In previous posts I've elaborated on my viewpoint that the reasons for Britain to follow the US into war in Iraq were all wrong. I saw it that way before the invasion and with the power of hindsight my misgivings about WMD, the 45 minute threat, Saddam's involvement in 9/11 and his role in "Global Terrorism" have been strongly vindicated.
In the light of this and with logical consistency I've called the prime architect of this debacle, PM Tony Blair, a liar and a war criminal and have called for his resignation and even impeachment.
Bizarrely and unexpectedly, calls for the impeachment of the PM have now come from the most unlikely of quarters imaginable: that most revered of establishments; the British Army.The ex-UN commander in Bosnia General Sir Michael Rose said Mr Blair had to take responsibility for his actions. I'm not really going to comment on Sir Michael's statements as they speak for themselves and instead want concentrate on other aspects of calls for holding Mr Blair to account.
Calls for the impeachment of both Blair and Bush aren't new of course and Sir Michael doesn't stand exactly alone in his cause.
But would impeaching Blair actually achieve anything? Well, if somehow we expect Blair to be convicted and sentenced, then I'm convinced we are deluding ourselves: technically I don't think we stand a chance of achieving that goal. Whilst Blair has lied, told half-truths, cherry-picked "intel" and presented information in such a way that the general public could only misconstrue it, all this manipulation was carried out skilfully, and in such a way that would make a making a legal case that would not only stand up in court but also yield a reasonable chance of conviction rather difficult.
Others point to the danger of criminalising the political process, US style, and I find that a fair point.
Nonetheless, there is a point of principle to be observed here. In a country that is frankly obsessed with accountability and will make its citizens pay for even the smallest of misdemeanours, leaders who commit some of the greatest blunders in the last fifty years of British Foreign policy should not be allowed to walk away scot-free.
In a country obsessed with safety and National Security, leaders which put the country in great peril to implement policies that have been justified only on the back of a pack of lies, should be held accountable.
So, yes, please, let's see if we can let the PM have his day in court. He too can then defend his actions and we might actually learn something about Blair's real motives for supporting the catastrophe that Iraq has turned out to be...
We must however remain aware that impeachment is a political gamble: if the case is lost, the Blairites and New Labour will feel their past actions have been justified by the legal ruling. Imagine the damage it would do to our cause. Both Labour and the Tories would probably feel they had carte blanche for just about anything...
Hat tip to This Old Brit.
Keywords: Blair, impeach Blair, Bush, Iraq war