Neither the people of Britain nor Iraq need an apology from Tony Blair. What we need is the truth states the UK's Morning Star newspaper.
Did he take Britain into a war to remove Saddam Hussein, contrary to international law and initial legal advice? Was that done on the pretext that the Baghdad regime possessed weapons of mass destruction? Was the evidence for such possession wrong by accident, design or both?
Did the subsequent “shock and awe” blitzkrieg and occupation lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and hundreds of British military personnel?
Now, a full 12 years after the invasion, Blair has chosen to apologise to a US television interviewer for “the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.” That is not an apology — it is blaming British and other intelligence agencies for making mistakes.
But instead of questioning those reports — notably the “dodgy dossiers” claiming Iraqi possession of WMD — which contradicted previously received information, prime minister Blair and his US co-conspirators president George W Bush and secretary of state Colin Powell had them “sexed up” before broadcasting their most lurid claims and fabrications to the rest of the world.
Did Blair know in the run-up to March 19 2003 that his intelligence reports were unreliable or inaccurate? What role did he play in having them embellished by his staff? Was he knowingly lying when he wrote in a foreword to the September 2002 dossier that Saddam’s military planning “allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them”?
Recently leaked memorandums from Powell and the US embassy in London confirm Blair’s commitment to backing US military intervention in Iraq come what may, more than a year before it happened.
But they also make clear his need to win over a majority of Labour MPs with “credible” evidence that the Iraqi regime either had links to terrorism and the September 11 attacks, or had WMD and — better still — was preparing to use them.
Furthermore, the memos pointed out, many Labour MPs also wanted to see all efforts to find WMD in Iraq exhausted, and UN approval obtained, before any military action. Is this why the dodgy dossiers were concocted in September 2002 and February 2003?
Was the subsequent quest for a second UN resolution, setting “benchmarks” for authorising military action, all an elaborate charade to fool MPs and the people? Most of us don’t need to wait for the Iraq inquiry under Lord Chilcot to know the answers to these questions.
Blair now apologises for some of the “mistakes” he made in planning for the administration of a post-Saddam Iraq. He even, finally, acknowledges that the bloody chaos that followed created the conditions in which Isis could flourish.
Before the occupation, Blair had assured the Commons that Iraq would take the path of unity, democracy and human rights under the fresh mandate of an enhanced UN.
According to the then home secretary David Blunkett, the prime minister dismissed concerns about possible chaos, placing excessive trust in US vice-president Dick Cheney and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, two of the most gung-ho warmongers.
“However,” as Blunkett explains, “it is now clear that the Americans had no intention of listening to us.”
This leaves one more question which Chilcot must not dodge: what detailed plans did Blair and his keenest rottweilers in the Foreign Office, Jack Straw and Ben Bradshaw, draw up — and whatever happened to them?