Sometimes I think the only way Tony Blair could ever be truly happy is if he managed to get himself crucified. A big Calvary moment, complete with movie cameras, crowds of extras, make-up and lighting, is the only thing that could ever satisfy his Messiah complex–
But no, Blair was always a bargain basement Messiah, and he was always happy to pay in some one else’s blood. Astonishingly, this week he declared he had no regrets over the decision to invade Iraq ten years ago.
Well, he did regret how difficult it had all been, he said, and the loss of life. But Blair didn’t want to talk about the 100,000 or so Iraqi civilians who were killed. He didn’t want to talk about the 4 million Iraqis who were forced out of their homes.
No, he wanted to talk about Saddam Hussein. “When people say to me, ‘Do you regret removing him?’ my answer is ‘No’,” Blair said. “How can you regret removing somebody who was a monster, who created enormous carnage – not just amongst his own people but amongst the people of the region?”
It was Blair the lawyer, shifting the argument away from the enormous carnage he himself created, not only among Iraqis, but among the people of the region, back to Saddam, long dead these six years while the carnage in Iraq rages on.
And it was Blair the would-be Messiah, clinging to his tattered totem ten years on, trying to portray himself as the liberator of Iraq. How fortunate the Iraqis, that in the hour of their need, Tony Blair did not forget them.
The truth is that Tony Blair and George W Bush achieved something really remarkable in Iraq. They managed to make it even worse than it had been under Saddam Hussein.
And that really is saying something, because Saddam was, as Blair said, a monster. But even under him Iraq was not what it is now, a country so riven by sectarian hatred that people are killed merely for living in the wrong neighbourhood, for working in the wrong job, for driving down the wrong street.
Blair even tried to invoke the nightmare of what is going on in Syria in defence of the disaster he helped fashion in Iraq. If he had not, in his goodness and wisdom, removed Saddam for them, then the Iraqi people would have risen up and there would have been a civil war worse than Syria’s, he said — conveniently ignoring the simple fact that Iraq did have a civil war, that it was unbelievably horrific, and although an uncertain calm holds for now, it may not be over.
The invasion didn’t prevent a civil war in Iraq. It caused one.
But surely even Blair knows by now that all this is forlorn. That the message staring him in the face from Iraq, as clearly as if it were written in sixty foot letters of fire and addressed personally to the Right Honourable Tony Blair, is “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting”.
I was in Iraq. I met Murder there, and he had a face like Tony Blair.