Tomorrow Tony Blair will face the questions of the Chilcot Inquiry. Apparently, he has been getting up at 3 am. in the morning to formulate his answers. He has had months to prepare, with full knowledge of the questions that will be put to him.
I bet they don’t lay a glove on him. Tony Blair is not going to end up at the Hague, being prosecuted for war crimes, as many people believe would be right. The self confessed “straight talking kinda guy” will smarm his way through anything they throw at him, that’s for sure.
There is one good thing about Mr. Blair’s appearance though. He has to stand up and face people, and in the audience will be the parents and families of many of the soldiers who died. Then there will be the opprobium of the thousands of Muslims who died, including women and children for him to think about. I don’t suppose he will feel terribly comfortable.
In the letters page of today’s Times, Professor Philip Allott said “Unleashing the monstrous phenomenon of war engages the moral responsibility of those, who by action or inaction, cause wars.It engages also the moral responsibility of all the rest of us who allow such things to happen.” We should have done more than just march.
Large demos haranguing Blair before the inquiry begins. It is not a trial. Crucial issues are did Blair mislead Parliament and the country over WMD? Did he keep our troops short of equipment and vital helicopters? How many hard follow up questions will there be during this inquiry, because so far there have been very few indeed.
A hundred thousand people died in Iraq, but Tony Blair said at the end of the questioning, he had “no regrets.” The feeling from witnesses seemed to be that Tony Blair answered nervously, repetitively and dragged out the proceedings. At the end of the Inquiry, some people shouted out “Liar” and “Murderer”.
One of Tony Blair’s strengths used to be his ability to sense the the feeling of the country and to express that feeling back to us. This is a talent he totally seems to have lost. He seemed painfully out of line with almost everyone at the Inquiry and his stubborness seemed selfish and insensitive. Margaret Beckett afterwards tried to explain why he had said he had “no regrets”, but she only succeeded in making him seem more pig headed.