Friday, 29 January 2010

Down in the trenches

Tony Blair. The Iraq Inquiry. Six hours of questions and answers that was utterly fascinating.

Here's the problem, it's another lack of awareness thing. Those who are opposed to Blair and the war in Iraq are just as entrenched as Blair himself. Nothing he could ever have said would have persuaded them to change even one thought in their minds.

They complain that he is a liar. I'm not convinced. He is absolutely certain that what he says is the truth. Who are we to judge who were not there? The decisions may have been wrong but that does not make him a liar.

It has become a cause celebre, so much so that it has lost all sense of perspective and judgement. What do the protesters now hope to achieve? I suspect it's more a battle for history, a battle to define Blair's legacy.

Those on the left should be just as concerned about trying to define Blair's domestic legacy. By seeking to ingrain the longest serving Labour prime minister as a lying, cheating war criminal, they could be doing untold damage to the future of the party.

The irony is that the very opponents of Blair, tend to come from the political wing that should have been backing him. The opposition to him now does not come from the right.

There are semi-regular reports in the British newspapers about financial decisions coming back to haunt executives of American companies. It seems that if a large company fails, there is the real possibility of criminal charges being brought. This might explain why American politics is all about not making decisions but tweaking the status quo.

Well, Blair made a decision. I didn't like it then, I don't like it now. But I don't for one second believe it was a criminal decision, just a bad one. Are we so entrenched as to believe that anyone who makes a decision we don't agree with must be prosecuted? Even one that costs lives? Every political decision effects lives. Attempting a citizens arrest or a prosecution as a war criminal opens up a scary precedent.

People now need to step away from their beliefs and think about what they really want to gain from this. And, where that might lead them.