goal, and that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around” it. In other words: he didn’t even care whether Saddam really was a threat — Blair simply had faith in Bush, and was willing to send British soldiers to kill, and be killed, for that faith.
Back to the CNN piece:
On the video, starting at 1:25, Blair says: “It’s important also to realize that … ISIS actually came to prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq.” If that belief by him is true, then one might reasonably wonder why the wikipedia article on ISIS doesn’t even mention “Syria” until it reaches: “Syrian Civil War: In March 2011, protests began in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. In the following months, violence between demonstrators and security forces led to a gradual militarisation of the conflict. In August, al-Baghdadi began sending Iraqi members experienced in guerilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organization there. Led by a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad al-Julani, this group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country.” And this statement hardly supports the likelihood that ISIS started in Syria instead of in Iraq. In fact: It denies that, where it asserts: “In August [of 2011], al-Baghdadi began sending Iraqi members experienced in guerilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organization there. Led by a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad al-Julani, this group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country.” ISIS in Syria resulted from the spread of ISIS in Iraq, which had begun in 2006. ISIS spread five years later into Syria. And ISIS in Iraq had begun in 2006, three years after we invaded. Here is how the Politico article that wikipedia used there as its source describes the situation: “He called himself Abu Mohammad al-Golani, and the young fighter, about whom little is known for sure except that he is a veteran of that war against the Americans in Iraq, had been authorized by his boss, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and al Qaeda’s central command to set up a Syrian offshoot of the notorious group.”
In any case, Blair is either stupid, or else lying, because what he’s saying makes no sense, other than as self-‘justifications,’ for whom and what he is — which is either stupid or lying.
On this basis, Blair says in that CNN interview (0:47-): “But I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam. I think even from today in 2015 it is better that he is not there than that he is there.”
Really? The wikipedia article “Casualties of the Iraq War” cites estimates ranging from 174,000 Iraqis killed, to over a million. The most scientific counts (and each of the studies is linked to there), the Lancet study and the PLOS survey, are both in the 500,000-600,000 range. Yet, Blair still says, “I find it hard to apologize” for having done that.
However, the situation is actually even worse than that. On 29 September 2015, I headlined, “GALLUP: ‘Iraqis Are the Saddest & One of the Angriest Populations in the World’,” and reported that, “This Gallup survey covered 1,000 adults in each of 148 countries during 2014.” On page 8 of Gallup’s report is the headline, “Iraqis Are the Saddest & One of the Angriest Populations in the World.” The current residents of Iraq, as surveyed by Gallup, are the saddest people on Earth, or at least in all of the 148 nations they surveyed. And they’re also shown on page 7 to have the world’s “Highest Negative Experience Scores.” That’s an overall score on how frequently the residents experience pain, sadness, stress, and anger. Iraq is number one. In other words, they’re experiencing what’s probably the most miserable lives of any nation on this planet.
We don’t know whether Blair is a liar or only stupid; but, we do know that he’s so callous, that he must qualify as being a psychopath. Can it be that he’s too stupid to recognize this clearly established fact? Somebody should tell him: “Maybe you don’t know it, but knowledgeable people do.”
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.