What Is Right For The Country…
“But I ask you to accept one thing. Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right. I may have been wrong. That’s your call. But believe one thing if nothing else. I did what I thought was right for our country.”
These were the words of Tony Blair in his speech today, announcing that he is stepping down as the UK’s Prime Minister on the 27th of June. No doubt these words are a great comfort to the millions dead or displaced in Iraq, and all the armed forces and their relatives who have also suffered in Iraq.
These words also, might have been the words of David Keogh and Leo O’Connor, who have just recently been found guilty of breaching the Official Secret’s Act. David Keogh, a civil servant, thought he was doing the “right thing” when he leaked a copy of a secret memo detailing talks between Blair and George W Bush about the war in Iraq to Mr O’Connor, a researcher for the Labour MP Anthony Clarke. Mr Keogh had hoped details of the memo would make it into the public domain in order to help expose Bush as a “madman”. It has been suggested that the memo details Bush’s enthusiasm for bombing the offices of Al Jazeera, which would be proof of a pre-meditated war-crime.
You’d think, considering everything, it would be Keogh and O’Connor who would be getting the plaudits for doing what they “thought best for the country”. But no, for trying to expose the genocidal and murderous impulses of those waging war in the name of our “great nation”, they are to be imprisoned. They have been found guilty of trying to do “the right thing for the country”. The Prosecution argued that –
“the unauthorised disclosure of information in this case is likely to prejudice the capability of the armed forces either to carry out their tasks or lead to the loss of life or the possibility of loss of life or injury.”
In this crazed through-the-looking-glass world we live in, it is Blair getting the applause, for doing what he ‘thought’ was right. Somehow his actions did not “lead to the loss of life or the possibility of loss of life or injury”.
He stood shoulder to shoulder with Bush, and invaded a sovereign nation illegally, against the wishes of hundreds of millions around the world, and Iraq has paid a terrible price for this decision. Hundreds of thousands are dead and continue to die, and the Middle East is more inflamed than it has been in decades. Yet Blair can go at the time of his on choosing, paying no penalty for his decisions, while being cheered to the rafters by his sycophantic supporters.
Blair’s mea culpa – “I did what I thought right” – would probably find an echo with the Stalins, Hitlers, Pinochets, and Pol Pots of this world. He is hardly going to say anything else now, is he?
And so, as Keogh and O’Connor slip into their jail cells, Blair heads into the sunset. Three men bound by a war and the decisions of their conscience. Doesn’t seem right, does it?
No wonder Blair thinks this is a “great country”! It is, quite literally, the one that has let him away with murder.
Blair speech in full – http://politics.guardian.co.uk/tonyblair/story/0,,2076754,00.html
Keogh, O’Connor case – http://politics.guardian.co.uk/media/story/0,,2075820,00.html