If only it were possible to prosecute him for the death of 100,00 people in an unsanctioned unnecessary uninvited indefensible war of aggression.
Yet he is defending the indefensible and seemingly sanctioning further murderous invasions of peoples who are unlike him ( not us).
"Britain: Blair sets out ideological justification for new wars of
By Julie Hyland
24 March 2006
Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the
Prime Minister Tony Blair's March 21 speech in London marking the
third anniversary of the Iraq war coincided with President George W.
Bush's Washington press conference making clear that the occupation
of Iraq will continue for years and threatening military attacks
against any country deemed an obstacle to US interests.
As at the time of the invasion, Blair's task today is to contrive a
pseudo-moral justification for the illegal policy of preemptive war,
which the prime minister euphemistically termed "active
However, he does so under conditions in which the catastrophe
wrought by the invasion of Iraq has stripped both his government and
the White House of any political legitimacy in the eyes of tens of
millions of people across the world. Thus, despite appearing before
a friendly audience at the Foreign Policy Centre—a pro-New Labour
think tank—the prime minister appeared harried and edgy, and his
remarks bellicose and
defensive by turns.
Three years on, the "majority view of a large part of Western
opinion" was that the war should never have taken place, Blair said.
He went on to acknowledge that "the precarious nature of Iraq today
and . . . those who have died" had made the doctrine of "active
intervention" the object of "scorn."
Many had also concluded that "George Bush is as much if not more of
a threat to world peace than Osama bin Laden," Blair continued, "and
what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else in the
Middle East is an entirely understandable consequence of US/UK
imperialism or worse, of just plain stupidity."
This admission is itself a damning self-indictment of his policy.
That so many hold these views is not difficult to explain. All of
Blair's justifications for the war have been exposed as lies. There
was no connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks on New
York, and Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.
More than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed, and rather than being
greeted as "liberators," the US and Britain have been confronted
with a popular insurgency, which they are seeking to extinguish
through a combination of military action against entire towns and
cities, and the deliberate cultivation of sectarian and ethnic
Once again, Blair made clear his indifference to domestic and
international popular opinion and his determination to continue his
political and military alliance with Washington. Rather than make
any accounting for the disastrous results of his previous actions,
he sought to set out a new ideological pretext for further military
adventures aimed at "regime change," whilst denouncing his critics
as apologists for global terrorism.
Blair presaged this section of his speech by praising the Koran and
attributing to it a historically progressive character in an earlier
era. But he went on to claim that what was at stake was not a
clash "of civilisations" but rather a "clash about civilisation"—
i.e., that his opponents should be regarded as barbarians and
enemies of civilised values.
He complained that ministers had been warned against using the
term "Islamic extremist" because it might cause offence. Given that
the government has made repeated reference to Islamic extremism, and
has justified all its encroachments on civil liberties on the basis
of combating this threat, Blair's claim is nonsensical.
But the implied criticism of an overzealous "political correctness"
was of a piece with the prime minister's adoption of a slightly more
sophisticated version of the reactionary anti-Muslim campaign being
waged by the right wing across Europe This reached its high point
with the publication of cartoons denigrating the prophet Mohammed
justified on the grounds of free speech.
Blair echoed those who profess that Islam has fallen behind the
advanced Western world due to the impact of the Renaissance, the
Reformation, and the Enlightenment. His invocations of an
ideological crusade were backed up by reference to his own Christian
faith and his desire to safeguard "our way of life."
It was not simply a question of defeating terrorism, Blair said, but
defeating the "global ideology" that lay behind it, which had
become "embedded now in the culture of many nations and capable of
eruption at any time."
This ideology had to be taken on by "telling them their attitude to
America is absurd; their concept of governance pre-feudal; their
positions on women and other faiths, reactionary and regressive."
The attempt to dress imperialist militarism in the mantle of
progress is Blair's particular ideological contribution to
Washington's war effort. The social base of the Blair government
constitutes a privileged section of the upper-middle class that
prides itself on combining a healthy respect for the benefits
of "free market" capitalism with progressive views, particularly on
questions relating to gender and sexual preference. Like the authors
of the cartoon provocation and their supposedly liberal apologists,
Blair seeks to exploit the position of Islam on women,
homosexuality, etc. in order to portray it as incompatible
with "Western" values.
What is the reality behind his claim to be waging an "ideological"
struggle in defence of civilisation? It is his lining up with the
world's strongest military power to inflict death and destruction on
defenceless peoples in order to seize control of their country and
It is sanctioning the building of concentration camps such as at
Guantánamo Bay, where anyone deemed an opponent of the West can be
imprisoned without trial. It is an apologia for the sadistic
treatment of detainees, sanctioned by the highest echelons of
government and the state.
The tradition that Blair stands in is not that of the Enlightenment,
but the pious rhetoric of the "white man's burden" that was used to
justify the creation of the British Empire during the nineteenth
Blair's proclamation that Islamic extremism is "embedded now in the
culture of many nations" constitutes a license to terrorise,
intimidate and even wage war in many of the nations of the Middle
East and Africa.
Just as with Iraq, this will be justified as a great civilising
to safeguard world peace and liberate the native population through
regime change. Whatever forces offer their services as a proxy
government for the Western powers, regardless of their true
political character, will be proclaimed as representatives of
Worse crimes are to follow. Blair placed his speech in the context
of those on British foreign policy which he gave in Chicago in 1999
and Washington in 2003. It should be noted that both of these were
made with the immediate purpose of legitimising the wars against
Yugoslavia and Iraq.
Similarly, in his remarks this week Blair accused Tehran of
meddling "furiously in the stability of Iraq" and of supporting
terrorist attacks in the Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya and
Beslan. "True," he said, "the conventional view is that, for
example, Iran is hostile to Al Qaeda and therefore would never
support its activities." But, he alleged, such divisions between
Sunni and Shia Muslims count for nothing as "fundamentally, for this
ideology [i.e., extreme Islam], we are the enemy."
There is a remarkable similarity between such spurious arguments
linking Iran and Al Qaeda to the earlier claims that the secular
Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. The
similarities do not end there. At one point in his speech Blair
responded to those who have pointed out that Iraq was not a threat
to world peace by citing the "fourteen UN resolutions" repeatedly
invoked by Washington and London in the run-up to the invasion to
provide themselves with a fig leaf of legality.
A letter leaked to the Times this week reveals that the Blair
government is engaged in a surreptitious campaign to create a
similar paper trail to provide a pretext for war against Iran. The
Times reports that a March 16 confidential note by John Sawers, a
leading British diplomat, addressed to his counterparts in France,
Germany and the US urges a united offensive to secure "a United
Nations resolution that would open the way for punitive sanctions
and even the use of force if Iran were
to refuse to halt its controversial nuclear programme."
Sawers sets out British proposals for upgrading the case against
Iran so as "to bind Russia and China into agreeing to further
measures that will be taken by the Security Council should the
Iranians fail to engage positively... We would not, at this stage,
want to be explicit about what would be involved then."