On air: Should Britain be proud that Tony Blair is appearing at the Iraq Inquiry?

I heard one text being read out on Five Live in which the listener argued he was feeling proud to be British. How many countries, he asked, would have their former leader answering sharp questions on his most controversial decision for six hours? We had a visitor from the BBC’s Russian Service who said that this accountability is what’s interesting his listeners. Do you applaud this process, and would your country ever host something similar? Would you want it to?

88 Responses to “On air: Should Britain be proud that Tony Blair is appearing at the Iraq Inquiry?”

  1. 1 Crispo, Uganda
    January 29, 2010 at 14:05

    What happiness can Britain possible gain from Blair’s appearance at this stage rehearsal inquest?

    Rather Britain’s happiness should stem from the fact that all law makers who supported the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan are brought to book.

    We should stop impunity please.

  2. 2 Leo in London
    January 29, 2010 at 14:33

    I am fortunate enough to sit in on the afternoon session of the inquiry. We shouldn’t be proud of him appearing at all. He should be – as a former leader of this country and just like any other parliamentarian who works for the people – be accountable for all his actions and decisions whenever they are in question. 

    I am a little disappointed though that the inquiry’s committee isn’t also chaired by someone more experienced in interviewing and asking the really tough questions that need to be answered, like Jeremy Paxman.  It’s unlikely we’ll ever get this opportunity again.

  3. 3 Christophe
    January 29, 2010 at 15:30

    I’m sorry. When was Iraq ever declared a “war”. As far as I’m aware it never was.
    Regime change was the motive. And, I’m sure the extremist hated Sadam as much as they hate the U.S.

  4. 4 T
    January 29, 2010 at 15:44

    The texter is missing an important point.

    There’s a difference between “sharp” (which makes for great soundbites and political theater) and doing your job. Many said the same thing about the 9/11 Commission. Which was a waste of time.

    The truth is, if nothing is done after Blair testifies then it’s all a complete waste of time.

    • 5 Amy
      January 30, 2010 at 00:17

      I disagree with your opinion of the 9/11 Commission Report. It was extremely informative, in my American opinion. In the report, it stated, when PM Blair visited President Bush at the ranch, Blair asked Bush, “what about Iraq?”. To that, Bush responded, “Right now, we are concerned with Afghanistan.” “Some, in my cabinet have been urging me to take action, but in the end it is up to me”.
      The Report also gave detailed information on the workings of our Intelligence Services. I have the highest regard for Tony Blair and for Britain but, quite frankly, am amazed he is being put through what seems like a public Kangaroo Court.
      Just one more thing; the British military is one of the best in the world and our American were grateful to have them there.

  5. 6 jpecci
    January 29, 2010 at 15:52

    Even for those who thought that Iraq had reconstituted weapons —– The UN had inspectors on the ground under Hans Blix. There was a major media campaign to disparage Mr Blix

    The UN was turning up NO EVIDENCE of WMD.

    The UN inspectors were ordered out. Why?

    To me this a key turning point in showing that US and Britain wanted a war no matter what the facts.

    I hope they press him on why the called out the UN inspectors.

  6. 7 Bruce Aleksander
    January 29, 2010 at 15:53

    I wish that we were having these kinds of hearing in the US and finally get Bush & Chaney to come clean on why we were mislead into Iraq. I believe we were mislead deliberately, fed false information, and that the attack on Iraq was a foregone conclusion by the Bush administration from the start. Our democracy only works when we citizens are given the truth as a basis on which to decide policy. If we were deliberately lied to, it is a travesty that should have consequences for those who mislead us. We must drag this into the sunlight now so that we can avoid these mistakes in the future.

    • 8 gary indiana
      January 29, 2010 at 17:04

      It isn’t just leaders who must be dragged in to the sunlight; but we also, for wars are not waged by leaders. Being effectively deceived doesn’t confer dispensation for ignorance; it simply implies a need for more acute consideration and greater skepticism.

  7. 9 salvatore
    January 29, 2010 at 16:03

    Yes, definitely, Britain should be very proud of Blair appearing on the enquiry and the enquiry made public and live on the internet.
    I think that in lots of other Countries this would never happen.
    An especially in Italy where the politicians are always cover each other and are always able to control the press.

  8. 10 Jeff in the US
    January 29, 2010 at 16:20

    Wow. What has happened to the BBC?

    I just listened to a female interviewer giggling flirtatously with the man who coined the phrase “Shock and Awe” and who helped push our nations into an illegal war. Can I ask her what is so funny about an illegal war that kills and maims hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians?

    Then I listen to a “debate” between this craven war-monger, and an Obama-nice-guy apologist who agrees with him that there is no point in even having this polite discussion with the war criminals, since we have supposedly already learned all the lessons there are to learn about how we ended up spend trillions of dollars in an illegal war that goes on to this day.

    Excuse me, but why is the world supposed to ignore the crimes of death and destruction committed by Blair, Bush, and Cheney while at the same time it (correctly) thinks that the war-crimes of other world leaders should be prosecuted to the fullest. Would these “experts” argue that we should just release Karajic and should have let Hitler off the hook for the war-crimes he committed?

    Would it be possible for the BBC to find someone to bring into their studio as an “expert” who thinks there might actually be some importance to international laws, and who thinks that criminals should be prosecuted for their crimes, even when those criminals are Presidents and Prime Ministers who look good on camera?

    • 11 martha
      January 29, 2010 at 19:35

      thank you for voicing precisely my reaction to hearing the presenter gigling as she introduced the man who coined the phrase Shock & Awe–who, I believe, turned out to have very sensible reactions to the illegality of the war, as opposed to the painful apologist, (not sir) Peter, who opposed him.
      And for voicing my reaction to the “we have learned the lessons” nonsense. Sounds lIke a wife beater let out of jail with no penalty. The lesson learned is , simply,impunity! But of course we are talking about blatantly illegal behavior on the part of heads of state, and the deaths of thousands, and possibly over a million Iraqis.
      thank you

  9. 12 Robert Macala
    January 29, 2010 at 16:23

    Where is the George Bush inquiry? There never will be one. The Neo-cons
    and the Fox News Crew are still in control over here across the pond. England
    should be commended, but alas, your country is being controlled by the
    same forces that created more misery and suffering in the middle East. We are all afraid to even mention the Elephant in the livingroom: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how it controls the entire region and the rest of the world. Just try to board an airplane anywhere in the world and you are experiencing this tragic conflict. Until we openly discuss the real course of conflict and the sources of
    terrorism, we will never solve the problem affecting all of us. Let’s have a real
    Board of Inquiry, instead of this polite sham.

  10. 13 Jagjit Singh Mukandpuri
    January 29, 2010 at 16:41

    Freedom of press in UK is on the top. But ex. President of US addmitted before leaving the chair, that CIA has given misinformation about Iraq. Can TB has courage to addmitte the truth?

  11. 14 Nick in Atlanta
    January 29, 2010 at 16:44

    The British should be proud as a people for questioning the very premises for the invasion of Iraq from the start. Even in the wake of your own terrorist attacks, the British have still managed to separate the acts of religious extremism from this war.

    For good reason, because when you strip away all of the false reasons for invasion, the”suspicions” about Saddam, a rather frightening pattern emerges. In the U.S. it was called “Coercive Democracy” by the administration that led the invasion and occupation. This is a new paradigm which violates the basic international laws that arose following WWII which were designed to assure that no nation invades another based on its own “suspicions”. All this means is that any powerful nation can invade a less powerful one to impose its own form of government on those less powerful nations. This violates virtually all of the internationals conventions established in the last half century. The Geneva Conventions assert that no occupying power will use its occupation to establish another type of government as a result of that occupation. Regime change itself does not make the cut.

    • 15 Rob C
      January 29, 2010 at 17:20

      In reading what you’ve written above, I’m reminded of a quote by the late Clarence Darrow —

      “True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.”

  12. 16 Mohammed Haruna
    January 29, 2010 at 17:11

    They should be happy and proud that their leaders have the courage to acount for d decision they took for their people’s sake. Whereas In places like my country nigeria one will never know the decision our leaders are taking.

  13. 17 Billy Wachakana from Kenya
    January 29, 2010 at 17:19

    Tony Blayer is one of the wisest and best leaders this world has ever had. those behind the inquiry should clearly state their agenda. they may want to destroy the popularity of the labour party. I was shocked today beyond recognition as people shouted that “Tony Blair is a war criminal.” They sholuldn’t tag him that way. Tony blair remains my personal hero coz he send troops to liberia to calm the situation. Britons should acknowledje the fact that mr Blair is just a good leader.

  14. January 29, 2010 at 17:20

    Tony Blair appearing before a tribunal is called democracy and accountability.We should be proud of that.When will George Bush & co.appear before a similar US tribunal?

    • January 30, 2010 at 10:51

      In democracy there is also such a thing as RULE OF LAW where everyone is treated alike before the law. Britain excels in putting on shows: The X-FACTOR ;BRITAIN HAS TALENT and now the CHILCOT SHOW. There is prima facie case aginst Blair and he should be hauled before the ICC and charged for war crimes. Of course, only small time criminals from samll countries are brought before the law. Britain should hang its head in shame for this travesty of justice.

  15. 20 Mohammed Haruna
    January 29, 2010 at 17:23

    They should be happy and proud that their leaders have the courage to acount for d decision they took for their sake. Whereas In places like my country nigeria you will never know the decision our leaders are taking. Talkless of accounting for them.

  16. 21 jens
    January 29, 2010 at 17:24


    sadams problem was that i was way too good at playing poker with UN and ultimatly USA. he told the world that he had no weapons, but infered he could…..you forget the bitter war between iraq and iran. he could not loose face in terms of having no potential threats, but he could not afford to have them given the sanctions……so he played poker.

  17. 22 Linda from Italy
    January 29, 2010 at 17:27

    I’m afraid I’ve been embarrassed to be a Brit ever since the Iraq misadventure and I wouldn’t exactly say making Blair face some, albeit muted, music makes me proud, or even makes up for his colossal error of judgement which he still won’t admit to.
    @ Leo in London, fabulous image, I’d love to see him grilled by Paxman, now he is someone who restores my faith in the UK,
    @ Salvatore, as a resident in Italy for 11 years, yes I agree that it is unlikely a certain Sig. B will ever get his comeuppance, let alone all the other completely corrupt politicians and (un)civil servants with their organised crime associations and the cover of institutionalised nepotism However, I don’t measure Italy or the US for that matter by what I consider should be UK standards, so thanks for your words, but I’m still embarrassed………

  18. 23 Nigel
    January 29, 2010 at 17:28

    I should think that Britain would be proud if Blair stopped being a lawyer and dealt with the facts face on. The whole world would be proud of Britain if he conceeded that his reason for going to war in Iraq was faulted and the war was ill-advised.

  19. 24 stephen/portland
    January 29, 2010 at 17:33

    Yes very much so. Good on Tony Blair!

    I do not agree with the war but at least the people who brought us to this position should explain themselves and if they’re where mistakes made at least tell us what information they processed at the time to make such a decision.

    The arrogance of the Bush administration is very frustrating to me that age-old attitude politicians have that they know better than the great-unwashed masses.

    I think if you ever want to know Mr. Bush’s warped reasoning for getting us involved in Iraq you will have to buy his memoirs or pay $2000 a head to attend a after dinner speech. Either way he’s getting Rich.

    It’s the American way I guess!

  20. 25 Anakor Chigoziem
    January 29, 2010 at 17:42

    It is a result of Independece the Brithish Judiciary has.

  21. 26 pendkar
    January 29, 2010 at 18:22

    The accountability is positively impressive.

  22. 27 eSCe
    January 29, 2010 at 18:23

    What a joke. Tony Blair is a politician. Would he say otherwise and risk being a tried as a war criminal. He is no better than the Chinese leaders who crushed the Tiananmen uprising.

  23. 28 amos (NIGERIA)
    January 29, 2010 at 18:31

    I consider this as Accountability by example

  24. January 29, 2010 at 18:33

    Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq has been an eye opener. Tony Blair conceded too much to George Bush. He took advantage of his position for self gain and aggrandizement but the inquiry exposed him.
    Saddam was no angel nor is Khamenei in Iran but see the difference of approach of Gordon Brown and US President Obama.
    British politics demands transparency and accountability, signs of good governance. What drove Tony Blair to excess is not certain but it is nothing to boast about.

  25. January 29, 2010 at 18:41

    Tony Blair argument was, as I understand, a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq was necessary equating the danger of Iraq under Saddam with that of Iran under the current regime. In other words, while danger is contained in Iraq it is still lurking in Iran. Whatever argument he has put or he will put, those opposed to the invasion will find it as a shallow rhetoric to justify preserving the ongoing superiority of the West in the face of the emerging military powers of other countries, especially North Korea and Iran.

    The Iraq inquiry will be used just for academic purposes to shed more lights on how and why it was necessary to invade a country. Politically, the tide can’t be turned. Iraq will continue to be in the grip of the West, mainly the USA.

    It can be a precedent that all the key British personalities involved in Iraq invasion are asked to justify their action. It’s a kind of political transparency allowing the public to know more. What is certain is that the invasion isn’t going to be seen as a war crime necessitating trial at an international court, to the frustration of those who had campaigned against the war and those who lost their loved ones, mainly the Iraqis.

  26. 31 username
    January 29, 2010 at 18:48

    “Will start the prog with “Blair in Jail” chants from outside ”

    Biased BBC once again!

  27. 32 Michael Callender
    January 29, 2010 at 18:59

    On one of your twitter feeds it says that you’ll start with protesters chanting that Blair should be in jail. Well, I totally agree.

    Both he and former US president George Bush should serve jail time for human rights abuse in all those countries that they declared those illegal wars on.

  28. 33 Vikram
    January 29, 2010 at 19:01

    Britain should be very proud for exercising a tenet of TRUE democracy. Every elected official should be accountable of his/her actions while holding that office. It’s a pity that head of states act like dictators with no repercussions for their actions.

  29. 34 Tres
    January 29, 2010 at 19:08

    Yes, Britain should be proud of this because there isn’t anything to be proud of, these days.

  30. 35 steve
    January 29, 2010 at 19:11

    Can you ask the anti war people why they don’t buy Blair’s WMD argument? If I asked you about Iran, is it because you WANT them to get nuclear weapons so they can “stand up” to the west?

  31. 36 Trent Peacock
    January 29, 2010 at 19:12

    Need I remind those who supported Blair and Bush that while Saddam had chemical weapons, they were bought from the US govt. during the Regan administration.

  32. January 29, 2010 at 19:12

    The Britons should be grateful they have some form of accountability. If we get half of that here in Kenya i’d be very greatful. But i think the decision to invade Iraq was rushed over and unilateral by all sense of the word and now the chickens have come home to roost thus making every corner of the world less safer.

    Nakuru, Kenya

  33. 38 steve
    January 29, 2010 at 19:14

    Can you ask your russian guest about the motivations behind, and what her personal views are, about the Russian invasion of Georgia not too long ago?She seems to be anti-war and anti invasion, so what are her views about HER country’s invasion of Georgia?

  34. January 29, 2010 at 19:14

    First, aggressive war has been illegal under international law since 1928, under which Nazi and Japanese leaders were tried and some executed after WWII. Blair & Bush et al. should be indicted for war crimes, and they can float their duplicitous nonsense in the International Criminal Court.

    Second, Blair cites Iraq’s defiance of UN resolutions, but Israel has defied far, far more UN resolutions for 62 years and committed far more crimes against humanity with complete impunity and protection from international justice by US vetoes in the UN Security Council.

  35. 40 Ottilie
    January 29, 2010 at 19:16

    Yes, Britain should be proud. I consider it scandalous that Bush is not having to answer to the American people for his actions.

  36. 41 Andrew Nixon
    January 29, 2010 at 19:16

    I have followed for the last six weeks this inquiry, and whatever your opinions are on the context of the evidence given is one that are your own.
    However, with regards to the reporting by the BBC on this inquiry I find it both manipulative and biased.
    The subject of regret by Tony Blair will be a subject that will rage long and hard for some considerable time to come. The question posed by Lord Chilcot was,” Are you sorry for the suffering and loss and do you have any regret? The reply from Tony Blair was Yes he was Sorry for the Human Loss, but as far as regret for the decision that he took – No.
    It is a sad loss for anyone if their Son or Daughter die in conflict, but let us not forget that the Army in this country is voluntary. You sign up knowing the consequences.
    In my opinion all war is wrong per see, but until such a time comes when war is irradiated ; it is an inevitability.
    People in power have to make tough decisions, and sometimes those decisions are difficult and hard to swallow – This is one such decision. And once again we as a country freely elected this man into power.
    If you were able to watch the unabridged hearings and the overtly biased summary’s during the breaks by the BBC commentators (obviously following the editorial edicts of their producers), you will have witnessed the dismissive responses by Emily Maitlan to views and opinions that fell outside this remit. In particular the comments made by the lady who is foreign Ambassador from Kurdistan in this country. She said that she finds it hard to understand the inquiry, and cannot understand why the UK is not proud of the work they have put in to removing Saddam Hussein from power. Ms. Maitlain’s response was disgusting. Consequently in the intervening time to the next break it was obviously a frantic search through connections to find people that would have opinions similar to those of the people producing this programme. Low and behold this was the case.

    Once again we find ourselves being manipulated by the media to form opinions that they themselves want us to believe. I cannot force myself to have to listen and watch the summary on the Six O’clock news taking everything out of context and presenting a picture that has been decided by a closed group of people from primarily white middle class backgrounds, and have certainly no concept of repression and fear in a dictatorial society.

  37. January 29, 2010 at 19:22

    The question that also needs to be answered is whether Arab States, especially Gulf states, were happy to see Saddam regime toppled as he was a threat to them, knowing they needed US protection.

    What support did UK and USA get from these states?

    If the invasion of a country is based on worse human rights records, how many countries in the world need invasion for their peoples to live in dignity?

  38. 43 Ben Wornell
    January 29, 2010 at 19:23

    Saddam’s regime was undoubtedly evil. But that isn’t the issue. And it’s not why “we” went in there. If it was, then there many places throughout the globe the UK and US should invade. The concern about the potential destabilizing influence of is legitimate. However, the degree of force and deterrence should be congruous with the potential threat. Finally the shortsighted foreign policy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” that is partially responsible for enabling dictators like Saddam is still firmly entrenched. What problems will our support of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afganistan raise 20 years from now.

  39. January 29, 2010 at 19:26

    well – i belief that the number one thing Blair need to do domestically is apologize . People tend to like a country or leader when it saves a life not send troops to Iraq. Blair was wrong

  40. 45 nora
    January 29, 2010 at 19:27

    Only caught Blair’s last session. The mindset of empire — the right to chat about regime change with the boys, then do it, is well set in his mind. He is a bright speaker who guides away from Abu Grabe, etc.

    Perhaps he will call G.W. Bush and ask him to come answer some of the questions left by the British people.

  41. 46 Sharafadeen A. (Sokoto)
    January 29, 2010 at 19:28

    Tony Blair and Bush both of them are lairs they deceived the entire world to justify their plan aggression.
    If as they accused Saddam of using chemical weapon on its citizen for years back and if he must be punished for that then I think it is equally important to punished it source who are the America during iran-iraq war. Another is the they Bush and Blair say they brought about freedom in Iraq but how many carnage they brought as freedom? In fact Both of them (Bush and Blair) suppose to be charged for war crime.

  42. 47 Jaime Saldarriaga
    January 29, 2010 at 19:33

    In my opinion, Yes. It is good for the people to see liability of Prime Minister for his actions.

  43. 48 martha
    January 29, 2010 at 19:37

    i admire the UK for holding this enquiry, and making it public.
    I deplore your American-in- Paris blogger Eric–you should not have such ignorant people on, who have only lame appeals to sentiment with no knowledge of history or law, or even sovereignty.
    One should ask him first, where and when will he himself serve in uniform and second, where should the world’s cops invade next. How about Burma/Myanmar? North Korea (they HAVE those WMD’s)? Israel (also holding secret stash of WMDs)…
    I appreciate your programme.

  44. 49 A.J.
    January 29, 2010 at 19:38

    It is sad that we need to debate this at all.
    All citizens of any country involved in the war in Iraq wanted to believe that what their leaders were telling them was true. If we put that trust in our governments then we had to be, at least, supportive of our military personnel for their service.
    Clearly, Saddam Hussein was a bad character who committed horrible crimes against other countries and his own people. We wanted to believe that if we committed our resources and our brave countryman’s lives that it was for good reason. When does a world leader’s behavior constitute an invasion?
    Saddam had NOT reconstituted his nuclear weapons capability and he had NOTHING to do with the attacks of September 11th. If we went into Iraq for the reasons that remained after finding these two to be false, there must be tens if not hundreds of other countries where, by that reasoning, we should probably invade as well.
    Tony Blair, like the rest of us, was probably so convincingly lied to that if he were to take no action he would be seen as ignoring what might lead to terrible consequences for the world. Who wants THAT on their head?
    Honestly, where does it all end?

  45. 50 John LaGrua/New York
    January 29, 2010 at 19:38

    The UK inquiry is an essential process to cause the public to refocus on the deceit which political leaders are capable of using to mislead their citizens,An inqury in the US was still born because many of the congressional leadership in lock step with the Isreal Lobby were the driving force for war.Truth is the great victim in the US as those forces continue to try to frustrate the revelation of the facts about the Iraq war movement.The attempt to move the upcoming trial of the leader of the 9/11 attack from New York where it will get world media exposure to an obscure venue is a blatant attempt to hide the facts from the American people Trivial excuses such as cost of security and inconvenience are shameful diversions,Public cynicism is the greatest threat to a vital democracy.

  46. 51 Maria
    January 29, 2010 at 19:44

    The prosecution of the conflict in Iraq of 2003 was sheer aggression and justified with the flimsiest of excuses. Not only should the UK be ashamed, so should the United States. I say this a US citizen, as the mother of soldier serving in the Middle East and a resident of NYC who witnessed the attacks on the WTC. I am no liberal apologist but the Iraq conflict has to be one of the most pointless and idiotic actions EVER.

    A similar inquiry should be held in the US but only if the aim is to take action against those who insisted on invading Iraq so I doubt it will ever happen.

  47. January 29, 2010 at 19:44

    The Iraq inquiry in UK is an exception even for advanced democracies. In countries where there is lack of democracy, it is a crime to criticise the government . It is unimaginable even to conduct a frank interview with a leader by the national media, let alone asking that leader to sit for hours answering questions from an inquiry team.

  48. 53 Bilar Peter
    January 29, 2010 at 19:46

    Well, it’s commendable that the former british pm was questioned for hours. As a Nigerian I wish my former president Obasanjo will also avail himself for such, cos he has far more to answer to Nigerians than Blair has to his countrymen. But of course I’am day dreaming, that will never happen in Nigeria. Bilar Peter from Nigeria

  49. 54 Tom D Ford
    January 29, 2010 at 19:47

    “On air: Should Britain be proud that Tony Blair is appearing at the Iraq Inquiry?”

    Oh for goodness sakes, Blair was spouting the propaganda to justify the war in the first place, he is well versed and practiced in it, he won’t contradict himself.

    We need to give prosecutor types the authority to thoroughly and freely investigate everything to do with the war on Iraq and present their evidence.

    I like that the Blair had to answer “question time” and I’d like to see something like that in the US with the President, VP, and the leaders of the US Congress, both the House and the Senate.

  50. 55 Chintan in Houston
    January 29, 2010 at 19:49

    Hate the fact that innocent lives of soldiers and civilians were lost.
    But on the bright side now they have life long of freedom and democracy.
    During the Nazi invasion America still went in the war because it was the right thing to do to take out Hitler. Why can’t we use this analogy.
    Yes the powers in the world could not take out Stalin but I am sure they wanted to but it was not possible. There was a positive outcome from this war.

    The worst outcome of this was, KURDISTAN which they have declared as an independent country. Another British policy of ‘divide and rule which led to partition between Indian and Pakistan, I see a lot of similarities.

    • 56 Linda from Italy
      January 30, 2010 at 01:02

      Sorry Chintan, but I don’t know where you learnt your history. The war against Germany kicked off in 1939 with the Brits and the French declaring war on Germany because of the invasion of Poland which breached a defence pact.
      The US only entered WW2 after Pearl Harbour, 2 years later in 1941, when Japan attacked the US fleet, so this was nothing to do with taking out Hitler, although they have claimed to be on the side of the angels ever after.
      Re the partition of India: something that followed the acceptance that the British Empire was finished, this was anything but divide and rule, since Brit rule was no longer relevant, but rather the choice of those who would take back rule of the sub-continent from the Brits. Jinnah orchestrated the creation of Pakistan to counteract the manufactured notion that Muslims would not get a fair deal in predominantly Hindu India. Just take a look at the two states that emerged from partition: India, a secular state, has its problems, but is forging ahead with a democracy that is at least credible and a growing economy, but Pakistan is a basket case, a state founded on religion, with all the horrors that entails.

    • 57 Kenneth Ingle
      January 30, 2010 at 12:04

      Many Americans lost their lives or health fighting alongside the British in the Second World War. I take off my hat to all who fight for freedom!

      The USA government at the time however waited until it was sure of taking over most of Britain’s share of world markets. After Britain had been weakend enough and Churchill asked for “Tools to do the Job” America stepped in to help. The price however had to be paid. Fifty years afterward the war ended, the depts were still being stottered up.

      We should not make the mistake of judging countries by their governments. It is the normal people who count.

  51. 58 snorri iceland
    January 29, 2010 at 19:51

    It absolutely baffles me to hear people change the reasons for the invasion depending on who they are talking to. To some people,I guess, ignorance is bliss. Blair and Bush are war criminals responsible for the deaths of far more people than Saddam!

  52. January 29, 2010 at 19:51

    Tony Blair is a political romantic and like all political romantics he will discover war as solutions before pragmatism and diplomacy. What ever happen to the customary international law of “Non-interventionism”.

  53. 60 steve
    January 29, 2010 at 19:53

    The acts AFTER the invasion, the bombings, etc are from sectarian intolerance, from religious, hatred, and not because of the US. The US has invaded plenty of nations, where this hasn’t happened, so there is something inherently wrong with Iraq. We occupied Germany for over 50 years, did anything like that happen there? Japan?

  54. 61 steve
    January 29, 2010 at 19:54

    Why would Blair lie or ally himself with Bush if he didn’t believe it? Remember, Blair is from the Labour party, the left. Bush is from the right. Even the British conservatives are lefties compared to our conservatives, so why on Earth would Blair ally with Bush if he really didn’t believe?

  55. 62 Tom D Ford
    January 29, 2010 at 19:55

    Erics’ argument also justifies Hitlers invasion of Poland, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, etc, and it also justifies the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, China, etc.


    Our Greatest Generation defined a War of Aggression as a War Crime at the Nuremberg trials!

  56. 63 Fadil Ishak Dapilaa
    January 29, 2010 at 22:25

    I am very proud of Tony Blair, six hrs of interogation to many who had pre-judged him guilty was a shame to them. Britain and the U.S were facing impending threat from a tyrant who subjected his people to slavery with impunity. even if no WMD were found, it was to show the world that, the west was ready to defend the oppressed and to expel any notion or reality of terrorism which may retard the progress of the world and cause insecuirity among it citizens. it has not only shown the West’s military might which has tend to protect the many weak countries but also its strong will. I think Tony Blair will be vindicated after the commission’s work. I wil follow this from GHANA.

  57. 64 Tom D Ford
    January 29, 2010 at 22:38

    Blair said he thinks that the world is safer now.

    Has he been hiding his head in the sand? Just look at what the Iraqi “insurgents” and other anti-West groups have developed as methods and weapons of war in reaction to the invasion of Iraq; explosively formed projectile IEDS, vastly refined explosive vests for suicide bombers, the export around the world of suicide bombing techniques, the development and use of those PETN explosives that Richard Reed and that Nigerian kid tried to use on airliners, on and on.

    In other words, the bad guys evolved their methods and techniques to try and keep up with the ways and means of the West. Those weapons and methods would either not have evolved or would have been evolved way later in time.

    The Bush/Cheney/PNAC/Blair war against Iraq has resulted in what the CIA calls “blowback”, in more attacks all around the world, Spain, Great Britain, Bombay India, etc.

    The world is not safer now, it is less safe, and Blair is accountable for making it so.

  58. 65 Bert
    January 29, 2010 at 23:58

    Wow. I felt sorry for Eric, sounding like the lone voice supporting this misbegotten action in Iraq.

    I keep hearing a lot of confusion out there about why the US got into WWII. A lot of revisionism. The reaonon for entering WWII was because we were attacked, firsto of all, and because we saw Hitler invading the rest of Europe. It had NOTHING to do with Hitelr being brutal to his own people.

    Same goes with the first Gulf War. We ONLY mobilized because Iraq was invading Kuwait, and of course, Kuwait is important to us. That’s it., The reason as not because Saddam Hussein was a brutal leader.

    Afghanistan, similarly, was a result of their harboring Al Qaeda, who had attacked us.

    There is no excuse at all for Iraq. No amount of ex post facto rationalizing can ever change that. Even the supposed thteat of WMD doesn’t change that, as Saddam was effectively boxed in anyway. Even UN resolutions toward Iraq can’t change that, as the UN was perfectly happy to use sanctions as a way of retaliating for Iraq’s violation of the UN resolutions.

    But Tony Blair is not the primary perpetrator here. That would be Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Bush, in that order.

  59. January 30, 2010 at 00:45

    If it were a trial there would be some cause for pride. But Britain is a country that has a political and social culture which makes such things difficult to achieve and I would suggest that is cause for some shame.

    Would my country be any better? It’s hard to say. I’m at least proud that our previous Prime Minister despite the screaming and shouting from the main opposition party at the time refused to join the Iraq invasion. Even if that decision cost us the possibility of a free-trade deal with the United States for a very long time.

    I’m also proud that we have an electoral system that isn’t as limited as Britain’s. The British people are effectively limited to 2 parties – both of whom supported the war. So accountability via the ballot box is also not possible for them.

  60. 67 T
    January 30, 2010 at 01:12

    If the Inquiry does it’s job, yes. But also, a question.

    Does intl. law mean anything, or not?

  61. 68 loudobservant
    January 30, 2010 at 02:13

    The British people have nothing, absolutely, to be proud of,instead it is a shame on them and their Nation that their so-called PM turned out to be a henchman of terrorists and war-mongers and promoted crimes against, and mass murder of, humanity at large.It is worthwhile for someone to hurl filthy shoes at him in the enquiry room.I hope and wish someone does it before he disappears into oblivion.

  62. 69 Ojuolape Afeez
    January 30, 2010 at 06:24

    It is good such a thing is happening though I’m still waiting for the outcome of this inquiry. What is interesting is that is only in developed country like Britain such a thing can happen, I wonder if it were to be in Nigeria?

  63. 70 S C Mehta
    January 30, 2010 at 06:29

    Tony Blair’s eloquence has always been par-excellence; besides, he thinks fast and logical, and knows what he is talking about. But, in the first place, this Inquiry was unnecessary, uncalled for if I may say so, and in the second, he should have refused to be grilled like a convict; If at all it was so necessary and he conscientiously felt the need to defend his decision to Britain’s participation in the Iraq war, then he could have chosen send his reply (to the questionnaire) in writing.

  64. 71 David
    January 30, 2010 at 08:41

    I agree with Snorri iceland January 29, 2010 at 19:51
    “It absolutely baffles me to hear people change the reasons for the invasion depending on who they are talking to. To some people,I guess, ignorance is bliss. Blair and Bush are war criminals responsible for the deaths of far more people than Saddam!”

    I quess my question is “Where is the United Nations Criminal Court we had to have??” If we can not try Bush and Blair, then it leaves the rest of the world dry and naked and we may never succeed in trying the other dangerous people.

  65. 72 David
    January 30, 2010 at 08:52

    It is interesting to read what people think. I have a coment which is a reply to Steve January 29, 2010 at 19:54 in this forum. “Why would Blair lie or ally himself with Bush if he didn’t believe it? Remember, Blair is from the Labour party, the left. Bush is from the right. Even the British conservatives are lefties compared to our conservatives, so why on Earth would Blair ally with Bush if he really didn’t believe?:

    Steve, do not forget chemistry that “the left always want to sleep with the right”

    So this is no defence

  66. 73 Ed
    January 30, 2010 at 09:04

    Do you really think Mr Blair would have even showed up if he really had to answer for anything, the show must go on to keep you and me safe, from whom ever is the chosen enemy of the day. The world could never have been safe as it is now had western forces not killed 3 million Iraqis and destroyed the country and its infrastructure.

  67. 74 noelia
    January 30, 2010 at 09:32

    Is somebody going to stop this hypocrisy please? who helped Sadamm to build his arsenal of chemical weapons for the Iran invasion????
    The same countries now comdemning this regime and justifying the invasion!!!

    Of course it was not a good leader primarily with the majority of his people (shiias) but please stop covering an interest for ressources (petrol) with a good-faith and justice mission!
    We call ourselves developped nations with proffessionnal intelligence services and you’re going to justify a massacre of inocent people to remove a dictator (that they place in in the first place!!!) ?

    The USA governments have an endless list of colonialist invasions establishing dictators and then removing them when they don’t serve their purposes anymore. And in all cases, they were imposing suffering and missery to the citizens of those countries just to exploit ressources or global influence. Worst, Europe has finally always followed them because of fear and interest too!

    Please let’s stop telling such a bunch of lies to save our soul. If the middle east is gained by radical groups it is just our fault: we exploit them and then try to teach them moral!!!
    How would you react if you earn 2 dollars a day or even less, have no health cover and foreighners come to teach you about democracy?!!

    Please, where is our humanity when we have been hearing since 2003 about hundreds of deaths (civilians) in Irak daily, and we still justify that it was to prevent that their dictator kills them?

  68. 75 Ronald Almeida
    January 30, 2010 at 10:30

    Should Britain be proud?

  69. 76 Kenneth Ingle
    January 30, 2010 at 11:48

    As a Briton living overseas, perhaps I see things in not quite the same way as those still in “Blighty”.

    Blair has thown away all the values I thought were British. Therefore Britain cannot be proud to only ask him why he ignored international laws. To my mind both he and Bush should be placed before a war crimes court.

    If we accept, that not liking somebody is a reason to go to war, why blame Hitler for sending his army into Poland?

  70. January 30, 2010 at 18:15

    HI YES! In my view tony blair is not above the law and he acted in such away that he gave his opinion to george bush that we were backing him with regards to the actions he was taking against saddam. Well we did not back tony. We did not agree to such decietful tactics. Saddam should have been respected as he was a leader regardless of how we felt he lead his country. Also alot of us knew that the intention was to after saddams oil and excuses were used. Our own press were issued statements that were insighting war not quelling war. We were being told things like saddam had weapons of mass destruction etc. There was never any proof of that also why should saddam take orders from other countries who were making up rules as they went along and saying that saddam was defying all the sanctions. Tosh! Saddam should have been dealt with in a fair and just legal way. They knew they were going to hang him so the sham of a trial was unjust. Publicly hanging saddam was we know the highest insult to his country. It was disgraceful to televise the hanging, how many millions of children around the world saw that. We are soposed to out of the dark ages. Tony Blair has no excuse for his part in all that took place and he is a barrister so his excuses for turning his back and responsibilities to the british people is and was wrong. He is now making an apology to the iracy people facing the enquieriy and rightly so. Saddams people got thier own people the moments war was announced. They rightfully dealt with them also just as we rightfully deal with our own trouble makers(blair). They did nothing to saddam that was enough to show the world that they did not think saddam was a bad person unlike his relatives. They would have hung saddam themselves otherwise.

  71. 78 Cliff Cook
    January 30, 2010 at 21:43

    The problem with any skilful person in charge of his brief – whether a salesman or a politician – is in trying to sort out what he’s really saying – if anything at all.
    Mr Blair has had so much time to sort out and field his responses to questions, however directly put, that the really big surprize would be if he let the mask slip, even for an instant.

  72. 79 T
    January 30, 2010 at 21:49

    No. Because he’s not taking responsibility for his actions.

  73. 80 T
    January 30, 2010 at 21:49

    Blair says he didn’t reach a secret deal to go to war. Others say he did. If they’re lying, then why hasn’t Blair sued them for defamation?

  74. 81 T
    January 30, 2010 at 21:57

    It seems very ironic that Blair and others talk about Iraq ignoring countless U.N. resolutions. Yet, the States block every single U.N. resolution requiring Israel to comply with U.N. agreed to madates. Israel plays silly semantics games with the language in them. Th U.K. govt. keeps saying the standard “we hope there will be peace in the Middle East” mantra. And now Blair is a “Middle Easy peace envoy” who hasn’t done anything at all.

    Who exactly does Blalir work for in this role? And, is he subject to any job scruitney at all?

  75. 82 Cajetan Iwunze (UK)
    January 30, 2010 at 23:16

    I do not think so because people always cry foul when a politician got something wrong. The question is did he do anything wrong to deserve such a long humiliation in the hand of people who have no clue of the good things Blair did for our country? My answer is that he is an innocent man who has done no one any wrong. Love him or hate him he is the best leader the world has ever produced. Some people do not like him because he refused to hand Britain to the hand of terrorists and murderers. If Blair had been Mr Obasanjo the former President of Nigeria who drinks human blood for breakfast he would have been recognised as good leader. While Dictators who should stand for trial at World Court of Justice were rewarded with lucrative job in UN by the corrupt official who has turned murderers into saints. What crime did Blair commit that he should stand trial? Nothing, which shows that this world is not fair. The criminals who killed Jesus of Nazareth are now hunting for our political messiah “Tony Blair”

  76. 83 David Hemp
    January 31, 2010 at 10:34

    Yes absolutely Britain should be proud of taking this action! Very few countries or administrations would have the courage to air this type of debate in public. The BBC can also be proud of their open and frank coverage of the enquiry.

    However its sad to say that Mr Blair and his cabinet colleagues at the time should be anything but proud of their actions leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. For all his pontificating and attempts at rationalizing his actions, Mr Blair still comes across as being a faithful puppy dog of America’s worst-ever president George W Bush. Never in all my years of observing world events have I come across a more arrogant, ineffective, trigger-happy and ignorant political figure than Bush. I still fail to understand how the American people elected this man into office, not once but twice!

    As a British citizen who has been living in Kuwait for the past 12 years, what really disappoints and frightens me is the way that Mr Blair got suckered into supporting this idiot’s megolomaniac strategy. It further disappoints me that Blair now shows no contrition or regret for his actions, despite the fact that they have led to the loss of thousands of lives on all sides of this conflict and have reduced Iraq to an ungovernable mess.

    • 84 Little Ole American
      January 31, 2010 at 22:27

      Mr. Hemp,
      Your opinion of GW is not shared by a LOT of Americans. We do not find him ignorant, ineffective or trigger happy. In fact, the tide of opinion about Bush is moving more and more into his favor. Why? Because of the ineptitude of our present administration, resulting in more terrorist attacks in one year than we saw in the entire 8 years of the Bush Administration. You probably would not be living in Kuwaite today if it hadn’t been for the intervention of a BUSH family member. MOST Americans have respect and admiration for Tony Blair.
      I suppose that makes MOST Americans stupid, in your opinion. You are entitled to it, but I am entitled to mine, too. Independents and even some of the Left in the U.S. are starting to see the “light”. Bush/Blair were right.

  77. February 1, 2010 at 01:56

    Tony Blair is the greatest leader we have seen for a long time. If you doubt it, and accept the press traducement, google either of these: “ban blair baiting petition” and “keep tony blair for pm”.

  78. 86 desertrose4pu
    February 1, 2010 at 07:34

    Already there is a massive conflict between two nations like iraq n USA.AND now other countries which want to b made dominators r also trying to include in dominators of the world so UK administration should try 4 good steps towards peace not 4 bad steps…..

  79. 87 Ibrahim in UK
    February 1, 2010 at 12:59

    The remit of the Iraq Inquiry is identify lessons to be learnt in the process for deciding to go to war, it will not decide if the war was legal, nor assign punishment to the guilty. I am pleased to see that we at least have such a process, and it is open to the public. However, it does not address the current problem of accountability.
    The Iraq war was illegal according to the UN
    What we need is the upholders of international law to uphold the law against those who break it, not only when weak countries break the law, but also when we or our allies break it.

  80. 88 takoller
    February 1, 2010 at 18:57

    I see no pride in cleaning up ones own mess, just common courtesy. But the world should be grateful. I hope the US/Bush is next.

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