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Chilcot Inquiry: Millionaire Blair has no regrets
WHILE HUNDREDS of anti-war protesters gathered outside the conference centre in Westminster, inside, Tony Blair gave his 'evidence' to the Chilcot inquiry on 29 January. Since stepping down as an MP, Blair has reportedly made more than £10 million from deals including books, advisory roles and event appearances.
The real reasons behind the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq were never going to be discussed in this inquiry. Namely, the control of Iraq's oil wealth and the reasserting of US imperialism's military might.
Not only did Blair repeat the same lies on which he sent troops into Iraq but he also showed a breathtaking ignorance of the situation in the Middle East.
Despite being a UN Middle East envoy, he claimed to be wholly surprised by the emergence of Iran, and also al-Qa'ida, as forces destabilising the occupation of Iraq.
Breathtakingly, Blair went on to argue: "We didn't end up with a humanitarian disaster. In fact we averted it".
Tell that to the people of Iraq who have seen their country destroyed with over 100,000 being killed or injured and those remaining facing life with high unemployment, frequent sectarian bloodshed and without regular electricity or water supplies. Or tell the families of troops who have been killed or injured in this conflict.
Blair claimed that the world is a more secure place since the toppling of Saddam Hussein. But this too is a lie. Since the invasion terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, have increased massively in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These have spilt over into increased attacks in Europe and the US.
The case of the suspected Northwest Airlines bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is a recent example. In London, the horrors of the 7/7 bombings on the transport network in which 56 people died, was a consequence of the war in Iraq.
The Socialist Party long opposed the brutality of the Saddam regime and supported workers' struggles against his regime. Yet US and British Imperialism supported and armed his regime for decades until the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait. The western powers helped him put down struggles against his regime because he supported their interests.
Even after the 1991 invasion of Iraq, US troops stood aside to allow Saddam's revolutionary guards to brutally put down a major Shia uprising against Saddam because Bush senior preferred Saddam to a radical Shia regime possibly replacing him. Yet none of this got a mention.
During his six hours of testimony Blair described Saddam as "a monster" who had to be removed. What about all the other brutal regimes around the world? From Putin's onslaught against the Chechens, to the military regime in Burma and Mugabe's vicious repression of opposition in Zimbabwe, - why not 'regime change' in these cases? Because it is not in imperialism's interests or capabilities to take action against them.
As expected, this inquiry hasn't shed any new light. But it does underline the importance of building a mass movement that not only opposes war but also capitalism itself.
"Once again I nearly kicked my TV in. The sight of this poisonous warmonger makes me physically sick with anger. Why didn't anyone throw at least a shoe at him?"
Pete, North Warwickshire
"Blair's performance was a master class in misdirection. Unfettered by probing questions about his claim that Saddam was able to deploy WMD within 45 minutes, despite no such weapons having been found, he was free to take charge and began questioning the panel! 'What if Saddam was still around?', he asked! The sheer gall of the man and his utter lack of remorse for the devastation he has caused to hundreds of thousands of people is truly sickening".
Glen, postal worker
"Blair looked like a guilty man in the inquiry and so he should. He was the man that led the country in to this conflict without a mandate from the people. He is still adamant that what he did was right and refuses to apologise to those who lost someone as a result.
However this inquiry is a joke as it has no powers and is another vast expenditure from the taxpayers' pocket. Blair should be indicted for war crimes."
Keith, joint chair Coventry Unison (personal capacity)