Tony Blair, the guy who handed George W. Bush the forged document used to sell a gullible American public on the invasion of Iraq, says its time for his fellow Brits for apologizing for all the resulting death and destruction.
Blair’s remarks came during his testimony to the Chilcot inquiry, the official British government investigation into Great Britain’s role in the Iraq War.
Blair — like Bush a “born again” Christian with a decided disdain for all that Sermon on the Mount “turn the other cheek” stuff — told the panel that it was high time for an end to all the hand-wringing and get ready to take down Iran.
From Stephen Bates of The Guardian:
Tony Blair insisted today that Britain had to give up the “wretched policy of apology” for the allies’ action in Iraq.
But he offered the Chilcot inquiry his regrets for the loss of life in Iraq. At his appearance before the inquiry last year he was heavily criticised for not answering a question about whether he regretted the invasion.
At the end of his evidence this afternoon he said it had never been his meaning. “Of course I regret deeply and profoundly the loss of life,” he said. As he extended his regrets to British and allied troops and Iraqis, there were murmurs of “too late” from the public seating behind him.
In his second appearance before the Chilcot inquiry the former prime minister repeated the warning he gave in evidence a year ago that Iran was a “looming, coming challenge” to the peace and stability of the whole region and must be tackled.
He accused the Tehran regime of fomenting terrorism and destabilising the Middle East, deliberately impeding chances of peace.
“The Iranians are doing this because they fundamentally disagree with our way of life,” he said. “At some point we have got to get our head out of the sand and understand Iraq is one part of a far bigger picture right across the region. People are going to have to face that struggle.”
More from the London Telegraph on Blair’s decision to ignore advice from his own attorney general that the war on Iraq would be illegal absent another resolution from the United Nationss Security Council:
The former prime minister ‘’held to the position’‘ that another UN Security Council resolution explicitly supporting military action was unnecessary despite being told the opposite by attorney general Lord Goldsmith.
In a statement released as he prepared to face question for a
second time, Mr Blair said he believed Lord Goldsmith would come around to his interpretation of the legal position once he knew the full history of the negotiations behind UN Security Council resolution 1441, which declared Iraq in ‘’material breach’‘ of its obligations to disarm.
Lord Goldsmith told the former prime minister in a six-page draft legal opinion on January 14 2003 that resolution 1441 was not enough on its own to justify the use of force against Iraq.
Mr Blair said: ‘’I had not yet got to the stage of a formal request for advice and neither had he got to the point of formally giving it.
‘’So I was continuing to hold to the position that another resolution was not necessary.’‘
The former PM said he was aware of Lord Goldsmith’s concerns about the legality of attacking Iraq.
But he added: ‘’I believed that he would, once he was abreast of the British but most of all the US negotiating history, conclude that 1441 meant what it said: Saddam had a final opportunity to comply, failure to do so was a material breach, and that revived the earlier resolutions authorising force.’‘
Mr Blair was asked about a memo, dated January 30 2003, in which Lord Goldsmith repeated that resolution 1441 did not authorise the use of military force against Iraq on its own.
A scribbled note next to this sentence in the former prime minister’s handwriting says: ‘’I just don’t understand this.’‘
Referring to this comment, Mr Blair said in his statement: ‘’I did not understand how he could reach the conclusion that a further decision was required when expressly we had refused such language in 1441.’‘