"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Short Shoots! She Scores!!

Watching Blair testify before the Chilcot Enquiry was entertaining. The man was good, you have to give him that. He delivered what we all expected; a polished performance from an old pro.

His seat was still warm when the analysts weighed in. "Wriggling", "Squirming", "Fudged answers" were used to describe his testimony. I heard quite a lot of questions asked and his answers somehow meandered off point, but he seemed genuine. How little I know.

Clare Short, who was there for most of the build up to the invasion used a slightly different word to describe the ex-leaders statements.


As usual, Ms Short pulls no punches. Her honesty is refreshing, and we could do with a damn sight more of it.

In the linked report (click on the title to read it all) she says:

"She told the inquiry that she had a conversation with Blair in 2002. He told her that he was not planning for war against Iraq and that the evidence has since revealed that he was not telling the truth at that point, she said.

She also said she was "stunned" when she read the 337-word legal advice on the war written by the then-attorney general Lord Goldsmith during a cabinet meeting on 17 March 2003, three days before the war began. She was forbidden by Blair from discussing it during the meeting.

"I said, 'That is extraordinary.' I was jeered at to be quiet. If the prime minister says be quiet there is only so much you can do.

"I think for the attorney general to come and say there's unequivocal legal authority to go to war was misleading."


"Asked about the cabinet meetings in the run-up to the war, Short told the inquiry that the cabinet did not operate in the manner it was required to constitutionally.

"It was not a decision-making body. I don't think there was ever a substantive discussion about anything in cabinet. If you ever raised an issue with Tony Blair he would cut it off. He did that in July 2002 when I said I wanted to talk about Iraq. He said he did not want it leaking into the press."

Short described cabinet meetings as "little chats" rather than decision-making opportunities."

I distinctly recall that I was pleased when she resigned, having endured as much as she could. I understand principles and have stood by my own on many occasions. Ms Short was a high profile member of Blairs government and her resignation hurt. Blairs actions at the time, and his shoddy treatment of his advisors, should, nay, must, come back to haunt him. Blair is a war criminal, and he is responsible, in part, for up to one million deaths and untold suffering by ordinary Iraqi's, not to mention our own brave sons and daughters who perished, or were maimed in this avoidable conflict.

That debt must be repaid.

I, for one, am glad that Ms Short is on the Collection Team.


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