Most bloggers and Tweeters like to claim that they were right all along, and have the solipsistic habit of linking to their previous pearls of wisdom. I’m no different.
Here is my first ever post, written at the tail end of the Blair/Brown Terror, more than four years ago. I quote:
Blair is a man carrying heavy baggage, and it’s beginning to show. His conversion to Catholicism is well known, the timing seemed almost cowardly, but there’s no rules to these things, and nobody does it lightly. It’s not possible for it to take place on the spur of the moment. All those churlish catholics who questioned the move do so at their peril – it’s between Blair, God and his confessor.
I think he is genuinely seeking atonement. What else can he realistically do to make amends for his colossal hubris and misjudgement in the Iraq war, as well as numerous other nightmares, not least his role, however peripheral in David Kelly’s death? He’s not going to ‘fess up on Oprah, start squealing to Chilcot or write an honest memoir, not at this stage.
He can however start to make things right within himself. Perhaps his ludicrous role as an utterly ineffective mini-Kissinger in the Middle East is the acceptable public face of this attempt to do the right thing, but the real action is taking place inside him.
Well, maybe I was wrong, because his latest weird self-exculpatory message suggests that he thinks he was right, though I still doubt that he really thinks that.
Here is Boris Johnson in today’s Telegraph:
I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. He wrote an essay on his website on Sunday that struck me as unhinged in its refusal to face facts. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.
He said that the allied invasion of 2003 was in no way responsible for the present nightmare – in which al-Qaeda has taken control of a huge chunk of the country and is beheading and torturing Shias, women, Christians and anyone else who falls foul of its ghastly medieval agenda. Tony Blair now believes that all this was “always, repeat always” going to happen.
He tells us that Saddam was inevitably going to be toppled in a revolution, to be followed by a protracted and vicious religious civil war, and that therefore we (and more especially he) do not need to blame ourselves for our role in the catastrophe. As an attempt to rewrite history, this is frankly emetic….
He (not Blair, but a CIA man who Boris met in Iraq) was hoping to find someone to carry on the business of government – law and order, infrastructure, tax collection, that kind of thing. The days were passing; the city was being looted; no one was showing up for work. We had utterly blitzed the power centres of Iraq with no credible plan for the next stage – and frankly, yes, I do blame Bush and Blair for their unbelievable arrogance in thinking it would work……
The Iraq war was a tragic mistake; and by refusing to accept this, Blair is now undermining the very cause he advocates – the possibility of serious and effective intervention. Blair’s argument (if that is the word for his chain of bonkers assertions) is that we were right in 2003, and that we would be right to intervene again…
Somebody needs to get on to Tony Blair and tell him to put a sock in it – or at least to accept the reality of the disaster he helped to engender. Then he might be worth hearing. The truth shall set you free, Tony.
Well, perhaps he is in need of the psychiatrist’s couch. Ian Birrell, in a very fine piece in the Independent is less kind: