One the most offensive thing about this interview that shows Tony Blair’s continued inability to acknowledge how fucking stupid his decision was to go to war with Iraq, is that he still maintains he was forced in to making a choice. Blair has framed the conflict with Iraq as ‘a choice he had to make’ given the danger Saddam presented to the rest of the world. The fact is, no one other than George Bush and Dick Cheney viewed Iraq as a legitimate threat. Anyone with a basic understanding of history knew full well that Saddam posed no threat to anyone outside of Iraq’s borders, and to continue to argue that he had to do something is utter nonsense. If Blair had had an ounce of courage, he would have told Bush that he wanted nothing to do with his designs on Iraq. Instead he used his lawyerly skills to help sell the war as a heroic effort to save Iraqis from Saddam. The choice was a false one given there wasn’t a crisis in the first place.
The lack of shame Blair shows in the interview knows no bounds as he uses the Iran-Iraq war and Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds as justification for military action, of course never acknowledging that Britain and the US supported Iraq and sold it weapons during the conflicts. But those would be facts, and Blair has spent much of his life creating alternate realities where inconvenient truths are ignored to make way for his own version of events.
The interviewer expertly presses Blair on these issues and you can see glimmers of acknowledgment that his decisions have caused unimaginable grief in the region. But Blair still maintains that he acted morally, and as part of a wider conflict that still requires engagement from the West. It’s a clever argument because it provides justification for pretty much anything. Viewed as part of a broader war, any Arab/Muslim country is then a legitimate target regardless of whether they pose an immediate threat.
Sadly for Blair, no one in Britain is buying it. As the interviewer points out, he can’t walk the streets in the country he was born, and elected (twice) Prime Minister in.
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.