Sunday, 15 June 2014

A field day for armchair psychiatrists

From the BBC:

The 2003 invasion of Iraq is not to blame for the violent insurgency now gripping the country, former UK prime minister Tony Blair has said.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr, he said there would still be a "major problem" in the country even without the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003. He insisted the current crisis was a "regional" issue that "affects us all".

Critics have rejected the comments as "bizarre" with one accusing Mr Blair of "washing his hands of responsibility".

"Even if you'd left Saddam in place in 2003, then when 2011 happened - and you had the Arab revolutions going through Tunisia and Libya and Yemen and Bahrain and Egypt and Syria - you would have still had a major problem in Iraq," Mr Blair said, "Indeed, you can see what happens when you leave the dictator in place, as has happened with Assad now. The problems don't go away.

"So, one of the things I'm trying to say is - you know, we can rerun the debates about 2003 - and there are perfectly legitimate points on either side - but where we are now in 2014, we have to understand this is a regional problem, but it's a problem that will affect us.

"Where the extremists are fighting, they have to be countered hard, with force.


Sackerson said...

Y'know, many people say to me I'm mad. And I say to them, "Yeah, the mad thing. But I'm rich and have many powerful friends. Who's mad now?"

The Stigler said...

He's bonkers. He is so convinced of his own magnificence, that he could do things despite the fact that Iraq wasn't fertile ground for democracy and all the problems of division and sectarianism in the region.

The two humanitarian arguments that were put before the war were that Saddam was ruthless towards his people (i.e. gassing the kurds) and that we had to intervene because his secret police was so effective at quashing rebellions.

Those ISIS blokes would have found themselves with electrodes on their bollocks under Saddam. Which is why not many people tried messing with the guy.

My own view? Let them fight it out. Buy oil from the winner.

paulc156 said...

How the heck does he know that these Arab springs would have happened without an invasion? Seems more likely that they wouldn't have taken place to me.
Blair is a snake oil salesman par excellence.

This is one of the problems with the social sciences. You can advance a hypothesis [invading and occupying Iraq will spur democracy and save lives] and justify the premise regardless of the results of doing so.
For example, last year Blair cited the relative improvements in Iraq as justification for going into Iraq, despite the cobblers about WMD being cited to parliament as the justification for invading.

Now the same relative improvements look as if they might be overturned in short order, it's still justified...but now because things may have got worse without an invasion.

This does lead you to the conclusion that in principle no matter what happens in Iraq it can not be shown to have been the wrong decision to invade in the first place. Like flipping a double headed coin. He can't lose.

neil craig said...

He has appoint of sorts. These genocidal enemies of us and democracy are exactly the same freedom loving democratic revolutionary liberators who have been fighting the former south London doctor running Syria.

Our current leaders and our Saudi allies have been giving weaponry to help ISIS in Syria so perhaps it is not entirely surprising that ISIS in Iraq turn out to be well armed.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, fair point.

TS, cynical but agreed.

PC, good point on the double think, I can't top that.

NC, no he doesn't. If he had wanted to keep the UK safe from Islamic nutters, then why did he let so many in? Fund them? Not deport them? Provoke them?

If they want to slaughter each other in the Middle East, who cares, we'll just buy oil from the winners.