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      Blair's Late & Unacceptable Apologies on Iraq

      By Manuel Yepe*

      In a recent interview with CNN, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized timidly for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

      “I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” Blair said, somehow with a straight face. “I can also apologize, by the way, for some of the mistakes in planning and certainly our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you remove the regime... But I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam.”

      He admitted lamely that there are “elements of truth” to the statement that the rise of ISIS can be directly attributed to the invasion of Iraq.

      On the subject, analyst Melissa Dykes wrote for The Daily Sheeple: “Considering Blair tried to play off the 2003 invasion as a response to a ‘crisis of the moment’ –and not something he had personally visited President George W. Bush at his Crawford ranch to discuss a year before the invasion as a leaked memo later proved– is pathetic.”

      The Telegraph is reporting that family members of soldiers who died in Iraq have responded to Blair’s “apology” with revulsion: “This man certainly got it wrong,” says the London publication. “179 British service personnel dead, 3,500 wounded. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children that lost their lives. The guy has got to hold his hands up and say I got it wrong and I apologize.”

      Figures differ depending on source, but a 2013 study concluded that the Iraq death toll was at least 500,000 people. Other sources say it is was well over a million dead. “Iraq remains one giant unmarked grave of unknown size,” the website Iraq Body Count has declared.

      It has also been suggested that Blair only apologized at all because the Chilcot Inquiry report is due out soon. The Inquiry –British public inquiry into the UK’s role in the Iraq war– began in 2009 by a Committee presided over by Sir John Chilcot.

      The delay in submitting the Chilcot report has become a national scandal. Probably it will not be ready before 2017, or that is, with no less than seven years delay and a decade after the last British troops left Iraq. A lot of people, including family members of soldiers who died in Iraq, see that war as unnecessary and futile.

      Journalist Peter Oborne, of London’s Daily Mail, has been working with a BBC team in developing their own recount of the war in Iraq. Their results are based on testimony and evidence obtained by Chilcot, as well as their own interviews with persons involved.

      These are the four key questions in Oborne’s survey and a brief summary of the conclusions that have been derived from the responses obtained:

      1. Was the information presented by the Blair government on the “weapons of mass destruction” held by Saddam that drove the UK into the war against Iraq in 2003 an accurate reflection of the underlying facts?

      A: There is devastating evidence that the Prime Minister misled Parliament and the British people about the threat of Saddam.

      2. Did the invasion of Iraq increase the threat from al-Qaeda to the UK?

      A: The evidence that the threat from al-Qaeda to the UK as a result of the Iraq war is clear and unequivocally proven.

      3. Is there hard evidence that Tony Blair entered into a secret deal with the US president George Bush that the UK would support US military action come what may?

      A: The evidence suggests that Blair entered some kind of arrangement with Bush, 11 months before the invasion, when both were in Bush’s ranch in Texas in April 2002.

      4. Was the war against Iraq legal?

      A: All lawyers of the Foreign Office at the time agreed that the war was illegal if it did not have a second approving resolution from the UN Security Council.

      Clearly, by his public statements, Blair felt committed to going to war at all costs, and compelled to disarm Iraq by force, if Saddam could not be disarmed by peaceful means.

      Oborne believes that the delay in the publication of the results of the official public inquiry is unforgivable, especially now that Britain is under pressure to send troops to Syria.

      *Manuel E. Yepe, is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana. He was Cuba’s ambassador to Romania, general director of the Prensa Latina agency; vice president of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television; founder and national director of the Technological Information System (TIPS) of the United Nations Program for Development in Cuba, and secretary of the Cuban Movement for the Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples.


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