New blog to watch

Why does even Tony Blair belittle the liberation of Iraq?

Free Frank Warner, a blog I’ve never come across before has an interesting post on Tony Blair’s March 5 speech.

He notes that Tony Blair is sticking to the WMD and UN resolution justification, and doesn’t say that the atrocities committed by the Baathist regime against the Iraqi people were justification enough.

The U.N. Security Council in 1991 had found Saddam’s record so remarkably bloody and irresponsible that he had to stop mistreating his people, or else.

So why did, and why does, Blair not include the end of Saddam’s internal atrocities as a central basis for ousting that awful regime?

Blair’s flight from the moral high ground of liberation is mystifying.

Although he brings up some interesting points, I don’t really see Blair’s position as “flight from the moral high ground”. Instead, I see Blair sticking with his pre-war justifications, and making the case that they were sufficient.

We didn’t go to war with Nazi Germany to prevent the slaughter of the Jews. Even after that horror became public knowledge, we didn’t present it as a primary reason for war against Germany. We stopped the genocide, eventually. But we wouldn’t be right to say today that doing so was our reason for war in Europe.

I believe that the humanitarian crisis in Iraq might have been justification for war by itself. And the issue was brought up by leaders of the coalition of the willing. I don’t think that Bush is wrong to point out the evils of Saddam against his own people, and I don’t think he’s wrong for claiming credit for stopping it. But the fact is that neither Bush nor Blair gave the Baathist atrocities as a primary reason for war. Bush too often dodges the WMD issue while Blair faces it.

Although the case of Iraqi WMD was obviously overstated, I think a great deal of that has to do with the Iraqi government. They bluffed and they bluffed. 9/11 changed the world, and they continued to bluff.

Bush and Blair called them on it.

I think the reasons given before the war still stand up. I know that the reasons that made me think regime change was the right course continue to be valid even in the absence of Iraqi WMD. I think Blair is taking the correct approach. I don’t think he’s flying from the moral high ground.

All that being said, Free Frank Warner seems to have quite a bit of good material. I’ll be keeping an eye on him.


  1. In President Bush’s Sept. 12, 2002, speech to the United Nations, Resolution 688 was the first U.N. resolution he cited as evidence that Saddam Hussein was an international outlaw. That was the resolution ordering Saddam to stop repressing the Iraqi people. And when the Security Council adopted U.N. Resolution 1441 on Nov. 8, 2002, that new resolution cited Resolution 688 as one of several U.N. orders Saddam had failed to comply with. The point is, the removal of Saddam’s regime was justified on several grounds, including Saddam’s failure to stop repressing his people, his failure to comply with other terms of the 1991 cease-fire, and his failure to cooperate fully with U.N. weapons inspectors. And each of these failures is listed in Resolution 1441. To me personally, freeing Iraq from a fascist dictatorship and giving that nation a chance for democracy were reasons enough to take Baghdad from the Baathists. But this wasn’t simply my personal preference. These reasons were written into international law, from the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 to Resolution 1441. And so I was not surprised at all one year ago when Bush labeled the invasion Operation Iraqi Freedom, rather than Operation Find-the-WMDs