The Chilcot Inquiry and
Tony Blair's 'Good Faith' Defense

The Chilcot Inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors into "the run-up to the [euphemism] conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath" began its hearings on 2009-11-24 in order to "take oral evidence from those with first-hand experience of the development and implementation of British government policy in Iraq."

Sir David Manning, who at the time was Mr Blair's foreign policy adviser, told the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war [on 2009-11-30] that President Bush and Mr Blair discussed the country just three days after the 9/11 terror attacks, and that the US did not need British assistance to carry out the invasion in March 2003. ... Sir David's revelations came as Mr Blair denied allegations that he had gagged his top legal adviser, Lord Goldsmith, after the peer had questioned the legal grounds for invading Iraq.
— Michael Savage, I did not bully Lord Goldsmith, insists Blair

The message below was posted by "quietknoll" as a comment on Michael Savage's article.

I suspect his [Blair's] defence will be that: in retrospect, although it may have been wrong to invade and not to have planned for the aftermath, we will have to believe that he made these tough decisions in "good faith". He's said this time and time again in the past of course — sadly it seems to close down further debate — this is wrong and should not be allowed to happen when he appears before the enquiry.

So far the reporting of the enquiry confirms the emerging pattern of events that we already knew about in the run up to war. It was obvious that the military planning dictated the timing and that the UN resolution route was mere window dressing. Robin Cook was honourable — his resignation speech clearly stated that he doubted the "evidence" and in the absence of UN authorisation concluded that the invasion was not legitimate.

If Bliar uses the "good faith" argument I suggest the enquiry should imagine Hitler possibly at Nuremberg arguing along similar lines. He might have argued that he realised in retrospect that he was wrong about Jews being inhuman and that it was wrong to want their extinction but the court must accept that he acted in "good faith" at the time based on the evidence that was then available.

"Good Faith" is not far removed from "Dogmatism". It is unquestioning, naive and foolish. We deserve better from our political leaders. The dead in Iraq deserved better — particularly from self-professed religious believers.

The enquiry may not be a "court of law" but only because it has no power to punish. The motives of Bliar and Bush as well as the storm troopers who "followed orders" are being exposed by the evidence being presented. In this context we need try to understand what Bliar had to say later on about "hard" and "soft" power. If we want to understand his actions leading up to the invasion we do need also to understand history and in particular the medieval swearing of fealty by one national leader to another.

The meeting at the Crawford ranch was where the British leader bent the knee before his feudal lord and master. After that craven act of submission the British leader had no option but to apply hard feudal power through the use of domestic patronage as well as soft pursuasive power in the form of media manipulation, spin and lies.

Bliar might be right when he says this was not "bullying" but only because in his world view he was exercising feudal rights of dominion and power. For the rest of us however it was, still is and I suspect forever will be, viewed as an abuse of power by a misguided fool who will never be able to accept that he made a monumental error of judgement based on unquestioning dogmatic belief in what he thought was "right" and "wrong".

Bliar's approach to policy is exposed as not "evidenced based", nor did it encompass an "ethical foreign policy". His whole idea of a 3rd way between social ownership and markets lies in tatters. Social mobility has stagnated if not reversed and inequality has advanced. Bliar's "punishment" will be history's judgement of his absolute ineptitude as a national leader.

Further reading:

Tony Blair, Jack Staw, Geoff Hoon and Lord Goldsmith (and of course George W. Bush and Dick Cheney) are all war criminals because according to the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals (the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal) "To initiate a war of aggression [as Blair, Bush and the others obviously did] ... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

In his Britain, You Better Wake Up (2010-02-08) Gilad Atzmon comments:

... none of the Inquiry members is an attorney. None of its member are qualified in the art of questioning. Consequently, the inquiry doesn't have any legal ability, capacity or teeth. It is a farce. ... The clumsiness of Gordon Brown's cabinet appointing such a farce of an official inquiry is mind blowing.

He also wrote:

The more I read about the Chilcot inquiry the more disturbed I am. The fallacy imbued in the heart of British "democracy" is staggering. While some commentators are concerned with questions to do with the legality of the war, the most crucial issue here is actually the disappearance of ethical judgment from our public and political life. Rather than being concerned with morality and ethics British politicians are concerned with legalism. In other words, if someone would manage to prove that the war was "legal" then the murdering of a million and a half Iraqis would be well justified. Let's all face it, our politicians are corrupted to the bone.

See also:

Tony Blair is a Liar and a War Criminal
U.S. War Crimes, an International Vow of Silence
The Iraq War Serendipity Home Page