Socialist Worker

Make Tony Blair’s day at Iraq inquiry a nightmare

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2185

A storm of protest will welcome warmonger Tony Blair on Friday 29 January when he attends the Chilcot inquiry into the invasion of Iraq.

The inquiry has seen establishment figures reveal a number of uncomfortable truths for Blair about his role in the run-up to the 2003 invasion.

Widespread anger remains at the huge loss of life for Iraqis and the soldiers that Blair and George Bush sent to do their bidding.

“I would like to say to Blair that people have lost their lives for the whim of one man,” said Lilly Walker, the mother of a serving British soldier who has done four tours in Iraq. “Nothing can justify that.”

Lilly feels betrayed by the government. She told Socialist Worker, “I feel insulted by Tony Blair – my son was only 17 when he joined the army.

“We were never given all the facts even though we entrusted his well-being to the government.”

The feeling among the public against the war has not been matched by the remit of the official inquiry.

While it has embarrassed Blair and his supporters, it has also said that it would not apportion blame for the war but only that lessons should be learnt from what happened.

“This is not enough,” said Lilly. “The inquiry should set a precedent and apportion blame. If it doesn’t do that then it’s all a waste of money.”

The Iraqi people have paid a terrible price for Blair’s decision to go to war.

In April 2003, Blair said, “I would say to people in Iraq, the numbers that have lost their lives in the war are only a small number compared with hundreds of thousands who have lost their lives under Saddam.”

But hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives in the carnage of the occupation that followed. Millions have seen their country reduced to division, crisis and rubble.

The legacy of the war are the horrors of torture and abuse in Abu Ghraib prison, the destruction of cities like Fallujah and a country where health, education, water and electricity supplies are still worse than they were before the invasion.

Insecurity still has a hold on Iraq. Only last week, the military “locked down” huge sections of the capital Baghdad amid fears that insurgents were planning another spate of car bomb attacks.

The last such attack claimed almost 200 lives in December.

The Stop the War Coalition is planning to make Friday of next week Blair’s “Judgement Day” for his war crimes.

It is calling on Stop the War groups and activists to mobilise for a huge protest to give Blair the reception he deserves.

Protest from 8am, Friday 29 January, Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3EE


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Tue 19 Jan 2010, 18:59 GMT
Issue No. 2185
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