“As he giveth so shall he taketh away” Blair on life

[Updated]

This is a follow up to the post below.

Hi David,

calling war with Iraq a mistake and a flawed decision doesn’t absolve him from the consequences of his actions. That’s a leap too far. Your other points are fair enough. Except I do believe you can compare the North and Iraq: one was an achievement and the other was an atrocity. One doesn’t cancel out the other. I never suggested that. But you can’t look at his legacy and not take the North into account.

Best,

Martina

And our response:

Hi Martina,

Every person has their successes and failures, the fact Blair contributed to peace in the North and at the same time death in Iraq is simply a reflection of the power his position granted him. The reality is he had a vested interest in both.

Mistake, blunder, error, all imply mere bad judgment or ignorance, they put aside the deliberate and intentional nature of war. Blair is no fool, he digested and then disregarded the advice he was given, he “fixed the facts around the policy” to convince the public and he sent young British troops to kill and die.

The scale of suffering and devastation the US and UK have left in Iraq is incalculable. What emotional and physical scars will the “50,000 Iraqi refugees forced into prostitution in Syria” bring back to Iraq, if they ever return? In Fallujah a new study has revealed “a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s,” “exceeding those reported by survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Imagine ten years from now trying to explain Shannon airport’s role to an Iraqi child that manages survives?

Blair will appear on the Late Late Show tonight, he will be welcomed and treated with deference by Tubridy. He will be praised for his work in the North, asked about the tough decisions and late nights. At some point Tubridy will become somber and perhaps ask whether he has any regrets about invading Iraq. Blair will say it was the right decision, and that while he regrets the lives of those killed (the lives the British government made no attempt to even count), he believes Iraq is better off. The interview will end on a lighter note and he will leave with a smile and a round of applause.

And the North really has very little to do with this. Whether Blair had contributed to peace there or not, he would still be welcomed by the media and establishment here, because evidently they really see very little wrong with killing and maiming the other side of the world.

Yours sincerely,

Another a reply:

You’re wrong on one point David, though right in many others. Blair’s contribution to the peace process is not simply a reflection of his position. He had the will to do it. if it was simply a case of position, any of his predecessors could have brought about peace. They didn’t. Of course he was helped by a readiness to negotiate and compromise within the IRA at that time. But it diminishes his role to say it’s just down to the fact he was PM. The Late Late will be exactly as you describe. That’s partly because this is how all interviews are carried out on chat shows – I don’t defend that either, it’s froth – and not because Blair is being singled out for an easy ride. But I like that you challenge me, and make me think harder. Thank you for that. Martina

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