Labour leader Ed Miliband should closely examine the views put forward by Tony Blair in a recent TV interview, and have nothing to do with them. 

Blair, who has hoovered up a personal fortune of up to £60 million since stepping down as prime minister, was unapologetic about the military adventures into which he dragged Britain's armed forces.

He congratulated himself on "victories" won in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, while ignoring the huge losses in material and human terms associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

In common with his US patrons, Blair has conjured up a global expansionist threat of "religious extremism," which he sees as on a par with its predecessor "revolutionary communism." In both cases, he said, the West had "no option but to confront it and defeat it." 

Were he not so consumed by his own overweening arrogance, Blair might step back and consider a possible cause-and-effect analysis of the endless wars in which the major imperialist states have involved themselves. 

Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a brutal dictatorship, but it didn't have weapons of mass destruction, despite the lies spread by Blair and his White House commander George W Bush. 

Iraq's WMD had been eradicated totally by UN inspectors in the 1990s, which is why the US and Britain insisted on opening hostilities in March 2003 before inspection teams could confirm this reality. 

The price of this single-minded belligerency has been around a million civilian deaths, destruction of Iraq's modern health and welfare services, ongoing religious sectarian slaughter and the virtual disappearance of the country's Christian and Jewish minorities. 

Public hostility in the US, Britain and other Nato states to wasteful and futile operations in Afghanistan will mean repatriation of most occupation forces next year, with little to show for grandiose promises on democracy, women's rights and land reform. 

There is little reason to doubt that the people described as the enemy in Afghanistan will take their seats in a future Kabul government. The "my enemy's enemy" philosophy evinced by Blair was given another outing when he called French President Francois Hollande "brave" for intervening militarily in Mali. 

It's not brave and it's not in the interests of the Malian people, whose government was imposed by a military junta. Blair's approach smacks of Britain's rulers during the Victorian era, stressing the need to safeguard this country's "weight, influence and power in the world." 

This was the justification for his view that the electorate should not be allowed to vote on any referendum on the European Union that included an "out" option. 

His is an authoritarian approach that encompasses the supposed right of major powers to "sort out" crises such as Syria, where he has long supported military intervention in the form of creating "safe havens" to back the opposition camp, spearheaded by foreign jihadists, rather than backing inclusive negotiated progress to democracy as advocated by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan. 

Such an imperialist and repressive obsession characterised Blair's premiership and cut electoral ground from under Labour's feet. Miliband has already sought to draw a line under the new Labour debacle. He should be clear over what still needs to be done. 

His priority must be employment and working people's living standards at home and a new international era based on peaceful co-operation and an end to overseas warmongering. 

The Morning Star



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