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Blair Agrees With Interviewer that Iraq is a Disaster

I have not watched the interview, so I don't see how this comment can be seen as an olive branch, but I will reserve judgment until I have the full context. In my opinion the olive branches need to be extended by those who are trying to tear their own country to bits and who are kidnapping and torturing and murdering innocent people. But hey, that's just me.

Tony Blair admitted that British intervention in Iraq has been a disaster last night - sending shockwaves through Westminster.

In his frankest admission about the war to date, Mr Blair admitted that Western forces have been powerless to stop the descent into violence.

The Prime Minister stopped short of accepting the blame for plunging Iraq to the brink of civil war - blaming instead the insurgent uprising that has killed 125 British troops.

But his admission in an interview with the Arab new channel Al Jazeera will be seen as an historic climbdown for Mr Blair, who has always fought to put a positive gloss on often disastrous events.

Challenged by veteran interviewer Sir David Frost that the Western invasion of Iraq has "so far been pretty much of a disaster", Mr Blair said: "It has."

His words were last night seen as an olive branch to other states in the Middle East and his critics at home.

Update: Thanks to Brian Epps for this link which includes the full exchange. It definitely makes a difference.

During the interview, Sir David suggested that the West's intervention in Iraq had "so far been pretty much of a disaster".

Blair replied: "It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy - al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other - to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace
is displaced by the will of the minority for war."

That doesn't exactly sound like an olive branch to me, but then maybe that is why I don't work for the mainstream media. Sounds to me like the following explanation from Downing Street makes sense. Blair did agree, but then immediately referred three times to the situation as "difficult," not a disaster. Of course, Blair's detractors took the occasion to demand an apology. How completely predictable.
Reacting to his comments, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said the Prime Minister should now apologise for his actions.

He said: "At long last the enormity of the decision to take military action against Iraq is being accepted by the Prime Minister.

"It could hardly be otherwise as the failure of strategy becomes so clear.

"If the Prime Minister accepts that it is a 'disaster' then surely Parliament and the British people who were given a flawed prospectus are entitled to an apology."

A Downing Street spokeswoman said Blair did not believe that the violence in Iraq had been a disaster.

"He was simply acknowledging the question in a polite way before going on to explain his view.

"To portray it as some kind of admission is completely disingenuous," the spokeswoman told the BBC.

Update II: John Hinderaker says the headlines chosen by the BBC and others are more wishful thinking than anything. He couldn't be more right.


Comments (16)

Read the <a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)

Read the article, not the twist they had to make for a headline:
During the interview, Sir David suggested that the West's intervention in Iraq had "so far been pretty much of a disaster".

Blair replied: "It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy - al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other - to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."

Your pseudo-analysis makes ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Your pseudo-analysis makes no sense. Blair's apparently saying that it's a disaster because our enemies have a deliberate strategy to oppose us.

Well, duh!

How is that not due to poor planning? Isn't the point of planning so you are ready for the opposition?

Once again, the right needs to delve into the backtrack of a statement to be able to come up with the requisite "what he meant to say was..." twist. (Whereas, of course, John Kerry's statements must be taken at face value.)

Oh, by the way, Bill Frist also thinks we're losing in Iraq.

Unlike the Mich Ohio State ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Unlike the Mich Ohio State game where winning and losing can be measured by an agreed upon standard..
Iraq cannot..If we keep changing the defination of winning..after all..as a result of the invasion Saddam is no longer in power and Iraq does not pose a threat to use or sell WMDs to terrorists...
does not that mean we already won?
Where is the debate?

Oh yeah..if we already won,... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Oh yeah..if we already won, why are American Troops still over there being killed and of course causing "collateral damage" involving mothers and children?
....that is why sports are more fun than reality...

This is the kind of "Gotcha... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

This is the kind of "Gotcha!" journalism that has disgraced journalism, not the targets. But many of the journos are oblivious to the damage they've done to themselves.

Liberals and their cohorts ... (Below threshold)
jo:

Liberals and their cohorts in the liberal MSM have not one ounce of credibility left.

It's in these unscripted mo... (Below threshold)

It's in these unscripted moments that we find out much more about what our political leaders think than in their scripted, public statements. Blair clearly answered "It has." when asked if Iraq was a disaster. It reminds me of when Bush said he was not "concerned" about Osama bin Laden. That statement spoke volumes about what the President really thinks about the threat from bin Laden (not much).

In attempt to recover Blair then said:

"It's not difficult because of some accident in planning,"

In fact, the occupation has been far more difficult because of the many blunders committed by the Bush administration: disbanding the Iraqi military, an de-Baathification program that eviscerated virtually the entire Iraqi government overnight, not sending enough troops to establish security after the fall of Baghdad and seal the border with Syria to prevent Al Qaede intrusion.

The rebuilding of the Iraqi police forces has also been badly bungled. Iyad Allawi was just calling today for the complete dismantling of the police (something I advocated in an earlier post).

The reality is that Iraq didn't have to turn out this way.

Larkin, it's easy to be an ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Larkin, it's easy to be an arm-chair general when you have no responsibility, and only hindsight.

I think Blair and Bush have much more character and leadership than most of the critics. Their task is monumental, and it's left to the weak and feeble-minded to miss the fact that we win if we have resolve to stick to it.

The Iraqi people want it. Most good people here want it. But your type, and I'm afraid many on the Left, don't. They'd prefer our misfortune in this war to spite Bush, then to win. It's sad how low many find themselves.

But your type, and I'm a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

But your type, and I'm afraid many on the Left, don't.

Statements like this are why the right lost so monumentally. Stick with this attitude, and you will keep losing.

Never believe anything you ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Never believe anything you read in any news paper. Wait and read the entire 'quote' of what was said. 99 44/100 % of the time the initial report by the defunct lying antique MSM here and abroad is wrong. I don't think they even have reporters anymore, they have rumor mongers, aka dimwits.

Mitchell : You have to realize now that the dim's are responsible for 90%+ of the American deaths in Iraq and almost all of the Iraqi deaths. The started providing aid and comfort to the enemy before the first soldier set foot in Iraq and have never let up. They're drive to assure that America loses to further their political aims has ate them alive. I look at all of them as cowards who wouldn't fight to save they're own family. It not only shows in Iraq, but in the violence in every American city currently ran by a dim.
I saw at least 25 news flashes on the 9 Iraqi's gunned down in a bakery and maybe 3 flashed about a gunman that gunned down 5 people in Detroit. Is Detroit a dim city? Bet it is.

Scrappy: I agree whole-hea... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Scrappy: I agree whole-heartedly. It's something I've thought about a lot lately.

From day 1 most of the Lefties pre-saged doom and destruction for us in Afghanistan campaign. When that didn't work for them, they shifted to the "Iraq Quagmire" thing, and the rest is history.

You can see their statements track much of what the terrorists say in their propaganda. They don't care about the troops and don't support the mission, clearly.

At any other time in our history, this type of thing would be thought of as treasonous.

You can criticized the conduct of the war without the spiteful and harmful approach they have taken. Having no serious thoughts on military and geo-political strategy, they revert to their 1968 form.

What is wrong with you idio... (Below threshold)
saf:

What is wrong with you idiots on this site, why are you looking at the media to blame. Cannot you see it no one needs Blair to point out that the war is a disaster everyone knows it, you fools really believe the Iraqis are better off now and feel glad about the whole situation..I predicted on this site almost a year ago that America will get its arse kicked eventually and will be racing to get the hell out of there and thats exactly what is happening there now...the insurgency is getting stronger by the day and country has already broken up into little fiefdoms....so much for spreading freedom

From day 1 most of the L... (Below threshold)
Brian:

From day 1 most of the Lefties pre-saged doom and destruction for us in Afghanistan campaign.

Thanks for tha validation. You think that would make you listen to us about Iraq!

Imagine how much further ah... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Imagine how much further ahead we'd be if the Leftys/Dems actually supported our efforts in Iraq instead of incessantly undermining it?

You idiots don't yet realiz... (Below threshold)
hansel2:

You idiots don't yet realize you're the only ones who still think this is a war based on winning and losing.

I personally don't think there should be a rapid pullout at all, but I've never been naive enough to buy the stupid arguments floated by the moron in office. Don't you realize you've been had?

You're little Bushie junior's butt-puppets - mouthing his words verbatim - and you just sound ignorant and laughable. This is WHY you people lost the last election. Stubborness and stupidity are attractive qualities to no one - and constantly spitting out that "liberal this, liberal that" bullshit is equally childish. You're demonizing a phantom hippie/leftist image that is long gone from the mainstream of the Democratic party. But hey, you're angry at your own gullibility and you have to attack someone, don't you. Can't blame yourselves now, can you.

So go ahead. Curse me out. That's all you know how to do at this point anyway.

"Your demonizing a phant... (Below threshold)
914:

"Your demonizing a phantom hippie/leftist image that is long gone from the mainstream of the democratic party"

Your right hansel2, We can drop the phantom part of Your description..And add the rest to the leadership of Your heroe's on the left.




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