Sunday, 19 February 2017

Post Truth Memory

Blair calling for a coalition of the willing against Brexit is attracting all manner of opprobrium, including calls for him to be tried as a war criminal. My, my, how short memories are.

Polls conducted well before the Iraq invasion showed majority support for the invasion (more than the number supporting Brexit), with only a small minority of the left being against it - and this was before the release of the 'Dodgy Dossier' in February, a few weeks prior to the invasion. People were citing Saddam's ruthless killing of up to 300,000 of his people as sufficient reason to remove him. Statistically, most of the people reading this today supported the invasion with no dodgy dossier. Where have you all gone? Some people need to inspect the deeper recesses of their memories and consciences.

The Dodgy Dossier is attributed to Blair and Alistair Campbell, but he had no part in its production - it was produced by the Joint Intelligence Committee, part of MI6. Blair's fault, perhaps, was not to question its veracity with sufficient robustness. It was Andrew Gilligan who claimed the government had 'sexed up' the dossier; a claim that was totally untrue and led to his sacking. Chilcot absolved Blair of any part in the dossier.

Once the aftermath of the invasion showed the result to be a litany of incompetence on the part of the occupying forces, people started to conveniently change their minds and failed to recall that they'd actually supported the invasion in the first place. A case of post truth memory. The mob can be extremely fickle, as well as riddled with hypocrisy.

The charge of war criminal has been repeated so often that it seems to have acquired the status of a self-evident truth, although a court of law is the only place where this question could be definitively settled, and the likelihood is that a properly constituted court would find that Blair is not a war criminal at all.

If Blair is a war criminal, then the charge must also lie at the feet of St Margaret Thatcher, who purposely rejected military advice (and the advice of Peter Carrington, who resigned as a consequence) to beef up forces in the Falklands and incredulously withdrew HMS Endurance from the area, basically inviting Galtieri to invade, safe in the knowledge she could send a massive task force, win an astounding victory, and gain another term as PM (which at the time was against all odds) on a wave of popular triumphalism. She certainly had blood on her hands, but we'd best forget that, as we won with no nasty aftertaste. Blair's mistake was to win, but not convincingly, and the mob can't forgive him for that as it's on their conscience.

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