Friday 29 January 2010

Blair's Lap of (Dis)Honour

What was galling about the Blair evidence was that at the end he was running around the track with a flag held high. In the afternoon in particular he just became more and more smooth, with a spray of flak about 2010. That 'threat of the future' is not evidence at the time but rehearsed spin.

An issue is arising and not yet picked up by the news broadcasts in full, and that is that the interpretation of UN Resolution 1441 is wrong, that it was a peace leaning resolution and not an ambiguous resolution that allowed for war. There is also a lack of specialist engaging with Iran and Iraq, never mind the weak group-think around intelligence also over emphasised by a man who "believed" too much and lacked evidence. The outcome of the post-invasion chaos showed naivity: a lack of a proper risk assessment.

Some questions of legality seemed persistent, but for the most part Blair was not challenged. There is a 'Jimmy Young' school of questioning that allows a person to say what they want, and they end up hanging themselves with their own rope. This he did at the end, in his display of arrogance and lack of regret. There is a suggestion that he might come back, if this 2010 material is taken as evidence (of what: after all, this is focusing on government decision making processes). If the report ends up being a whitewash, then it will be consistent with much questioning where points of conflict of evidence are left open, where statements go unchallenged; on the other hand, the statements expose themselves and they could be pointed out sharply in any report.

The cartoon was drawn from the feed to the BBC News website, and it makes him too young but perhaps also a figure more slight. I always took Tony Blair not to be a strong leader, but a weak one, hiding behind Bush, and hobnobbing with economic figures of power, but in government he surrounded himself with a sort of kitchen cabinet with one to one discussions from others more than proper collective government in order to get matters through. His huge strength is rhetoric and argument: a retention of detail but the ability to represent. And that's why at the end of his appearance he was doing a lap of (dis)honour.

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