Self-rebutting conspiracy theories
I am literally astonished at the way anti-war myths about Iraq continue to sustain themselves in the “reporting” and re-reporting of non-stories. The latest example was the decision by The Sunday Telegraph to devote several pages, including its front-page lead story, to the logical absurdity of “Tony Blair committed us to war in advance”.
Well, it’s anniversary journalism, I thought. They’ve got to put something in the newspaper. And of course it has been picked up and re-reported on anti-war websites all over the world.
Nothing so surprising about any of that, obviously, but today The Times (pay wall), of all newspapers, feebly re-published this flim-flam under the laughably self-rebutting headline, “Bush ‘was given reassurances of Blair’s Iraq position before UK public’.”
I do not really need to wheel out the old logo (above). Not only was the Sunday Telegraph report self-rebutting, in that Tony Blair’s public position was clear from at least 1996, when as leader of the opposition he joined John Major in supporting US cruise missile strikes against Saddam Hussein, the newspaper did readers the favour of commissioning Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador to Washington to rebut it: “I do not believe that at Crawford an irrevocable decision to go to war was taken.” (The Crawford meeting was in April 2002.)
How hard is this for people who opposed the war to understand? Tony Blair said publicly that Saddam had to be dealt with, by force if necessary. That he would support a US invasion was obvious. That was why 1m people marched in February 2003. He was not able to “commit” the UK to join a US invasion, however, because that required decisions by the Cabinet and the House of Commons.
To answer my own question, I think it is because people who opposed the war feel so strongly that they cannot accept that reasonable people, including ministers and the rest of the 412 MPs who voted for military action, could have done so for the reasons given. Therefore there must have been some secret deal done, with the consent of the Cabinet and Parliament secured by fabrications.chilcot, iraq, iraq inquiry
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