What we can say in support of Tony Blair
I have spent half of my adult life being either in love with, or at war with, Tony Blair. I'm going to come onto the 'war' bit later. But I do hope we remember that, although he made a colossal and almost unforgivable error, he did some very good things for this country. He presided over a redistributive governement (although they always tried to conceal quite how redistributive it was) and he brokered the Good Friday agreement -- and that will always be to his credit, whatever his other faults. Dont lets forget.
But I simply cannot understand how he can now be saying what he is saying about Iraq. For me, it just won't do to claim that the 'intelligence' misled the government. There were plenty of people saying loudly that the intelligence was not correct: Hans Blix for one and my local scientists for another. But in any case, it is the government's job to look critically at what MI6 and others say... not simply to take it as read. The idea that many people in the country correctly and for good reason distrusted the intelligence, while the government appears to have taken it on trust, is an indictment of our system and how it draws on expertise. How much of an indictment is hard to know, as Chilcot makes clear that there were an embarrassing lack of minutes at the upper levels.
This seems mad, my college catering committee produces decent minutes, which anyone can refer to -- and no doubt access under Freedom of Information (I wouldn't bother)... we go to war without proper minutes?
But I also can't understand the line, insisted on by Blair, that it all turned out to be more difficult than was expected in the post invasion 'game'. Isn't that what proper risk assessments are supposed to take account of... like what happens if something goes wrong, and where the weak points are. The idea that we went to war with what was apparently (and, yes, I am probably being unfair) not much more of a risk assessment than I would deploy when taking a group of students to Paris seems mind boggling. There might have been a Plan A, but what about B, C, and D?
I just wish that Tony Blair would fess up. I dont think that he is a bad man (I dont honestly think that there are as many 'bad men' in the world as we like to imagine). But his refusal to accept that many people looked at the 'evidence' provided, scutinised it, concluded that it didn't add up -- and then were ridiculed (we were) -- really irks.
The dissidents were right, and of course we are angry that we were systematically rubbished, as if we simply didn't understand. We did understand, and in this case we were smarter than our government.
(Is there a parallel with Brexit here? I suspect so.)