Tony Blair finally admitted last week what millions of people in the anti-war movement have known for years – that he was intent on going to war in Iraq whether the country posed a threat or not.
Fern Britton asked Blair in a BBC TV interview last week, “If you had known then that there were no WMDs [weapons of mass destruction], would you still have gone on?”
Blair replied, “I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]”.
He added, “I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat.”
Blair’s confession that he wanted “regime change” has provoked outrage.
Even Sir Ken MacDonald, the former director of public prosecutions, wrote after seeing the interview, “The degree of deceit involved in our decision to go to war on Iraq becomes steadily clearer.
“This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions, and playing footsie on Sunday morning television does nothing to repair the damage.
“It is now very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Tony Blair engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner, George Bush.
“He went on to mislead and cajole the British people into a deadly war they had made perfectly clear they didn’t want, and on a basis that it’s increasingly hard to believe even he found truly credible.”
The interview came before Blair was due to appear at the official inquiry into the Iraq war.
Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chair, has said that Blair will give evidence in public, except when national security matters are being discussed or if appearing would present a danger to his health or security.
But this offers Blair an opportunity to ensure the bulk of his evidence will be heard in private.
We will not be told what questions the inquiry asks and whether it challenges Blair on the question of war crimes. It is against international law to attack a country on the basis of regime change.
Millions of people took to the streets of London and other cities across the world in 2003 against Bush and Blair’s plans. Protesters argued that there was no truth to the claims about Iraq’s WMD, and that it was a war for US power and control of oil.
But Bush and Blair did not care about the truth. Now Blair has admitted that different arguments should have been used but the outcome would have been the same – regime change and the deaths of over one million Iraqis.
For the millions who opposed the war, Blair’s words offer no satisfaction – only more anger at the lies we were told.
The car and suicide bomb attacks that rocked Baghdad last week, killing 123 people and injuring 500, are the bloody legacy of the war and occupation.
The Stop the War Coalition is calling for the Iraq inquiry to declare Tony Blair guilty of war crimes and send him to The Hague for trial.
Lindsey German, the convenor of Stop the War, said, “If Tony Blair repeats his confession of war crimes to the Iraq inquiry, it will have no alternative but to recommend that legal proceedings be taken against him.
“Not to do so will confirm what many people suspect – that Sir John Chilcot’s committee was handpicked by Gordon Brown with the clear intention of whitewashing war crimes.”