28 January 2010

What Blair said in 2005

There is a well argued piece by Steve Richards ahead of Blair’s evidence tomorrow:

Leadership is more demanding and interesting than screaming that someone is a war criminal.

Richards quotes at length from an interview Blair gave him in 2005:

The only thing I would ask people to do is understand that it was a very difficult decision. What I object to is people trying to frame the decision in terms of my integrity rather than in terms of the fact that I was faced with the situation where there were 250,000 troops down there. Saddam wasn't fully co-operating with the UN inspectors, he remained in breach of the UN resolutions and yet I couldn't get a second UN resolution with an ultimatum. I had to decide whether we backed off altogether, with all that would mean, or go ahead still.

It was a very difficult decision in very difficult circumstances and I have always made clear I respect those who disagreed with the decision I took. There are some issues that are a nightmare whichever decision you take ... We must remember the UN inspectors were only there because the troops were also there.

It was the threat of force that got the inspectors back in. Now imagine what would have happened if I had backed away and that the Americans also backed away and the conflict had not happened. Saddam would still be in charge and immeasurably strengthened and there would be no further possibility about enforcing the community's will in regard to UN resolutions.

Some will say that would have been better than having the conflict. That's a perfectly understandable view. I only ask people to understand there wasn't a middle way. So it was a nightmare in the sense that, whatever you did, you were going to get problems either in sorting out Iraq after a conflict or you would get big problems leaving Saddam in charge.

Blair also spoke to Richards about the dossier:

In retrospect, it would have been better to have simply published the Joint Intelligence Committee reports.

There you have it.  Blair has said it all before.

As Richards says:

We are about to get the re-released version.

Digg This

No comments:

Post a Comment