Tony Blair Appears Before Inquiry Panel on Iraq War
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair appeared on Friday before the inquiry panel that looks into the circumstances of the war in Iraq in 2003, a year after his first testimonies to the same judicial body led by a man who served for many decades the law system in Britain.
Blair considers it as an opportunity to revisit the reasons for going to war in Iraq and to do something he had not done before – regret the loss of lives during that war.
The moment of regret seems to have little effect on relatives of the dead in Iraq present at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center, who shouted “Too late! Too late!” before the chairman, Sir John Chilcot, demanded silence.
Tony Blair testified for four hours in front of four knights and a baroness, members of the panel, and tried to change the topic, engaging in an accusation made against Iran, who, in his opinion, is harboring terrorists and is also attempting to block the negotiations in the region.
Blair felt compelled to explain one of his allegations made one year ago, when asked if he had any regrets he had answered he had taken responsibility for his decisions.
Now, he said he took the question of the inquiry panel to mean if he had any regrets about the decision to go to war, whereas the people understood he had had no regrets for the loss of human lives during this war.
For that reason he expressed his sorrow at the loss of live, of the British soldiers, of the soldiers of other nations or of the Iraqis themselves.
Like a year ago, Tony Blair had a very coherent defense of his action eight years ago, saying he would not hesitate to do the same again against what he described the threat of Saddam’s regime.
He invoked, like a year ago, the attacks on the twin towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, as a source for his ulterior actions related to the war in 2003.
Then he made a statement about the threat posed to many people in the world by the new forms of terrorism emerged from a combination of a perverted understanding of Islam with modern technology.
Previous witnesses had told the panel that the British security services had informed the PM that there was no relation between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, nor was there any information that he could have procured weapons of mass destruction.
This testimony shortens Blair’s argument that he acted to defend Britain and the world against terrorism.
He said that after the attacks in September 2001 two conceptions emerged from the ashes of the twin towers, one of them being a way to manage this situation. That was the reason why he accepted to go shoulder by shoulder with the Americans to war on Iraq.
As for Saddam Hussein, Blair said that Americans had a priority to oust him, and he proved that by a phone conversation he had had with George Bush about that in December 2001.
When it came to the arch-debated argument that the war was illegal because the coalition had had no legal base, because U.N. Resolution 1441 needed another one in order to come into force, Blair said he had to “hold the line,” in order to keep the pressure on Saddam’s regime.
The war in Iraq brought Tony Blair a lot of public disapproval, because many Britons were not convinced the war had any legal support, and they felt Blair had a subservient attitude toward George Bush.
The son of one of the British soldiers killed in Iraq, present in the room where Blair testified, said that if his father had been killed by the weapons of mass destruction he would not have complained about, but he was not.11