Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Calls for Tony Blair's Resignation as ME Envoy: The Unraveling of a War-Mongerer?

by Nomad

Calls for Tony Blair's resignation as Middle East envoy have come from former ambassadors and politicians.
They have cited his prominent role in the Iraq invasion and his failure to accept responsibility for the mess.
Have events in Iraq finally caught up with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair? Don't bet on it.

For his role as head cheerleader of the Iraq invasion, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has lately come under fire. In an open letter, former British ambassadors and politicians have called on Blair to step down from his position as Middle East envoy  on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU. 

The scathing letter was addressed to foreign ministers in the US, Russia and the EU as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Blair took up the envoy post immediately after resigning as PM on 27 June 2007. Our source reports:
The letter, with signatories including his former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone – comes weeks after he published an essay in which he claimed that the 2003 invasion was not to blame for the current crisis.
The letter also points out how little Blair has achieved in his position.
With the existential threat to the Iraq democracy project posed by the Islamic militant group ISIS, the authors of the letter have accused Blair of trying to "absolve himself" of his responsibility for the present crisis in the war-torn nation.
“We believe that Mr Blair, as a vociferous advocate of the invasion, must accept a degree of responsibility for its consequences.”
(This might also explain why Dick Cheney has been working so hard recently at passing the buck on the Iraqi "liberation debacle" on to Obama.)

In the past, critics of his actions, including Bishop Desmond TutuHarold Pinter and Arundhati Roy have all called for Blair to face a trial at the International Criminal Court. Unsurprisingly, nothing has come of it.

Even if Blair has the integrity to step down- which is doubtful- one needn't worry that he will be facing the misery of standing in the unemployment line. Apart from his gig as an envoy, Blair has other things to keep him busy. His life has been stuffed with lucrative opportunities since dropping out of politics.

With his flair for public speaking, Blair is regularly invited to share his wisdom as a guest lecturer. That has reportedly earned him up to $250,000 for a 90-minute speech, and in 2008, he was considered to be the highest paid speaker in the world.

In that same year, Blair became a senior advisor for the investment bank JPMorgan Chase . The exact details of his salary are unknown but it has been claimed it may be in excess of £500,000 per year.

That's quite a lot of dosh when you consider how accurate (and helpful) Blair's advice has been in the past.
 *   *   *   *
Here's a short excerpt from a UK Iraq War inquiry in 2011.

The only problem was that, in the end, there were no weapons of mass destruction, as Blair had repeatedly warned. A recent Panorama program has revealed that both MI6 and the CIA were told "through secret channels by Saddam Hussein's foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction." 

Three months before the war. 

Despite that, at that same time, Blair was telling the Parliament that intelligence had showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was "active", "growing" and "up and running". Alas, it turned out to be an elusive but effective fantasy.

Interestingly, the clip also demonstrates how Blair continues to link the September 11 terror attacks with the decision to invade, despite the fact there was absolutely no link between the two events. None.
While Blair does not come out and actually make that link, he certainly does leave the impression in the minds of listeners. Critics would say it is yet another example of the deceptive eloquence of Blair to create specious connections- long disproved connections, at that- to advance his case.

This 9/11- Saddam connection was  propagated immediately after 2001 events by the Bush administration, particularly by Dick Cheney. Cheney based that linkage on the "overwhelming evidence" of a relationship between Saddam and al-Qaeda. 

By 2009, however, with the occupation of Iraq in its sixth year, Cheney completely reversed that claim.
"I do not believe and have never seen any evidence to confirm that [Hussein] was involved in 9/11. We had that reporting for a while, [but] eventually it turned out not to be true. [emphasis mine
Read that again carefully. He states that there was never any evidence yet the Bush administration had reported as true.

In fact, four years before Blair's testimony, in April 2007, (before Blair had stepped down), no less than the former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet adamantly told a 60 Minutes interviewer:
"We could never verify that there was any Iraqi authority, direction and control, complicity with al-Qaeda for 9/11 or any operational act against America, period."
In other words, the basis for the Iraq invasion was a lie promoted on both sides of the Atlantic in the hysteria after the tragic attacks in 2001. A decade had passed but as the 2011 clip shows, Tony Blair was still (albeit indirectly) attempting to justify the invasion with that thoroughly discredited evidence. 

Without question, Tony Blair is a skilled debater. His ability to persuade and to state his case clearly is unquestionably formidable. For some, his boyish charm is intoxicating but sadly for the lot of innocent people, Blair's charm has also been toxic.

Unfortunately the consequences of his miscalculations and his lies (what else can you call them?)  have been calamitous for at least three nations.