“I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” he told CNN. “I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”
This is from an article in the Guardian about Tony Blair’s interview in the US on the Iraq War. It’s all disconnected and yet all so obviously connected so completely.
It’s about attitude. It’s about belief and arrogance and superiority and a sense of hubris. It all links.
This article, and others, hint at Tony Blair apologising for his role in the Iraq War and the subsequent catastrophe that has engulfed the gulf…not strictly true, yes…I can never resist a literary technique…
But it doesn’t, of course. Look at the sentence again. He’s sorry that other people provided him with information that has proven to be inaccurate – not his fault. He was only acting on the information he had in front of him. Whilst we can all see this part for the pernicious bullshit that it is, it is the second part of the quotation that really sticks in the craw:
“some of the mistakes in the planning” – which ones? Why are you sorry for these mistakes and not the other mistakes that your admission hints at but does not engage with? Which mistakes are you happy to stand by? Are you happy to stand by, for instance, the claim that Iraq could arm missiles with chemical warheads in forty five minutes? Are you happy to stand by the map the newspapers printed the next day that demonstrated the capability of these missiles and that “our lads” in Cyprus, and their families…and all the ex-part families…and all the holiday makers, let alone the Cypriots, the Greeks and the Turks, were all in danger of being gassed/burned within forty five minutes of the order being given?
We knew that Saddam would indeed gas people. We had seen him do it…in fact, we had given him the coordinates in the first instance so he could gas Iranian soldiers…then we watched as he gassed his own citizens in Halabja. See, Saddam was a bastard of the first order! Except, of course, we’d already been to war over that and we did not deem it sufficient enough to go after “regime change” in 1990. Then, we smacked him on the wrist and then let him viciously put down the uprising that could have predicated regime change…except it was occurring at a time we did not believe it to be beneficial for us…so we sat back and let the Iraqi army puff its chest up, bully the natives and restore its machismo.
We need these journalists to now pursue Blair and get him to elaborate on this admission: list the mistakes you are apologising for and list the mistakes you are not apologising for. The fact you have stated you are only apologising for “some” of the mistakes acknowledges that you know there are more. Explain.
“our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime” – this is an interesting one.
In my day job I often have recourse to read a poem by Carol Ann Duffy called Education for Leisure. It is a startling poem and one that all should read; then pause to reflect on its gloriousness, and then read again. Daily. One of the things of note about this poem is the shift in personal pronoun. Throughout the poem, the narrator uses pronouns that refer to the self – me, I, my, etc… Right at the end of the poem, the narrator uses the pronoun “you”. It shifts the perspective of the poem and it means you, the reader, are either stabbed or being approached for help. The ambiguity of the line is magic. Personal pronouns.
“Our”, “Our”, “You”. Ownership, ownership, blame. Or, if not blame then certainly distance. This choice of word speaks volumes about the way Blair perceives himself. In the very act of confession he distances himself from the heinous act of overthrowing a sovereign state and places the blame for this on “our” shoulders. “once you removed the regime” It is a terrible act of doublespeak and one that should see Blair hoist on a rhetorical petard soon, sooner, soonest. There is no way in this world that Blair would speak the word “we” in that sentence, which is the word that should rightly have been used. It would have gone some way to mollifying the public and could have a genuine first step on the way to some form of redemption. In fact the petard should not be one made of rhetoric, it should be one made of courts. And hence, of prison.
The past few blogs of mine have sounded like a teenage whine. I apologise for this but I feel I have fallen victim to mimicry. The right have staked their flag in this kind of approach, bitch and moan and whine and whinge and finger point and gainsay. They state that the second amendment means it’s ok for people to shoot at other people. They state that the Clintons are guilty of murder and murder and other murder and lying about murder. They state that Obama is a muslim. They state that Obama is a socialist. They state that the definition of poverty can be changed. They state that withdrawing family tax credit will raise wages. They state that the free trade agreement will not harm domestic industry. They state that they are only selling off 49% of the national industries. They wail and wah at the fact that people point out they are behaving like children. Like teenagers. And sometimes we lower ourselves.
The centre right, guided by the lobbyists and the corporates, have a stranglehold on the parliaments of the day. The dictatorships of the Middle and Far East are being bought/have been bought – or are integral to the corporates anyway. The people are being marginalised. Ondi Timoner has said that Russell Brand merely wants our lives to matter. How awful that this wish has to come from a privileged fop. How awful that this single valuable statement has to be birthed from the loin of a recently drug addled pretend actor. How dreadful that a message of equality should come from someone so unequal. Especially when we have someone in office in the United States of America who should be rallying us to this cause; who should be ensuring that #alllivesmatter; who should be punching the right in the gut with a parliament of reform and action that cherishes the people, works for the people, is led by the people…but he is not.
And I’m bored of it.