Tony Blair: Dear England and America, We Screwed Up Iraq and Created ISIS




…by Jonas E. Alexis


The Daily Mail has recently reported that Tony Blair finally confessed that he screwed up Iraq really bad:

“Tony Blair has finally said sorry for the Iraq War – and admitted he could be partly to blame for the rise of Islamic State.

“The extraordinary confession by the former Prime Minister comes after 12 years in which he refused to apologise for the conflict.

“Blair makes his dramatic ‘mea culpa’ during a TV interview about the ‘hell’ caused by his and George Bush’s decision to oust Saddam Hussein.”[1]

Now, listen to this very carefully:

“In the exchange, Blair repeatedly says sorry for his conduct and even refers to claims that the invasion was a war ‘crime’ – while denying he committed one.

“Blair is asked bluntly in the CNN interview, to be broadcast today: ‘Was the Iraq War a mistake?’ He replies: ‘I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.

“’I also apologize for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.’

“Mr Blair was then asked whether the invasion of Iraq was the ‘principle cause’ of the rise of ISIS. The former Prime Minister said: ‘I think there are elements of truth in that. But we have got to be extremely careful otherwise we will misunderstand what’s going on in Iraq and in Syria today…

“’Of course you can’t say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015.’

“’But it’s important also to realise – one, that the Arab Spring which began in 2011 would also have had its impact on Iraq today. And two – ISIS actually came to prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq.’”[2]

Blair is hopelessly trying to be slick here. He knows that he will be in trouble if he admits that he and Bush were simply puppets. This admission came from “Prince of Darkness” Richard Perle himself. He said:

“[Bush] did not make decisions, in part because the machinery of government that he nominally ran was actually running him.”[3]

Blair subtly blamed the Iraq debacle on wrong information he and Bush received from the intelligence community. The simple fact is that the opposite was the case.

It was widely known that the Bush administration had manipulated what the CIA and fifteen other U.S. intelligence agencies had declared about Iraq’s WMD program. The October 2002 NIE report on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program revealed that some experts believed, in spite of a lack of conclusive evidence, that Iraq had WMD.

The Bush administration, thirsty for evidence, classified the report, then released an unclassified version a few days later with deliberately altered wording that supported the theory that Iraq possessed WMD.[4]

This was not the first time that the Bush administration had deliberately ignored evidence for ideological purposes. In February 2002, the CIA reported that there was no conclusive evidence that Saddam was buying uranium yellowcake in Niger.

Yet in September 2004, Tony Blair declared that “Iraq had sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” to which the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, added, “We agree with their findings.”[5]

Scholars like Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke declared that this “finding” was of course “in the president’s most important speech of the year,”[6] the 2004 State of the Union address. While Bush’s audience praised his speech, the CIA called the claim “highly dubious.”[7]

The inescapable conclusion then is that the Bush administration, in the words of noted attorney Vincent Bugliosi, deliberately lied about the war in Iraq. In addition, if WMD were the sole issue for going to war, then America would be going to war all over the world, for countries such as France, China, and North Korea all have WMD.

The real question is whether Saddam posed a threat to America, and sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies declared that Saddam was not an imminent threat to the U.S. (the only place he posed a threat was in the minds of the neocons eager to marshal arguments for the war).

Paul R. Pillar, a twenty-eight-year veteran of the CIA and a visiting professor at Georgetown University, blew everyone out of the water with the publication of his provoking book Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy.

The information in Pillar’s work is not all new. But Pillar’s words carry a great deal of weight because he had a long, distinguished career as a member of the C.I.A. Pillar not only agrees with the assessment that the war in Iraq was orchestrated by the Neoconservatives, but makes the convincing case that Bush lied about what the C.I.A. actually reported on WMD.

For example, when counterterrorist chief Richard Clarke told Bush after many examinations that there was no connection between Saddam and al-Qaida, Bush told him to go back and come up with new evidence.[8]

Pillar later declares that the administration was pressing the intelligence community to fabricate evidence to present to the American people as a basis for invading Iraq.[9] When Deputy DCI John McLaughlin presented the information on Iraq weapons, the president told him,

“That’s not good enough. Nice try, [but] it’s not something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from.”[10]

In other words, creating a rationale for “selling the war to the public” was much more important than providing actual evidence for the war.[11]

Moreover, “On November 21, 2001, nine days after the Taliban was driven from Kabul, Bush directed Rumsfeld to construct in secret a fresh plan for going to war against Iraq. When Rumsfeld suggested he should bring DCI Tenet in on the planning, the president denied him permission to do so, saying that could be done later.”[12]

Then the administration began to pass around the false idea that Iraq was purchasing uranium from Niger. When a former diplomat began to refute those false ideas, he was ostracized and rebuked by the office of the vice president for doing so.[13]

Although the intelligence community repeatedly told the administration that the notion that Saddam was buying uranium from Niger was false, it made little impression on the administration. Bush used this as a reason to go to war in 2002, and even talked about it again in the 2003 State of the Union Address, despite the fact that the intelligence community continued to tell him not to.[14]

When it became clear that the administration was making up evidence, Condoleezza Rice blamed the CIA, saying that it didn’t do its job. “You failed to prevent us from misusing intelligence when, despite your repeated previous efforts and warnings, we insisted on doing so. It’s your fault because you didn’t keep us from misbehaving,” said the former Secretary of State.[15]

Later, when Richard Haass, the State Department’s policy planning chief, tried to articulate his reservations about invading Iraq, Condoleezza Rice told him,

“Save your breath, Richard. The president has already made up his mind on Iraq.”[16]

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw declared, “Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.”[17]

The mindset was that anything, even forging evidence, was acceptable if the end result would be an Iraq without Saddam, something that actually surprised Thomas Powers of the New York Times.[18]

Pillar declares that there was never a time when the C.I.A. presented the administration with solid evidence that Saddam was an imminent threat to the United States. Instead, they presented evidence proving the exact opposite![19]

The closest thing to evidence was the fact that China’s power was on the rise, forcing the issue of weapons proliferation; Iraq was barely mentioned.[20] Seeing that the administration accentuated Iraq more than anything else, despite the fact that there was no convincing case for war, Pillar declared,

“Intelligence judgments about Iraq and Iraqi weapons programs were clearly not driving any decisions on more forceful actions against Iraq. The later sordid story of intelligence, the issue of WMD, and the selling of the war is a tale about policy-makers pulling, not of intelligence services pushing.”[21]

Pillar agrees with Mearsheimer and Walt in that the war in Iraq also had something to do with Israel; while the war cost the United States a fortune, “The direct costs for Israel were essentially zero.”[22]

When the mounting evidence that there were no WMD in Iraq could no longer be ignored, Neocons changed the purpose for the war from defensive to humanitarian—the soldiers were there to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam’s regime and bring democracy to Iraq. Yet the ones deciding what that democracy would look like were, of course, the neocons.

One of the lies was perpetrated by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who declared in 2002 that the administration had “‘bulletproof ’ evidence that Saddam was closely allied with Osama bin Laden.”[23]

In the same year, Rumsfeld was asked by Senator Mark Dayton why the administration was “compelling us now to make a precipitous decision and to take precipitous action” against Iraq; Rumsfeld responded by citing again this imaginary “nexus between terrorist networks like al Qaeda and terrorist states like Iraq.”[24]


Two years later, however, Rumsfeld recanted, saying, “To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two.”[25]

Colin Powell also tried to make the connection between Saddam and bin Laden before the war, stating that the noted terrorist was in “partnership with Iraq”; yet he recanted as well in 2004, saying,

“I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I think the possibility of such connections did exist and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did.”[26]

Dick Chaney, for his part, declared,

“We know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”[27]

Cheney, in his memoir, declares that when the fallacious news began to spread that Iraq was acquiring uranium from Niger, he demanded further investigation and evidence. In response, the C.I.A. sent him a memo stating that

“Iraq had existing stockpiles of yellowcake, or unenriched uranium ore, two hundred tons of which had previously been acquired from Niger.”[28]

Yet CIA officials belie this claim. Pillar argues over and over that the C.I.A. never made the claim that Saddam was acquiring uranium from Niger. As Pillar puts it, documents were made available to the White House that “if they had been noticed and heeded, would have provided the foundation for strong arguments against invading Iraq.”[29]

Ignoring what the U.S. intelligence was telling the White House, Cheney declared at the time, “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussain now has weapons of mass destruction.”[30]

Pillar says that Cheney’s bold claim here was completely “counter to the intelligence community’s judgment regarding likely disposition and use of such weapons.”[31]

Cheney again proved to be an ideologue when in September 2002 he “expressed opposition to international inspections out of fear that anything less than a damning inspection report would weaken the case for deposing Saddam.”[32]

Any opinion or evidence that would suggest Saddam was not an imminent threat to the U.S. was dismissed without examination. Douglas Feith said, “In crafting a strategy for Iraq, we cannot accept surrender.”[33] Cheney declares, “It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It’s about our response.”[34]

If it is not about evidence, then it was obvious that Cheney was willing to go to war, even in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Since the war in Iraq was based on bold lies, Cheney had to continue to prop up those lies with more lies in order to appease the American people and the world and justify what the Bush administration had done.

What we are seeing here is the Neoconservative ideology has turned nearly every administration into something that would have stunned the Founding Fathers. As Halper and Clarke put it, the Neoconservative goals are in complete contrast “to the general cast of the American temperament as embodied by the Declaration of Independence.”[35]

When the truth finally came out, Bush’s part was to offer the entire world, and particularly the American people, his deepest regret that they did not find a single weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. “No one was more shocked or angry than I was when they didn’t find the weapons,” said the former president.  “I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do.”[36]

One does not know whether to laugh or cry when reading such a statement. As we have seen, Bush was repeatedly told that Iraq had no WMD; even C.I.A. member Paul R. Richard declares bluntly that Bush not only lied about the war, but that many of those lies came

“not out of whole cloth, but out of scraps [the administration] assiduously collected in an effort to stitch such an issue together.”[37]

So, do you see why Vladimir Putin is righteously angry? People like Blair prostituted themselves before the Neoconservatives and now they trying to flee from the inexorable consequences of their diabolical actions. As Dante would have put it, that ain’t gonna happen.

“In his CNN interview, Blair candidly asks for forgiveness for his blunder in not realizing ‘what would happen once you removed the regime.’”[38]

Yes, you are forgiven, Mr. Blair. You also need to ask Rupert Murdoch for forgiveness as well for sleeping with his wife and for destroying his marriage.[39] The man gave you $100,000, but you thanked him by screwing his wife in return.[40] (Not that Murdoch hadn’t been screwing other people like Rebekah Brooks.[41]) Even when you literally got caught with your pants down, you denied the act by saying that you were trying to be “a confidante in a troubled marriage,” as the Guardian put it.[42] That’s not nice.

We should forgive Blair, but that in no way means that he shouldn’t be prosecuted for war crimes; he and Bush deserve to be behind padded cells. If he can kill thousands upon thousands of innocent lives and expect that a simple “sorry” will do, then he needs to think again. The Guardian has recently reported that our “Armed forces veterans have 50% increased risk of motor neurone disease.”[43]

Bush and Blair simply cannot say that they are not accomplices in all this. If Blair can cooperate with Bush in water-boarding alleged terrorists, then he and Bush did violate the Geneva Convention. When will those criminals be tasting some of their own medicine?

If Sarah Palin is right, that “water-boarding is how we baptize terrorists,” then she should ask the justice department to take a look at what Bush and Blair have done over the past twelve years or so.

[1] “’I’m sorry’: Historic moment Tony Blair FINALLY apologises for Iraq War and admits in TV interview the conflict caused the rise of ISIS,” Daily Mail, October 24, 2015.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Quoted in David Rose, “Neo Culpa,” Vanity Fair, November 3, 2006.

[4] For conclusive evidence, see Bugliosi, Prosecution of George W. Bush.

[5] Stephan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, America Alone: The Neo-Conservative and the Global Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 216.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Paul R. Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 27.

[9] Ibid., 32.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., 33.

[12] Ibid., 27.

[13] Ibid., 32.

[14] Ibid., 33.

[15] Ibid., 34.

[16] Ibid., 28.

[17] Ibid., 27.

[18] Thomas Powers, “The Weapons that Were Not There,” NY Times, Sept. 30, 2011.

[19] Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy, 30.

[20] Ibid., 30-31.

[21] Ibid., 31.

[22] Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy, 21.

[23] Ibid.; see also Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy, 37.

[24] Ibid., 53.

[25] Ibid., 50.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy, 37.

[28] Dick Cheney, In My Time, 402-403.

[29] Piller, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy, 37.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid., 39.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid., 41, emphasis added.

[35] Halper and Clarke, America Alone, 10.

[36] George W. Bush, Decision Points (New York: Crown Publishers, 2010), 262.

[37] Pillar, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy, 43.

[38] “’I’m sorry’: Historic moment Tony Blair FINALLY apologises for Iraq War and admits in TV interview the conflict caused the rise of ISIS,” Daily Mail, October 24, 2015.

[39] Helen Pow, “’I was shocked’: Rupert Murdoch opens up about ex-wife Wendi’s ‘love note’ to Tony Blair and the betrayal that made him file for divorce ‘as soon as I could find a lawyer,’” Daily Mail, April 10, 2014; Tim Walker, “Rupert Murdoch’s wife was ’emotionally dependent’ on Tony Blair,” The Telegraph, December 2, 2013; Ben Bryant, Anita Singh, “Rupert Murdoch in rift with Tony Blair over claims of ‘multiple’ encounters with ex-wife Wendi Deng,” The Telegraph, November 24, 2013; Simon Walters, “Wendi Deng’s ‘love note for Tony Blair’ published,” The Telegraph, February 5, 2014; “Murdoch’s feud with Blair over wife Wendi: Friendship came to ‘terminal’ end over claims of ‘multiple encounters’ between ex-PM and tycoon’s wife,” Daily Mail, Novmeber 23, 2013.

[40] Eli Clifton, “Rupert Murdoch Gave Tony Blair $100,000, Then Blair Fucked His Wife,” Gawker, February 27, 2014; for a related issue, see Geoffrey Levy, “Rebekah Brooks, the schmoozer hated by Murdoch’s wife and daughter,” Daily Mail, July 17, 2011.

[41] Nitasha Tiku, “Did Rebekah Brooks Fuck Rupert Murdoch and His Son Lachlan?,” Gawker, July 27, 2013; for related issues, see Suzanna Andres, “Untangling Rebekah Brooks,” Vanity Fair, February 2012.

[42] Michael White, “Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch: the deconstruction of a friendship,” Guardian, February 14, 2014.

[43] “Armed forces veterans have 50% increased risk of motor neurone disease,” Guardian, October 25, 2015.


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Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book Zionism vs. the West: How Talmudic Ideology is Undermining Western Culture. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.