Sunday, 23 January 2011

Blair the war criminal

things you thought I'd never say, hein?  Well, I haven't said it, but it appears that most of the UK chattering classes and so-called liberal media, and especially the BBC, are saying precisely that.  For those, like most of the media who promote this view of the former prime minister, who profess themselves very keen on international law and its observance, here is an international legal definition of a war crime which has served its purpose well for 60 years now.  John Rentoul says, or suggests, that the BBC has breached its impartiality charter in allowing, on its Big Question programme, the notion that a reasonable person might take the view that Tony Blair is a war criminal, rather than simply allowing discussion of the rightness or otherwise of the Iraq war.  I am not so sure.  It seems to me that the BBC could suggest on any of its programmes that, say, there was no massacre in Rwanda, or that Hitler did not die in the bunker in Berlin, or for that matter that Elvis Presley is alive and working in a chip shop in Walthamstow, and could invite guests to promote those positions, all of which are manifestly ill-founded, without breaching its charter.  It is when the BBC itself takes, or appears to take, the view that such a scenario may be factually possible that the ice on which it treads becomes thinner.  It is perfectly OK for it to invite guests on to its programmes who say that Tony Blair is a war criminal, even though he quite obviously is not.  And (sigh) there could never have been any UK military involvement in Iraq without a vote in Parliament (still the only time Parliament has ever voted to approve military action, or been asked to),  so if supporting action in Iraq is a war crime then those of us who voted for it in 2003 are all war criminals too.  Arguably those MPs who voted against, or who abstained, could be war criminals too, because the decision based on the vote was a decision of "this House" and not of a bunch of individuals.  But in any case the whole proposition is nonsense.  Read the Nurnberg text I link to above and see why.

I will, exceptionally, allow all on-topic comments on this post.  Even if they incite racial hatred, so make the most of it.

Take me to The Hague in chains.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Martyrdom awaits you.

Jane Griffiths said...

huh?

Jonathan said...

I don't profess to be an expert on the legal side of things, other than to note that war crime tends in reality to be the act of losing a war, which Bush/Blair have not yet done in Iraq.

I've never really fully understood the case for invading Iraq. Saddam certainly wasn't a particularly nice guy, but if we are to spend tax payers' money removing tyrants, then Saddam isn't anywhere near the top of the list. There are much worse dictators out there than him.

The claim that he had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed in 45 minutes was clearly false, and they came up with some pretty precise details and numbers of weapons he allegedly had, none of which existed.

It was also a completely inappropriate response to the 9/11 attacks because Saddam was actually an enemy of the islamists who carried out this attack due to his secular government and his belief that women should enjoy the same rights and opportunities as Iraqi men. The invasion and subsequent destruction of the structures of government in Iraq left the Mosques as the only surviving respected institution in the country, brought these two opposing factions together, provided an opportunity for fundamentalists to move in and brought about the very real risk that it could make life much worse both for Iraqis and for general security around the world.

The Hooded Clump said...

Blair made a deal with Bush. Then withheld information from Parliament, the cabinet and you and I. I don't know if that makes him a war criminal but it is morally bankrupt. I cannot look at him without feeling complete contempt despite some of his very impressive political achievements.

Interested to know if you would have voted for war if you had known there were no WMD?

Jane Griffiths said...

Would I? yes I would.

Anonymous said...

Jane you are a nut case

Jane Griffiths said...

Ah anon 2313 that's more like it. This is the tone of debate we expect when Mr Blair is the topic. Any other names starting with N you want to call me?

Anonymous said...

Quite shocked by your answer at 2301. Surely under that premise you back war against a host of nations.

Jane Griffiths said...

not a host, no. A host is probably at least 20. But I would give the Burmese generals an opportunity to allow a true democratic process, and if they wouldn't have it, blam blam. I would give Mugabe and his family the chance to go into exile in orderly fashion, if not... Somalia I would not invade but would go in with democratic assistance and try to get a government created, internationally, oh there is more, including Belgium is they don't sort themselves out pdq, but not 20 countries. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are universal goods and are for brown-skin people too, hein?

Anonymous said...

You don't want a debate, why accuse me of racism?

Jane Griffiths said...

who says I don't, and no-one is accusing you of racism, at least not here, I was just making a statement of my view, which is not widely shared among Guardian readers I notice

Anonymous said...

Neanderthal