Sunday, March 27, 2005

Blair avoids the Issue

I was recently speaking to a former senior civil servant about the prime minister's relationship with the truth. "Has he got one?" he asked. He was deadly serious.
John Ware in the Guardian.

Since the leaking of the government censored section of the resignation letter of Elizabeth Wilmshurst, I have been trying to find a statement from Tony Blair on the issue. I predicted a response here, and had to admit that I was wrong here.

The story broke on Wednesday. This is the only reference I have found so far:
"I have long since realised there are groups of people who, however many times we debate this or answer questions, will find new ways to reformulate it with so-called shock-horror revelations - and to have a rerun of the arguments. The only argument that is important is: was the decision right or wrong?"
Tony Blair in the Guardian.

In my opinion it doesn't really address the accusation that Mr Blair is a liar. I have to admit that I haven't searched every news source so I might have missed a more considered response. I would ask my imaginary reader to email me if they have seen or read any responses from Mr Blair concerning this issue.

Blair said that the "only argument that is important is: was the decision right or wrong?" This would be a very good defence if Mr Blair had used the same argument for the invasion before and after it happened. He didn't. The problem is not whether the world is better off without Saddam. The problem is that Mr Blair lied about the reasons for the invasion. Whether he lied in good faith is a matter of opinion but the fact that he lied is not.

"I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go."
G.W. Bush, April 2002, interview with Trevor McDonald.

"I'm with you."
Tony Blair in conversation with G.W. Bush on the subject of Iraq, 7th September, 2002.
Both cited by Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack, p119 & p178.

"No one wants military conflict. The whole purpose of putting this before the UN is to demonstrate the united determination of the international community to resolve this in the way it should have been resolved years ago: through a proper process of disarmament under the UN."
Tony Blair, 24th September 2002, Hansard.

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