Thursday 26 May 2016


It's not often, indeed very rarely, that I can say that I agree with George, but this time... well, what can I say? He's right.

And Alex is on this big time. Of course I more often agree with him.

As Mr Salmond says, it's not just Blair; it's members of his cabinet, MoD, Civil Servants, Number 10 staff, and probably most of all, Jack Straw.


  1. I agree with everything Galloway said there! I'll go and have a wee lie down!

    Two Scottish politicians - one out for the benefit of himself and the other out for the benefit of hs country and its people.

    Back to Blair. Get him to The Hague along with Straw and sociopath Brown. Let his next "intervention" be from the dock.

    1. It is worrying when you agree with Galloway. (How did he do in the mayoral elections in Londonland?)

      Blair, Brown, Straw, Browne, and all the people who went along with this hideous war that has left a legacy of terror and hatred.

      Life is too short a sentence for what they did in an effort to suck up to DubYa!

  2. I'll renew my American objections (about which Tris and I in the past have agreed to disagree) to the practice of leftist Europeans in labeling pretty much any war or war policy or national leader who prosecutes a war, pursued as a matter of national policy, as a war "crime" or "criminal." I can appreciate that it's a convenient rhetorical device for left wing pacifists, but it doesn't stand the test of reason. There were REAL war crimes and war criminals in WWII for example, and to pretend that George W. Bush and Tony Blair are literal war criminals seriously trivializes the genocides of WWII and the atrocities of Hitler and Stalin.

    The Europeans have established a quasi-judicial tribunal (more than one perhaps, I'm not sure) which often gives legal cover to fundamentally political motivations. It's ironic that it was the Americans who insisted on strict legal judicial guidelines and rules of evidence at the Nuremberg trials, while the prevailing attitude of the Allied European governments was more along the lines of "hang em high."

    Americans pretty much pay no attention to these war crime declarations, and wonder just what army the Europeans plan to send to American shores to enforce them against American presidents. Tony Blair on the other hand manages to stay out of prison without American protection. So maybe the Europeans are not really all that united in this war crime stuff, and Tony Blair may be safe from any imminent trip to the Hague after all. Just as safe as Saddam Hussein seemed to be from outrage of the Europeans when HE was killing people. With the Europeans, it's more a matter of which politician they don't like in which government they don't like does the killing, and who gets killed, and why. In the European mind apparently, these modern so-called war crimes are not all created equally.

    I do think that the Iraq war was unjustified, and that George W. Bush and Tony Blair are among the biggest schmucks who ever lived. But I can manage to maintain such political opinions without the "war criminal" rhetoric. I can examine the Nuremberg record, which pretty much established the difference between a war (however unwise, cruel, and pursued for duplicitous motives) and an actual war "crime."

    1. A number of regular soldiers were tried and jailed for attrocities carried out in Iraq. A fair number of Scots were killed and many maimed physically and psychologically in the war. And to what purpose? Were those the real worst crimes committed in Iraq? Are those Scots lives unimportant?

      We are used to politicians lying. But teflon Tony - and Straw ( we know his biography ) - have both prosecuted an illegal war. In an earlier time they would have been at the front of the popular protests ( was it 2 million people who marched? ) against the Iraq war.

      A war crime is still a war crime. It is not defined by the scale of the attrocity. It is as immoral to pursue genocide as it is to deliberately target a hospital as it is to drop mustard gas on an opposing army, as it is to start a war of aggression.

      I do not expect Tony to ever stand trial for anything. He has done well for himself after his time in office. In a country where rich men remarkably cure themselves of Alzheimers, and others grow fabulously wealthy looting pension funds, I doubt that anyone other that a few squaddies is ever going to be jailed here. I do hope I am wrong.

      Eventually the US will be in the same position as the British Empire. They will be eclipsed. Rule of law is a great goal. One day it may protect US citizens from some other power which thinks they are above that law.

      Human rights are actually for everyone. Not just those and such as those.


    2. Danny

      From a man in a nation whose citizens routinely shoots down
      their own children and is unable or unwilling to stop this
      terrible mass slaughter.

      U.S.A law enforcement shown to murder innocent people
      which it seems they have been doing with impunity for years.

      Ans as you know your supreme court is struggling with white
      republicans gerrymandering and excluding people of color from
      from their voting rights.

      So for you to criticise the rule of law being applied to those in power really takes the biscuit (a uk metaphor )
      Tell me Danny what protects the people of the U.S.A the
      constitution or the Gun....

      and Danny schmucks without a gun are schmucks
      schmucks with a Army are a dangerous thing

      we the people not we the Armed forces

    3. Respectfully Niko, none of the shortcomings of American society and law you mentioned (and exaggerated) have anything to do with the Law of War, the Geneva Conventions, and the concept of a war crime. Wars -- even those that are unjustified, unwise, and pursued for no overwhelming national interest -- are not automatically illegal, much less criminal.

      There were in fact some far left groups in the US agitating for President Obama to pursue some sort of legal charges against former President Bush. Fortunately, Mr. Obama is both a lawyer and a constitutional scholar, and figured out that new democratically elected presidents pursuing political vendettas against former democratically elected presidents under a judicial pretense is a really bad idea in a constitutional republic.

      Not so much in Britain it seems. Jeremy Corbyn seems to favor a different approach. I read in The Guardian that he "was a high-profile opponent of the war and became a leading member of the Stop the War coalition. He said: “It was an illegal war. I am confident about that. Indeed Kofi Annan [UN secretary general at the time of the war] confirmed it was an illegal war and therefore [Tony Blair] has to explain to that. Is he going to be tried for it? I don’t know. Could he be tried for it? Possibly.”

      How stunningly simple! The Secretary General of the UN says the war was "illegal," so it follows for Mr. Corbyn that a British Prime Minister must answer after the fact for a war policy of the British government and Parliament....and as a matter of course probably answer war crimes charges too. How conveniently that also serves Mr. Corbyn's personal anti-war views! Here in the US, a policy approved by President and Congress is automatically legal, barring a constitutional challenge. Secretaries General of the UN do not have a say in the matter, nor for that matter do august European tribunals which profess to have supranational authority.

    4. Danny

      You speak with all the authority of a bullying but fading superpower might is indeed right from your perspective.

    5. Niko......Respectfully......American bullying if it were actually occurring has nothing whatever to do with whether or not Blair is a war criminal, and the use of such charges as a political tactic. But I do admire your clever use of irrelevancies to deflect attention from the subject.

    6. Danny

      "O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!"

    7. Niko is a pas master at that!

  3. The Iraq invasion, under the broader confines of international law is at worst borderline, but much more likely considered 'legal'. This, obviously doesn't consider the ethical or moral arguments.

    Iraq had lost its sovereignty as much as a state legally could under UN auspices. And resolutions provided legal underpinning to remove him if he presented a 'threat' or real and present 'danger' to neighbours or global peace and security.

    Blair - Bush never broke international law with their intervention. Time for the conspiracy-theorising left to come to terms with this. Focus on the far more important question of ethics. Was the intervention ethical? Was it a humane action to undertake? What provides the moral justifications for action (or inaction), these questions are far more relevant, topical and relevant if we're to avoid repeating previous mistakes (not that I'm necessarily calling Iraq a 'mistake', I'm making no comment on that)

    1. In response to the posts above, I do not believe it was humane or ethical. The politicians involved were undertaking the invasion for their own selfish ends. In doing so, Tony Blair did severe damage to the United Kingdom at home and abroad. One consequence is the existence of sites such as this.

      We have all seen the newsreels of inmates at Auschwitz or Belsen. The starving prisoners liberated from the Japanese in WW2 or the victims of ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia and we feel outrage.

      The Iraq invasion caused hundreds of tbousands of civilian deaths but there isn't the same outrage or indentification of it as a war crime because we haven't seen the broken bodies with our own eyes.

      If another country was indeed able to bomb my country with WMD within an hour, the last thing I would do would be to start bombing THEM.

    2. I held a view, call it the Euston Manifesto viewpoint, that we were there to do good. I held to it for a wee while.

      When it became obvious that they and I were wrong, I disengaged. I realised that I should have remembered the CIA involvement in South America, the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the rest of America's twisted view of their version of Christianity.

      For they are numerous good Americans, it is just their institutions and government that stinks.

      I do not see the distinction that you make. Provest Sludden.

      To whit: The Iraq invasion caused hundreds of tbousands of civilian deaths but there isn't the same outrage or indentification of it as a war crime because we haven't seen the broken bodies with our own eyes.

      I care just as much about that as any other unneccesary death.

      For me, any unnecesary death, anywhere, is what we buy into, as allies of the USA.

      Sorry, this is a bit of a ramble, but I am angry about needless slaughter.

    3. First off, there's no such thing as "International Law", there's a bunch of treaties that lots of countries have signed up to, and most of them ignore to some extent.

      Second: How is mass murder not illegal when it's done in a different country?

    4. Douglas Clark

      Your point wasn't a ramble at all. The point I was trying to make (and wasn't clear about)
      was directed at those who support the status quo and those who still seek to justify the Iraq mess. To me, in light of all the evidence now available, there can be no justification for it.

    5. I can't honestly see that there ever was.

      If there were no WMDs the whole operation was pointless.

      Unless getting rid of dictators who have stopped being useful to you is your game.

      The aftermath is so horrendous it makes the troubles in NI look like a school day trip.

  4. A long long time ago, being (reluctantly, even then) raised a Catholic, I went to my first confession. I'd worried and fretted about what I was going to say; I'd never been drunk, never stolen—borrowing my brother's toy cars didn't count—or fornicated, whatever that meant. Eventually I made up something, which of course I never confessed.

    I'm damned, I know...

    ... Yet I wonder what Tony Blair's first confessor heard, and will he get away with it?

    1. Conan

      yes well you've a lot more to confess now and you need not
      make it up.

      once a catholic always a catholic as me brother found out
      when he married one and had to take the faith..the ructions that caused within the family

    2. "once a catholic always a catholic"

      Do fuck right off Niko.

    3. It's high time all this sectarianism in religion was knocked on the head.

      So damned sick of all the trouble it causes, whether it's Catholics and protestants or Sunnis and Shi'ite.

  5. Thanks every one for commenting.

    It's obviously a contentious subject.

    The case against Blair, as I understand it, is that he agreed with Bush to support him in a war in Iraq a year before the invasion. It was a done deal before all the votes and dossiers, before the millions that marched.

    It's true that Saddam was a vicious dictator, but there are those all over the world, some of whom our leadership bow before... most obviously Saudi Arabia with which we are engaged in a war in Yemen and, despite modern weaponry, we seem to target a disproportionate number of schools and hospitals.

    Actually I knew an Iraqi guy, ex boyfriend of one of my mates' sisters, and he said that Saddam was not a terrible leader. He was a dictator, and they didn't have the freedom to say what we can say on this blog about our politicians or royals, but apart from that life in Iraq was good. He managed to keep rival factions form tearing lumps out of each other. Oil rich, rather like Libya before we got involved in that (it's got oil), there was a modern, well maintained infrastructure, good public services, and religious freedom. And women had rights. The worked, ran businesses, dressed in western style clothes.

    Not quite like the way we left it. Tumbled down, poverty stricken, crime ridden, full of ISIS groups and with women hidden under multi layers of clothing.

    There are other dictatorships of course, in Africa for example, without any oil, and we pretty much ignore what happens there. Whist we may not invite Mr Mugabe to take tea with the royals, we've not done anything about his regime, in many ways worse than Saddam's. Nor do we do anything about DRC.

    1. The dodgy dossier is worth noting. There were no weapons of mass destruction!

      The fact that war was declared and the bombing of Baghdad commenced just 2 weeks before Dr Blix was about to give a report that almost undoubtedly would have said that there were no weapons of mass destruction is also remarkable (in the original sense of the word).

      Blair and Bush could have gone to the UN to attempt to get permission to go to war. But they knew that they wouldn't get it. Not just because of the Chinese or the Russians, but the FRENCH were going to vote against. I was in Paris at the time and watched the president's speech on tv.

      Though I disliked Chirac with a passion, he made sense and the terrible twins did not.

      Blair held a Privy Council to allow political leaders to see the evidence contained in the dodgy dossier that Straw's men had cooked up. Michael Howard came out of it saying that he was convinced that Blair was right. Chic Kennedy came out saying that he was unconvinced. Alex Salmond was the leader of a minor party and not a Privy Councillor. He was not allowed to see the dossier.

      Crimes can be big or small. Killing a member of the royal family is a crime. Stealing a loaf of bread becasue your kids are starving is a crime. I have no wish to minimise the war crimes of the world wars, or those of the British or French Empires, but bombing cities like Baghdad, killing and maiming tens of thousands of people in your quest for one man is also a crime. Even if the people you kill are not anglo saxon.

      Unrelated to Blair, I know, North Korea has weapons of mass destruction, not even secretly, not even doubtfully. Kim openly boasts about them. And threatens to use them. What are we doing about that? Nothing. Our dear friends the Chinese wouldn't like it, and we know what happens when the Chinese don't like something (Ask the Norwegians, who gave a peace prize to the Dalai Lama and lost all their trade.)

      Israel has WMDs. What are we doing about them? Would you call Netanyahu stable?

      Conan: I suspect that Blair thinks that God confesses to him rather than the other way around.

      When he converted to Catholicism on standing down as PM (strange that), the last pope granted him an audience. It may well have been his first confession was heard by Benedictus. That says all you'd need to know.

    2. Interesting question to ask:

      If Iraq had *actually* had nukes (and the capability to deploy them) do you think we would have gone to war?

      Bullies in the playground.

      Personally, I think nations should be better than that, but I'm frequently disappointed.

    3. Yes. Scuds couldn't reach London.

    4. LOL Good answer Conan.

  6. Those who saw the 'broken bodies' referred to above will have night-mares for the rest of their lives. In Britain the media showed a sanitised version of what went on during the bombing. The bright flashes shown behind Rageh Omar in his reports were not Iraqis celebrating the invasion but rather men, women and children dying in agony. Every morning after the bombing there was the pitiful sight of individuals with their bare hands searching in the rubble for their loved one. Not difficult to see where organisations such as Isis got their recruits from.

    After these thousands of deaths, mutilation and displacement is Iraq a better, safer place as the result? No, clearly it is not and there is little or no indication that it ever will be. Will the Chilcott report indicate the damage done to individuals, communities and the whole environment of that unfortunate country? I suspect that it will not.

    This media sanitation during the invasion carries on into this day. For example the tragic events in the Clutha Bar in Glasgow made head-lines across the UK but the fact that on that day 60 men, women and children were killed in an explosion in Iraq and was barely mentioned in the media. Even more recently there were boasts in Parliament about a 'clinical strike' by UK planes on an oil-field but there was not one mention of the resulting casualties.

    1. Aye John. Concerned mothers in the Home Counties don't want the dead bodies of burned and blackened children disturbing their lives.

    2. Couldn't put it better, John, but then I'm suspecting you may have a lot more experience than I do of that war.

      I reckon it was amongst the stupidest thing that Blair ever did, and that's saying something.

      The legacy he left of death and hate will take decades to go away.

    3. Well the BBC certainly isn't going to cover things that make Britain look savage, Conan.

  7. Reginald Vunt-WhimsyMay 27, 2016 8:01 pm

    Poor George Galloway's politics' answer to Sinead O'Connor of the pop world. Is Galloway the Dalai Lama yet?

    1. I think he's the Wizard of Oz!