Friday, 29 January 2010

Blair at the Iraq Inquiry - no early blows landed

Round One to Blair is the concensus in the media hall. My source in the actual chamber says that at the beginning proceedings were tense but that the atmosphere eased as Blair got into his stride and began articulating his case.

His argument, his defence if you like, is that he publicly and privately backed regime change but on the basis that Saddam's WMDs posed a huge threat to the west.

He has effectively denied the accusation made by Sir Christopher Mayer that there was a secret deal "signed in blood" at the crucial Crawford Ranch meeting in 2002.

Blair argued in public and in private that the UK would back military action if that was necessary. He refered to several speeches and press conferences in which he said that on terms. In other words no secret deal.

For Blair the world changed with 9/11, the "calculus of risk" changed. The combination of rogue states, WMDs and Islamist terrorism meant that tryrants like Saddam had to be faced down, and if necessary taken down, or the west would face nuclear-armed terrorists in a short time.

He slipped up once, when dealing with the Fern Britton interview. He resorted to verbage and admitted that he made a misake when he said last year that he would have wanted to get rid of Saddam even if he had know Iraq had no WMD

He's back in the hall mow, tanned and talking. Let's tune in...

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