T Nation

Blair Refuses To Say Sorry

Hello,

JeffR inspired me to discuss Tony Blair. He (Tony, not JeffR :wink: ) held a speech in front of the Labour Party conference yesterday.

I won’t post the whole article here, just the parts on Irak, as I think they can offer good basis of discussion:
(Moderator note: THANK YOU!!!:slight_smile: )

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour2004/story/0,14991,1315227,00.html

Now that Tony Blair has said it - can it be argued now, that the WMD argument for war was invalid?

Makkun

Here it is (long, but still abridged):

Blair refuses to say sorry

Last minute changes water down admission over Iraq

Michael White, political editor
Wednesday September 29, 2004
The Guardian

Tony Blair yesterday offered critics of his Iraq war strategy his most contrite justification for the conflict so far but stopped short of an outright apology, removing the word “sorry” from the text of his speech to Labour’s Brighton conference in frantic last-minute rewriting.

“I know this issue has divided the country. I entirely understand why many disagree,” he told the conference. Journalists had been briefed that he would say “I am genuinely sorry about that” between the two sentences, but it was removed.

[…]

Unless tomorrow’s Hartlepool byelection proves disastrous, the speech should give him a political breathing space. But the prime minister’s justification for Iraq failed to impress his toughest critics, particularly after it emerged that he had watered down his language.

In the crucial passage, heard in attentive silence, he admitted that his prediction on weapons of mass destruction “has turned out to be wrong, I acknowledge and accept that.” But he insisted he could not apologise for removing Saddam Hussein from power. “The world is a better place with Saddam in prison,” he said.

Where his speech differed from past attempts to resolve the controversy came in the conversational way he voiced people’s fears that he was dis tracted from home affairs, “just pandering to George Bush”, or had made the world a more dangerous place.

“Do I know I’m right? Judgments aren’t the same as facts. Instinct is not science. I’m like any other human being, as fallible and as capable of being wrong. I only know what I believe,” he said. There were ripples of applause from some.

Mr Blair insisted there were only two ways of viewing the terrorist threat since 9/11, either as “isolated individual extremists” as have always existed, or as “a wholly new phenomenon, worldwide global terrorism” based on a perversion of Islam - its Saudi roots deep in many countries.

Those who took the first view would say of the terror in Iraq: “Look what you have stirred up; now stop provoking them.” Whereas his own view required the west to confront and remove this threat “root and branch”.

[…]

How PM’s language changed

Saddam Hussein’s regime is developing weapons of mass destruction, and we cannot leave him doing so unchecked
April 10 2002, House of Commons

There are literally thousands of sites. I have no doubt that they will find the clearest possible evidence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction
June 4 2003, House of Commons

I don’t concede it at all that the intelligence at the time was wrong. I have absolutely no doubt at all that we will find evidence of weapons of mass destruction programmes
July 8 2003, evidence to Commons liaison committee

But I have to accept, as the months have passed, it seems increasingly clear that at the time of invasion, Saddam did not have stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons ready to deploy
July 14 2004, statement on the Butler report

The information, some of it, the intelligence on which we founded our case, has turned out to be wrong
September 26 2004, BBC Breakfast with Frost

The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong.I acknowledge that and accept it
Yesterday, Labour party conference.

What should Blair apologize for?

Not taking a serial aggressor and dictator at his word?

Saddam deserved the presumption of guilt, not the presumption of innocence.

Removing a genocidal dictator who has a history of violating international resolutions, ceasefire agreements, accumulation of WMDs, supporting terrorism, and flirting with assassination of a US president is nothing, repeat, nothing to be sorry about.

We had less on Milosevic and no one’s crying about taking his regime out.

I think now that Blair and Bush have acknowledged they were wrong on the chemical and biological weapons, everyone on this forum who has argued that we DID already find them should apologize!

Hey, I’ll call it a challenge and hastle everyone about it for weeks on end!

BTW, is Bush a ‘flip-flopper’ for claiming in a press conference (the one where he could think of no mistakes) that we found sarin in a chicken farm or something, and now declaring he doesn’t know what happened to the weapons?

When every security agency gives you the same, or similar information. And security agencies from other countries are doing the same, no one need apologize!

Hey, is the world better off without Saddam in power? Why don’t we ask John Kerry? I know at one point he thought it was a good idea. was he lying, or going by the same information that the President and other heads of state had?

Sometimes foreign affairs are not quite as easy to decipher as say a final exam at the end of a semester.

makkun:

This is an excerpt from some of the best stuff from the Blair speech yesterday. I posted it somewhere else before, but it is much more properly suited to the subject of this thread. BTW, I’m assuming in his edits he was taking control of what he wanted to say from his speechwriters, which I’ve know politicians are wont to do from time to time:

Link to text of entire speech:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/...cs/3697434.stm

Excerpt [Note to Moderater: This is HIGHLY abridged… Sorry for all the long articles…]:

I know, too, that as people see me struggling with it, they think he’s stopped caring about us; or worse he’s just pandering to George Bush and what’s more in a cause that’s irrelevant to us.

It’s been hard for you.

Like the delegate who told me: “I’ve defended you so well to everyone I’ve almost convinced myself.”

Do I know I’m right?

Judgements aren’t the same as facts.

Instinct is not science.

I’m like any other human being, as fallible and as capable of being wrong.

I only know what I believe.

There are two views of what is happening in the world today.

One view is that there are isolated individuals, extremists, engaged in essentially isolated acts of terrorism.

That what is happening is not qualitatively different from the terrorism we have always lived with.

If you believe this, we carry on the same path as before 11th September.

We try not to provoke them and hope in time they will wither.

The other view is that this is a wholly new phenomenon, worldwide global terrorism based on a perversion of the true, peaceful and honourable faith of Islam; that’s its roots are not superficial but deep, in the madrassehs of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life.

If you take this view, you believe September 11th changed the world; that Bali, Beslan, Madrid and scores of other atrocities that never make the news are part of the same threat and the only path to take is to confront this terrorism, remove it root and branch and at all costs stop them acquiring the weapons to kill on a massive scale because these terrorists would not hesitate to use them.

Likewise take the first view, then when you see the terror brought to Iraq you say: there, we told you; look what you have stirred up; now stop provoking them.

But if you take the second view, you don’t believe the terrorists are in Iraq to liberate it.

They’re not protesting about the rights of women - what, the same people who stopped Afghan girls going to school, made women wear the Burka and beat them in the streets of Kabul, who now assassinate women just for daring to register to vote in Afghanistan’s first ever democratic ballot, though four million have done so?

They are not provoked by our actions; but by our existence.

They are in Iraq for the very reason we should be.

They have chosen this battleground because they know success for us in Iraq is not success for America or Britain or even Iraq itself but for the values and way of life that democracy represents.

They know that.

That’s why they are there.

That is why we should be there and whatever disagreements we have had, should unite in our determination to stand by the Iraqi people until the job is done.

And, of course, at first the consequence is more fighting.

But Iraq was not a safe country before March 2003.

Few had heard of the Taliban before September 11th 2001.

Afghanistan was not a nation at peace.

So it’s not that I care more about foreign affairs than the state of our economy, NHS, schools or crime.

It’s simply that I believe democracy there means security here; and that if I don’t care and act on this terrorist threat, then the day will come when all our good work on the issues that decide people’s lives will be undone because the stability on which our economy, in an era of globalisation, depends, will vanish.

And I believe so strongly that if Europe and America could only put aside their differences and united around a common cause, the future could be different and better.

So the decisions I’ve been called on to make are stark.

When I hear people say: “I want the old Tony Blair back, the one who cares”, I tell you something.

I don’t think as a human being, as a family man, I’ve changed at all.

But I have changed as a leader.

I have come to realise that caring in politics isn’t really about “caring”.

It’s about doing what you think is right and sticking to it.

So I do not minimise whatever differences some of you have with me over Iraq and the only healing can come from understanding that the decision, whether agreed with or not, was taken because I believe, genuinely, Britain’s future security depends on it.

There has been no third way, this time.

Believe me, I’ve looked for it.

thunderbolt23,

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
What should Blair apologize for?

Not taking a serial aggressor and dictator at his word?

Saddam deserved the presumption of guilt, not the presumption of innocence.

Removing a genocidal dictator who has a history of violating international resolutions, ceasefire agreements, accumulation of WMDs, supporting terrorism, and flirting with assassination of a US president is nothing, repeat, nothing to be sorry about.

We had less on Milosevic and no one’s crying about taking his regime out.[/quote]

While I agree on Saddam as a person ("we " should have known, as “we” US, UK, FR and GE delivered him with some of his WMD in the 80ties), I think the general perception in the UK is that Blair should have apologised for believing (or wanting to believe) in wrong intelligence. I mean, the intelligence was certainly not seen as clear in the runup for the war, as even his own foreign secretary left gouvernment, because he dissented with this PM.

As for Milosevic; he had started 4 wars (if I remember correctly) in less than 10 years and was taken down with a broad international consensus.

Makkun

[quote]Right Side Up wrote:
I think now that Blair and Bush have acknowledged they were wrong on the chemical and biological weapons, everyone on this forum who has argued that we DID already find them should apologize!

Hey, I’ll call it a challenge and hastle everyone about it for weeks on end!

BTW, is Bush a ‘flip-flopper’ for claiming in a press conference (the one where he could think of no mistakes) that we found sarin in a chicken farm or something, and now declaring he doesn’t know what happened to the weapons?

[/quote]

Uahhh… Please, Guys (RSU and ZEB) - let that challenge crap out of my first thread… :wink:

Makkun

[quote]ZEB wrote:
When every security agency gives you the same, or similar information. And security agencies from other countries are doing the same, no one need apologize![/quote]

I don’t know - aren’t the political decision makers in the end responsible for the actions of their servants? If there hadn’t been heated debate and the weapons inspectors in charge unanimous in their determination that there were stockpiles of weapons, I would agree. But there was debate, and many countries interpreted the evidence differently. And dare I say - they seemed to have been right…

Off course the world is better off without him. About John Kerry - I don’t really care, I am trying to focus on Blair here, as Kerry has his place in so many other threads here. But if I think about it, Kerry was not in gouvernment at that time - Tony Blair was; and that makes him responsible for his actions.

[quote]Sometimes foreign affairs are not quite as easy to decipher as say a final exam at the end of a semester.
[/quote]

I guess so - it’s been some time since university. But again, there was a lot of debate and many arguments against the evidence. Looks to me like Blair might have just chosen the wrong reasons to fight a cause he believed was right. I guess, though, he did know that with any other argument, he would not have been able to convince his fellow Brits to follow his call to war.

BostonBarrister,[quote]
BBostonBarrister wrote:
makkun:

This is an excerpt from some of the best stuff from the Blair speech yesterday. I posted it somewhere else before, but it is much more properly suited to the subject of this thread. BTW, I’m assuming in his edits he was taking control of what he wanted to say from his speechwriters, which I’ve know politicians are wont to do from time to time: (…)[/quote]

Thanks. I think this shows that Tony Blair was deeply commited to his cause and that he really believed that there were WMDs in Iraq. But I am not really convinced if he did not want to find the evidence just a bit too much, listening rather to the intelligence that supported his case than to the one that opposed it. Is that lying or just being biased? I don’t know. Is he responsible for mistakes made? I am inclined to say yes.

Hi,

here, for more contemplation on the topic. Blair gave an interview on BBC Radio 4:

Makkun

makkun:

I think people forget that the burden of proof, according to the U.N. resolutions, was on Saddam Hussein to demonstrate he did not have WMD. Yet he acted as if he had WMD, adamantly refusted to demonstrate he did not have WMD, and continually hampered inspections. Here’s Tony Blair’s rundown, back in March of 2003, of how Saddam hampered inspections:

Link to speech:

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,916790,00.html

{Begin Blair excerpt] But first, Iraq and its WMD.

In April 1991, after the Gulf war, Iraq was given 15 days to provide a full and final declaration of all its WMD.

Saddam had used the weapons against Iran, against his own people, causing thousands of deaths. He had had plans to use them against allied forces. It became clear after the Gulf war that the WMD ambitions of Iraq were far more extensive than hitherto thought. This issue was identified by the UN as one for urgent remedy. Unscom, the weapons inspection team, was set up. They were expected to complete their task following the declaration at the end of April 1991.

The declaration when it came was false - a blanket denial of the programme, other than in a very tentative form. So the 12-year game began.

The inspectors probed. Finally in March 1992, Iraq admitted it had previously undeclared WMD but said it had destroyed them. It gave another full and final declaration. Again the inspectors probed but found little.

In October 1994, Iraq stopped cooperating with Unscom altogether. Military action was threatened. Inspections resumed. In March 1995, in an effort to rid Iraq of the inspectors, a further full and final declaration of WMD was made. By July 1995, Iraq was forced to admit that too was false. In August they provided yet another full and final declaration.

Then, a week later, Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, defected to Jordan. He disclosed a far more extensive BW (biological weapons) programme and for the first time said Iraq had weaponised the programme; something Saddam had always strenuously denied. All this had been happening whilst the inspectors were in Iraq. Kamal also revealed Iraq’s crash programme to produce a nuclear weapon in 1990.

Iraq was forced then to release documents which showed just how extensive those programmes were. In November 1995, Jordan intercepted prohibited components for missiles that could be used for WMD.

In June 1996, a further full and final declaration was made. That too turned out to be false. In June 1997, inspectors were barred from specific sites.

In September 1997, another full and final declaration was made. Also false. Meanwhile the inspectors discovered VX nerve agent production equipment, something always denied by the Iraqis.

In October 1997, the US and the UK threatened military action if Iraq refused to comply with the inspectors. But obstruction continued.

Finally, under threat of action, in February 1998, Kofi Annan went to Baghdad and negotiated a memorandum with Saddam to allow inspections to continue. They did. For a few months.

In August, cooperation was suspended.

In December the inspectors left. Their final report is a withering indictment of Saddam’s lies, deception and obstruction, with large quantities of WMD remained unaccounted for.

The US and the UK then, in December 1998, undertook Desert Fox, a targeted bombing campaign to degrade as much of the Iraqi WMD facilities as we could.

In 1999, a new inspections team, Unmovic, was set up. But Saddam refused to allow them to enter Iraq.

So there they stayed, in limbo, until after resolution 1441 when last November they were allowed to return.

What is the claim of Saddam today? Why exactly the same claim as before: that he has no WMD.

Indeed we are asked to believe that after seven years of obstruction and non-compliance finally resulting in the inspectors leaving in 1998, seven years in which he hid his programme, built it up even whilst inspection teams were in Iraq, that after they left he then voluntarily decided to do what he had consistently refused to do under coercion.

When the inspectors left in 1998, they left unaccounted for: 10,000 litres of anthrax; a far reaching VX nerve agent programme; up to 6,500 chemical munitions; at least 80 tonnes of mustard gas, possibly more than ten times that amount; unquantifiable amounts of sarin, botulinum toxin and a host of other biological poisons; an entire Scud missile programme.

We are now seriously asked to accept that in the last few years, contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence, he decided unilaterally to destroy the weapons. Such a claim is palpably absurd.

1441 is a very clear resolution. It lays down a final opportunity for Saddam to disarm. It rehearses the fact that he has been, for years in material breach of 17 separate UN resolutions. It says that this time compliance must be full, unconditional and immediate. The first step is a full and final declaration of all WMD to be given on 8 December.

I won’t to go through all the events since then - the house is familiar with them - but this much is accepted by all members of the UNSC: the 8 December declaration is false. That in itself is a material breach. Iraq has made some concessions to cooperation but no-one disputes it is not fully cooperating. Iraq continues to deny it has any WMD, though no serious intelligence service anywhere in the world believes them.

On 7 March, the inspectors published a remarkable document. It is 173 pages long, detailing all the unanswered questions about Iraq’s WMD. It lists 29 different areas where they have been unable to obtain information. For example, on VX it says: "Documentation available to Unmovic suggests that Iraq at least had had far reaching plans to weaponise VX …

"Mustard constituted an important part (about 70%) of Iraq’s CW arsenal … 550 mustard filled shells and up to 450 mustard filled aerial bombs unaccounted for … additional uncertainty with respect of 6526 aerial bombs, corresponding to approximately 1000 tonnes of agent, predominantly mustard.

“Based on unaccounted for growth media, Iraq’s potential production of anthrax could have been in the range of about 15,000 to 25,000 litres … Based on all the available evidence, the strong presumption is that about 10,000 litres of anthrax was not destroyed and may still exist.” [End excerpt]

One of the great unanswered questions in history might just be why Saddam would not cooperate if he had nothing to hide. Maybe he did not want to show weakness to neighboring countries. Maybe he didn’t think Bush and Blair were serious – though the closer it got, he still didn’t cooperate with inspections.

Note that one of the main reasons all the intelligence agencies who provided the faulty intelligence thought Hussein had WMD was because he had been documented to have WMD, and refused to demonstrate he had dismantled the programs and weapons.

However, Blair had thoughts on this - Saddam had been doing the same thing for years with no consequences:

[Begin Blair excerpt] Looking back over 12 years, we have been victims of our own desire to placate the implacable, to persuade towards reason the utterly unreasonable, to hope that there was some genuine intent to do good in a regime whose mind is in fact evil. Now the very length of time counts against us. You’ve waited 12 years. Why not wait a little longer?

And indeed we have.

1441 gave a final opportunity. The first test was the 8th of December. He failed it. But still we waited. Until January 27, the first inspection report that showed the absence of full cooperation. Another breach. And still we waited.

Until February 14 and then February 28 with concessions, according to the old familiar routine, tossed to us to whet our appetite for hope and further waiting. But still no-one, not the inspectors nor any member of the security council, not any half-way rational observer, believes Saddam is cooperating fully or unconditionally or immediately.

Our fault has not been impatience.

The truth is our patience should have been exhausted weeks and months and years ago. Even now, when if the world united and gave him an ultimatum: comply or face forcible disarmament, he might just do it, the world hesitates and in that hesitation he senses the weakness and therefore continues to defy. [End Blair excerpt]

So, basically, like Thunderbolt, I don’t think Blair needs to give an apology for faulty intelligence because A) Pretty much everyone in the world thought Saddam had WMD because, apparently, that’s what Saddam wanted everyone to think; and B) The burden of proof was on Hussein, a burden he did not even make a good-faith effort to meet.

Now, as to Milosevic, I believe you’re correct about international consensus on taking action (although all the actors seemed to fight amongst themselves about WHAT to do and HOW to do it) - but they didn’t even have a U.N. resolution, but apparently no one seriously questioned the “legality” of the action.

Hahahahahahaha! What is the UN today, puppet, dictator, bastion of goodwill, hypocritical organization, complicit in bribery, world government or merely irrelevant?

Personally, I don’t have weapons of mass destruction. However, could I prove to you that I don’t have some hidden somewhere if you believed I did and whas lying to you? Never in a million years!

I know you are a lawyer, but do you think we could get past the word games some day… :wink:

[quote]vroom wrote:
I think people forget that the burden of proof, according to the U.N. resolutions, was on Saddam Hussein.

Hahahahahahaha! What is the UN today, puppet, dictator, bastion of goodwill, hypocritical organization, complicit in bribery, world government or merely irrelevant?

Personally, I don’t have weapons of mass destruction. However, could I prove to you that I don’t have some hidden somewhere if you believed I did and whas lying to you? Never in a million years!

I know you are a lawyer, but do you think we could get past the word games some day… ;)[/quote]

Well, I don’t know, but you could definitely let me come in and check for myself without inhibiting my checking. Especially if that’s what you were required to do.

BostonBarrister,

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
makkun:

I think people forget that the burden of proof, according to the U.N. resolutions, was on Saddam Hussein to demonstrate he did not have WMD. Yet he acted as if he had WMD, adamantly refusted to demonstrate he did not have WMD, and continually hampered inspections. Here’s Tony Blair’s rundown, back in March of 2003, of how Saddam hampered inspections: (…)[/quote]

Yes, I agree. Saddam had played this far too long, and he had been in material breach of resolutions on and on. That he deserved to be taken out of office for this was and is obvious. Also it was clear that he had earlier used WMD inside and outside of his country.

But despite what is being listed in the speech Blair delivered then, he gradually had to rudder back from his position of a clear and present danger (to the UK), which was basically the line of his argument, which finally led for the UK to join the war effort.

As ZEB has said earlier on, world politics are often more complex than we would like them to be. Blair believed in a certain scenario, which he now in hindsight had to step back from. If everyone would have been convinced the WMD claim and the clear and present danger to the UK were true, we all could admit to have been wrong. But there were voices of scepticism in several countries, gouvernments who were not convinced by the evidence for WMD and requests for a second resolution, legitimising military action.

That everyone got into a row over national pride while working on that second resolution, didn’t help either. But in essence, Blair has admitted now that the reasons he gave to the public for the UK war were unfounded.

quote
One of the great unanswered questions in history might just be why Saddam would not cooperate if he had nothing to hide. Maybe he did not want to show weakness to neighboring countries. Maybe he didn’t think Bush and Blair were serious – though the closer it got, he still didn’t cooperate with inspections.

(…)

Note that one of the main reasons all the intelligence agencies who provided the faulty intelligence thought Hussein had WMD was because he had been documented to have WMD, and refused to demonstrate he had dismantled the programs and weapons.

(…)

The truth is our patience should have been exhausted weeks and months and years ago. Even now, when if the world united and gave him an ultimatum: comply or face forcible disarmament, he might just do it, the world hesitates and in that hesitation he senses the weakness and therefore continues to defy. [End Blair excerpt]

So, basically, like Thunderbolt, I don’t think Blair needs to give an apology for faulty intelligence because A) Pretty much everyone in the world thought Saddam had WMD because, apparently, that’s what Saddam wanted everyone to think; and B) The burden of proof was on Hussein, a burden he did not even make a good-faith effort to meet.[/quote]

Here, I have to disagree: There had been significant voices against a war, sceptic about the intelligence provided. And as seems, they were right. That is a reason for a PM to take responsibility. And even as Saddam was very much the crook everyone knew he was, he seems not to have had weapons posing a threat to the UK - which was the main reason for the UK to enter the war.

You are a lawyer BB - does a known scumbag who acts really conspicuous the right to be treated the same way before the law as a respected citizen? Last time I checked - yes. Put this person under proper surveillance and making sure he does not get the chance to follow his alleged plans - yes. Do we have the right to storm his house, arrest him and put him into detention for something he might do, but has not done yet? No. Especially when the investigation afterwards does not substantiate the threat. Well, Saddam has done enough to be kept in custody forever (if an Iraqi court finds him guilty). But the WMD claim, as presented by Blair earlier to justify the British war effort, has gone up in smoke. The PM is the man in charge, hence, he should take responsibility.

Well, actually the opposition in the German Bundestag did. As always when German troops will be involved in international missions (they are still in Kosovo). But in this case people were currently being slaughtered and thousands were fleeing the atrocities. I am glad that there was an illegal consensus to stop him. In the Iraq war there was none. This was very much a case of putative self defense - and it went wrong in the sense that there was not the threat in Irak to the UK as described by Tony Blair. Is it so unfair to ask for an aplogy? I think not.

IMO the media in England hate Blair because he is a Christian and actually believes in this ‘cause’. Our media is full of middle class white journalists who through a misguided sense of guilt over their priveledged (sp?) lives feel the need to constantly criticise their own country and always pander to minority interests.

The whole war on terror is largely viewed with digust by the media because ultimately they would never fight for any cause. The deluded idea that one can come to a compromise in a civilised manner only works when both sides are civilised. The enemy faced is an enemy that wants to convert the world or destroy it. That is what the whole Islamic thing is about. How the hell do you compromise with that?

At the end of the day, I am not of the opinion that we should go around rounding up Muslims and executing them, far from it. I am however of the opinion that when an enemy attacks your nation, you send a message out to all the arab nations that you cannot do such things without expecting a severe reprisal. Which is exactly what has happened.

Whether the war was over WMD or just to show the arab nations not to f**k with the US I quite frankly do not care. The WMD as far as I have heard from sources at GCHQ were moved to Egypt prior to the invasion of Iraq. But I do not see why the elected leader of my country has to apologise.

Throughout history people have opposed wars, and although they often had good reasons, in this case it was simply that a large amount of anti-American sentiment (otherwise known as racism) meant that siding with Bush on any issue would have made Blair a hated man.

Vroom,

“Personally, I don’t have weapons of mass destruction. However, could I prove to you that I don’t have some hidden somewhere if you believed I did and whas lying to you? Never in a million years!”

Staggering. Vroom, ever heard of a random drug test? Or a scheduled drug test? The burden is on you to prove you haven’t done drugs. Usually, this is done after you’ve already been caught doing drugs. You get caught, and your superior - be it employer, government, etc. - demands you prove yourself to be clean under the assumption your word cannot be trusted.

It wasn’t up to the UN or the US to prove Saddam was clean - or even assume his word that he was clean on good faith. He forfeited all that at a previous date, you understand.

Makkun,

“But in this case people were currently being slaughtered and thousands were fleeing the atrocities.”

Same in Iraq - the humanitarian crisis there is well-noted. And it is foolish to suggest that a crisis wasn’t happening that minute - it was systemic, and I think it is a fair assumption that there is no statute of limitations on institutional torture and genocide.

“I am glad that there was an illegal consensus to stop him.”

Hey, me too. But do the actors in the war on Milosevic need to apologize to you for conducting an illegal war?

“In the Iraq war there was none. This was very much a case of putative self defense - and it went wrong in the sense that there was not the threat in Irak to the UK as described by Tony Blair.”

This is fair, I think - it is incumbent on our leaders to explain the value of invading Iraq. I think Blair has done so, frankly, better than Bush.

“Is it so unfair to ask for an aplogy? I think not.”

If my doctor conducts surgery on a loved one for a tumor he thinks malignant, but it turns out to be benign, do I ask for an apology from him?

The intelligence was wrong - I think a better way to handle it is for Blair to say “I am responsible for making the decisions based on that intelligence”, but I don’t think he needs to say “I’m sorry” because I don’t think he did anything wrong. He acted in good faith on the information he had. That is entirely different from intentionally doing something deceitful, which would require an apology.

Thunder, it doesn’t matter how many tests you do, it doesn’t prove that I’m not doing drugs you can’t detect or that I haven’t found a way to fix the tests so they don’t show up.

Staggering indeed. I can cooperate to the fullest and it proves nothing.

What Saddam had to to was show cooperation combined with negative findings. However, this does not constitute proof.

Now, before you think I am defending Saddam or his regime, I am not. I’m suggesting that suddenly using the UN as a validator of some actions while at the same time villifying it for other actions is silly.

Whether or not the invasion was justified in reality should have very little to do with the pronouncements of the UN. It was right or wrong whether or not the UN agreed or disagreed.

[quote]vroom wrote:

Now, before you think I am defending Saddam or his regime, I am not. I’m suggesting that suddenly using the UN as a validator of some actions while at the same time villifying it for other actions is silly.

Whether or not the invasion was justified in reality should have very little to do with the pronouncements of the UN. It was right or wrong whether or not the UN agreed or disagreed.[/quote]

With that much I agree with you completely. I only argue the U.N. angle for the purpose of convincing those who think the U.N. pronouncement matters.

Sigh. How about doing the hard work of trying to convince them with rational explanations of what you actually believe instead?

Throwing out a lot of reasons you don’t actually believe in the hopes that one of them will jibe with the reader seems a bit underhanded in some way.