Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

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Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby MotsMan on Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:02 pm

Tony Blair has said the Iraq war made the world a safer place and he has "no regrets" about removing Saddam Hussein.
In a robust defence of his decision to back war, Mr Blair said Saddam was a "monster and I believe he threatened not just the region but the world."
The former prime minister was barracked by a member of the public as he made his closing statement at the end of a six hour grilling at the Iraq inquiry.
He said Iraqis were now better off and he would take the same decisions again.
He also rejected claims he manipulated intelligence to justify the invasion and denied making a "covert" deal with George Bush to invade Iraq in April 2002 a year before the war began.
The former prime minister said he had been open about what had been discussed the US president's ranch - which was that Saddam needed to be "dealt with".
"This isn't about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception," he told the panel.
"It's a decision. And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam's history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking UN resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programmes or is that a risk that it would be irresponsible to take?"
Sometimes it is important not to ask the "March 2003 question" but the "2010 question", said Mr Blair, arguing that if Saddam had been left in power the UK and its allies would have "lost our nerve" to act.
He said that if Saddam had not been removed "today we would have a situation where Iraq was competing with Iran" both in terms of nuclear capability and "in respect of support of terrorist groups".
He added: "The decision I took - and frankly would take again - was if there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction we should stop him."
He said people in Iraq were now "better off" - and hit back at criticism of post war planning, saying it had been disrupted by al-Qaeda and Iran, who had surprised everyone by working together to "destabilise" the country.
"We certainly didn't take a cavalier attitude to planning in the UK. What we planned for was what we thought was going to happen," he said.
Quoting frequently from his own speeches and statements, Mr Blair faced a sometimes tense session, with family members of service personnel killed in Iraq sat behind him in the public gallery reacting with dismay to some of his answers.
Earlier witnesses to the inquiry have suggested he told Mr Bush at their April 2002 meeting at the ranch in Crawford, Texas, that the UK would join the Americans in a war with Iraq.
But Mr Blair said: "What I was saying - I was not saying this privately incidentally, I was saying it in public - was 'we are going to be with you in confronting and dealing with this threat'.
"The one thing I was not doing was dissembling in that position. How we proceed in this is a matter that was open. The position was not a covert position, it was an open position."
Pressed on what he thought Mr Bush took from the meeting, he went further, saying: "I think what he took from that was exactly what he should have taken, which was if it came to military action because there was no way of dealing with this diplomatically, we would be with him."
But he also confirmed that a year later, on the eve of war, the Americans had offered Britain a "way out" of military action, which he had turned down.
Goldsmith decision
"I think President Bush at one point said, before the [Commons] debate, 'Look if it's too difficult for Britain, we understand'.
"I took the view very strongly then - and do now - that it was right for us to be with America, since we believed in this too."
On the issue of whether or not military action would be legal, Mr Blair said Mr Bush decided the UN Security Council's support "wasn't necessary". He said it was "correct" to say that he shared that view, although it would have been "preferable politically".
But he told the inquiry he would not have backed military action if Attorney General Lord Goldsmith had said it "could not be justified legally".
Asked why Lord Goldsmith, after initially saying he thought it would be illegal, in line with all government lawyers at the time, made a statement saying it would be legal a week before the invasion began, Mr Blair said the attorney general "had to come to a conclusion".
He said he had not had any discussions with Lord Goldsmith in the week before he gave his statement but he believed the attorney general had come to his view because weapons inspectors had "indicated that Saddam Hussein had not taken a final opportunity to comply" with UN demands.
Mr Blair was also quizzed about the controversial claim in a September 2002 dossier that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMD) at 45 minutes notice. Mr Blair said it "assumed a vastly greater significance" afterwards than it did at the time.
He said it "would have been better if (newspaper) headlines about the '45-minute claim' had been corrected" in light of the significance it later took on.
'Beyond doubt'
Looking back, he would have made it clearer the claim referred to battlefield munitions, not missiles, and would have preferred to publish the intelligence assessments by themselves as they were "absolutely strong enough".
But Mr Blair insisted that, on the basis of the intelligence available at the time, he stood by his claim at the time that it was "beyond doubt" Iraq was continuing to develop its weapons capability.
However he acknowledged "things obviously look quite different" now given the failure to discover any weapons after the invasion.
Even up to the last minute Mr Blair said he was "desperately" trying to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis but France and Russia "changed their position" and were not going to allow a second UN resolution.
Saddam Hussein had "no intention" of allowing his scientists to co-operate with UN weapons inspectors, he said, with the regime concealing key material.
Giving the inspectors more time would have made little difference, he added. He also said Iraq had the "intent" and technical knowhow to rebuild its weapons programme and would have done so if the international community had not acted.
Mr Blair also denied he would have supported the invasion of Iraq even if he had thought Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction, as he appeared to suggest last year in a BBC interview with Fern Brittan.
What he had been trying to say, he explained to the inquiry, was that "you would not describe the nature of the threat in the same way if you knew then what you knew now, that the intelligence on WMD had been shown to be wrong".
He said his position had not changed, despite what reports of the interview had suggested.
Mr Blair was at pains to point out that he believed weapons of mass destruction and regime change could not be treated as separate issues but were "conjoined".
He said "brutal and oppressive" regimes with WMD were a "bigger threat" than a benign states with WMD.
He also stressed the British and American attitude towards the threat posed by Saddam Hussein "changed dramatically" after the terror attacks on 11 September 2001, saying: "I never regarded 11 September as an attack on America, I regarded it as an attack on us."
Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot began the six hour question session by stressing that Mr Blair was not "on trial" but said he could be recalled to give further evidence if necessary.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8485694.stm
So what are your opinions on the matter? I personally agree with Blair about the fact that this should no longer be treated as a "2003 issue" but as a "2010 issue".
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby nevvy on Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:39 am

i think the enquiry is all a public show (and a waste of money). decisions were made for reasons that we do not know and these reasons will not become apparent for a long period of time. nobody will be charged with anything and they will claim closure on the matter.

i'm not usually this cynical.
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby {TPUK}Advocate on Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:53 pm

I think Saddam needed to be removed, the means chosen was an all out war which I think needed a proper UN resolution to sanction it and for this reason alone I think it was wrong to go ahead when we did. If Britain had delayed going to war a proper plan of action for the war and its aftermath could have been put into place which would not only have made the whole thing less of a publicity fiasco but saved lives. Improper planning for the after-care of Iraq and Afghanistan has caused many of our troops (some my friends) to lose their lives/limbs/mental health - waiting for a UN decision could have made a hell of a lot of difference to our troops and the Iraqi/Afghani locals.

Just my $0.02


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Wizav on Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:22 pm

I think USA/UK wanted oil so they planned 9/11 and 7/7 :D


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Xhiea on Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:12 pm

why would they plan 7/7? it happened 2 years after the iraq war started.
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Wizav on Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:15 pm

Afghanistan :)


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Xhiea on Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:51 pm

we were already in afghanistan
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Wizav on Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:07 am

I know im only pissing about , I do think the main reason for going in was oil and forward bases though thats for sure. I dont ever see US/UK troops leaving the middle east, Iran will be the next target.

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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Mr Tortoise on Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:11 pm

look at iran adn then look at the countried we have invaded recently.

for me the overall i ntent is very veyr clear.


As for wether we should of or not ... that is not hat is under debate ... the ends do NOT justify the means.
I really think that is true, i haven;t found a situation yet where the ends are relly more important than the means used to achieve them.


Eg is iraq really i a bertter situation now than before? I don;t think so .. .and so the ends most certainly do not jutify the means.

If the war was illegal then not only are the means unjustified but also the ends. In othert words it is a fuck up of enourmous magnitude.


Also re your opinion of saddam ... you only know what has been fed to you by the very government that wants to topple him.
Of course your views are entirley unbiased - how could they be otherwise.


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby {TPUK}Advocate on Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:57 pm

I'm going to assume your points were directed at me as no one else in the thread has mentioned Saddam....

Yes my views of a genocidal dictator have been fed by the information widely reported not only by our governments but by their own... I challenge anyone to put forward a well reasoned argument supporting that giant moustachioed douche and denying the well reported and proven facts.

I didn't say the ends justify the means, I said that the ends would have needed to be arrived at anyway and the way in which they have been achieved was not the best way to do so. Waiting for a proper UN resolution to sanction the war wouldn't have taken that long and it would have made the whole thing run smoother both politically and economically.

I cant deny that oil and territorial positioning does look like a strong motivator, but I think Iran is safe... for now. All the political posturing of late makes me think that the US is trying to wind up the Chinese government enough to make them start a war...


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Wizav on Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:06 pm

Pakistan has already made it very very clear that if USA attack iran they will back Iran its quite worrying how things might turn out in the middle east over the next 50-100 years.

I just hope nothing happens cause russia , china and north korea have itchy trigger fingers for the US


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Flare on Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:50 pm

The little I know and cared about the war in Iraq lead me to believe that the US and UK went to war to prevent Saddam using and / or trading WMD's, that there was a immediate and direct threat by Iraqs WMDs and that intelligence reports were allegedly available to indicate this WMD status...

... I think they found a testube in the desert, other than that the WMD speeches suddenly dried up and it was a liberation of oppressed Iraqi citizens.

... another reason I am sceptical about the US and UK humanitarian intrest is that Zimbabwe has a despot that no nation (other than those led by fellow dictators) would be able to protest the removal of, yet there is no intrest in rescuing those poor people, prehaps the people should start a rumour that oil / gold / diamonds / platinum / tree of immortaility / table of the last supper / [ insert prefered resource lure here ] has been discovered in Zimbabwe.
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Wizav on Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:30 pm

Aye if the removal of saddam was the only importance why not just send in a 2 man team of SAS, Job done.

They did it in yemen against egytians.

Men leave the sas , Men travel to yemen and kill loads of egytians , Men return to UK and rejoin sas. British involvement = Zero, World = gullible.


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby cowboyfromhell on Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:29 pm

Blair has been recalled for more questioning -

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/0 ... tony-blair
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby CraKinShOt on Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:05 pm

Well never mind the reason. Pre-emptive war was deemed illegal in Nuremberg and the generals who followed the orders were executed. Its the precedent which became law. Half the things the US and UK did prior to the war are illegal under the UN charter too.

Just need to see the "Friends of... " that Blair was rolling around in the hay with. Its beyond a doubt now who is really in control. I don't even care any more, its going to become so blatantly obvious to even the stupid people in this country that when things get interesting, things really will get interesting.

Strategically, that map is somewhat misleading. If anything, Turkey will be the next long term target, for either social unrest or western pressure.

Pakistan basically is a means to a Nuclear war with India and, ultimately then, with China. Pakistan very nearly had all out war with India a few years ago, before the coup. People are being groomed for the idea of terrorists getting their hands on a Nuke in Pakistan; but the target won't be Israel, or the west... it'll be india. Why in gods name would anyone think Pakistan was given Nukes for any other reason than to cull the largest population center on the earth.
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Mr Tortoise on Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:03 pm

i really dont see any reason to go to war with india or pakistan.

Really its israel and iran that are the big scary people.


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby EWJ on Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:26 pm

Mr Tortoise wrote:i really dont see any reason to go to war with india or pakistan.

.



both India and pakistan have Nuclear weapons and have been at each others throats for years... kashmir

very nearly started world war 3 a few years back...
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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Wizav on Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:34 am

It doesnt really matter if its Iran or pakistan , They are allies and there both somewhat allied with china also.

India is allied with UK/USA

Anyway you look at it if anyone does anything the shit is gunna hit the fan. China will never let USA take out its allies especially not iran which is like #4 on oil production world wide.

Irael attack iran = gg
iran attack israel = gg
pakistan attack india = gg
india attack pakistan = gg
USA attack either of them = gg

If USA ever get a major foothold in the middle east they will controll oil and oil = money = power. There needs to be a power balance between USA/China/Russia.

I think something is defonately going to happen one day, Human race hasnt had more than 100's years of peace in the last 2500 years. There's at least one major conflict every 100 years. I very much doublt iraq/afghanistan was the last and there's not really anyone else to attack apart from allies of china , north korea and iran.

Israel needs to be disarmed and usa needs a bitch slap from the EU/UN or its only going to be a matter of time.


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Re: Tony Blair at the Iraq Inquiry

Postby Mr Tortoise on Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:55 pm

yes they ahve been at it as long as i can rembmer (i am in my 30's btw) 3 years ago was worrying, but seriously i remember a time when i was a kid when it was really serious but i cant remember why .,.. it would of been around the time of the whole kuwait/iraq thing (they didnt have the weapon that they were supposed to have then either)

The difference is that both india and pakistan are heavily involved economically with us and have been for a long time ...
Their plitical systems are a lot less likley to fall apart. Hence the incident 3 years ago being really suprising ... its usually just jousting like america and israel.

they both ALREADY have nukes.

iran doesn't and tbh you really can;t let it get nukes.


Their medical programme is obviously a cover because who the hell wouldn;t want nukes when you stop to think about it?


wow i agree with wizav ... the way to success there is long term economic grinding leaving the countries in a delapidated state. Then its a case of managing 'insurgents'


Just remmeber there are more people alive now than in the history of man. That is why war will become more an dmore prevalent untill we get rid of a lot of the divisions of countries that we have now.

Its also why religion is such a big driver ... it is sdomething that is common accross national and continental borders.


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