Tony Blair thought himself brave for facing down the dictator of a 5th rate military power with an economy as big as a mid sized British city. Blair spent years justifying the invasion of Iraq after it had happened, defining it as a moral decision dictated to him by God to stop the ‘forces of evil’ from threatening the world with a make believe Weapon of Mass Destruction. In reality, real bravery would have been standing up to the incompetent cowboy in the White House and his psychopathic Vice President, and refusing to commit British troops to a war that was clearly more about oil than freeing Iraqis.
In an interview to promote his memoirs, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said he believed Tony Blair could have single handedly prevent war in Iraq had he challenged Bush and Cheney on their fabrication and manipulation of events leading up to the war. Via the Guardian:
“I will forever wonder what would have happened if, without a second [UN] resolution … Blair had said ‘George [Bush], this is where we part company. You’re on your own’,” he told the Times. “I really think it could have stopped the war … It would have given the Americans a pause. It would have given them a very serious pause to think it through … All this would have raised a question: ‘Do we go this alone?'”
While Annan argued that neither his resignation as UN secretary general or that of then US secretary of state, Colin Powell, would have changed the course of military action, Blair could have made a difference had he spoken out. “Because of the special relationship and also the fact that … when you think of the big countries, Britain was the only one that teamed up with [Bush],” Annan said.
Instead, Blair became cheerleader in chief for America’s war in Iraq, doing the incredibly easy thing in saddling up to the world’s greatest super power. It never occurred to Blair that refusing to take part in the illegal invasion of a sovereign nation would have been viewed as the far braver thing to have done, but then the term ‘politician’ is not exactly synonymous with ‘courage’.
Annan’s scathing assessment of Blair’s role in the lead up to war further compounds the historic view that not only was he complicit in the catastrophic endeavor, he was pivotal in making it happen. Without Britain to back them up, it would have been unlikely for America to go it alone in Iraq, despite Bush’s rhetoric. The political consequences probably would have been to great at the time, and diplomacy may have been able to prevail.
Sadly, we’ll never know.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.