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Monday, June 16, 2014

Enter Tony Blair, stage right

The Independent reports on the embarrassment caused to the present Labour leadership as they rush to distance themselves from Tony Blair's remarks on the current Iraq crisis.

Writing on his website the former Prime Minister supported airstrikes on Iraq and Syria, but refused to agree that he should accept any of the blame for the crisis engulfing the region. He defended his Government’s backing for the US-led invasion of Iraq, insisting it had been right to oust Saddam Hussein and urged military intervention to halt the advance of extremist Isis forces across the north of the country.

The result was a less than fulsome welcoming back into the fold from Mr. Blair's successors.
Sources close to Ed Miliband refused to endorse his analysis, whilst the shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, echoed the Coalition Government’s view that military action is not contemplated.

His former deputy, Lord Prescott was more forthright. Mr. Prescott, who apparently spelt out his opposition to Britain’s involvement in Iraq in 2003 accused his former boss of wanting to launch a “crusade” in the region:

Lord Prescott told Sky News: “I said to him at the time, your great danger, when you want to go and do these regime changes, you’re back to what Bush called a crusade…Put on a white sheet and a red cross, and we’re back to the crusades. It’s all about religion – in these countries it’s gone on for a thousand years.”

He dismissed the use of drones as “not a way for Britain to go in the name of open society”, adding:

“Hardly democratic either. So I don't agree with Tony as I didn’t then.”

Clare Short, who resigned from the Blair Cabinet over Iraq, said: “More bombing will not solve it, it will just exacerbate it.”

She called him a “complete American neocon” who had been “absolutely consistently wrong, wrong, wrong" on the issue.

There are so many issues with the Iraq war that I do not know where to begin. Needless to say it is now clear that Blair and his Labour Government were seeking regime change all along but dressed it up differently so as to make the war more palatable to the UK electorate.

The fact that they did not plan for the peace almost certainly has led us to where we are now. There was no exit strategy and we are reaping the consequences of that. The current situation is brilliantly summed up by Paddy Ashdown:

 “I’m having a bit of a difficulty getting my mind round the idea that a problem that has been caused or made worse by killing many, many Arab Muslims in the Middle East is going to be made better by killing more with western weapons.”

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