Footnote to Further Thoughts About Blair Rage
My first-dash review of A Journey for The Independent is here. And here is a comment from Martina Devlin, an Irish journalist who opposed the Iraq war, but who takes a sane and balanced view of Tony Blair’s overall record:
His decade as British prime minister coincided with a momentous period in Irish history, a unique window of opportunity for peace. And Blair did not fumble it.
Yet war in Iraq and Afghanistan looks like constituting his legacy rather than peace in the North, even though it is reductive to focus on one without acknowledging the other.
This doesn’t mean I think Blair was right to go to war in 2003 — plainly it was a profoundly flawed decision with appalling consequences.
Among the disappointments of A Journey, published yesterday, is the way it shows Blair still failing to recognise the gravity of his error. Unfortunately, he continues to justify the bloodshed on the basis that Saddam Hussein (a dictator so ruthless, he murdered members of his own family) was too dangerous to leave in power …
Going to war was a mistake on Blair’s part, but it is wrong for protesters to call him a warmonger. I was particularly dismayed by the confrontational language used about him in a public letter from a group of creative artists, including members of the government-funded arts group Aosdana, urging Eason and RTE not to allow him a publicity platform.
Blair is no “notorious war criminal” and his €4.6m advance is not “blood money” — such terminology is needlessly provocative and hyperbolic. He devoted years of his life to ending war here. He brought Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness into mainstream politics. How can he be labelled a war criminal?
I repeat, I do not endorse his decision to hit the attack button in Iraq. I simply note that censure of his record there must be tempered with respect for his achievements here …
A final thought: Tony Blair donated his advance to charity. Bertie pocketed the fee, plus the artist’s tax exemption, while writing his book on our time, on a TD’s salary plus several public pensions. Remind me again, which of these men should be picketed?
If the Blair haters don’t want to listen to me, perhaps they will listen to her.blair rage
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