Boris: Blair Harms the Interventionist Cause by Defending 2003 Iraq Invasion
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has accused Tony Blair of having “finally gone mad” after he claimed that the current situation in Iraq was nothing to do with the 2003 invasion. He also said that Blair should “put a sock in it” for claiming that Iraq’s problems were caused by the Wests failure to intervene in Syria.
Johnson used his regular column in the Daily Telegraph to attack Blair’s claims that he was not to blame for recent events in the Middle East. "Somebody needs to get on to Tony Blair and tell him to put a sock in it, or at least to accept the reality of the disaster he helped to engender. Then he might be worth hearing," Mr Johnson said.
"I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help."
The Mayor of London goes on to claim that Tony Blair and George W Bush had shown "unbelievable arrogance" in believing that toppling Saddam Hussein would not result in instability. Johnson also said that the former Prime Minister had sent British troops into Iraq to gain personal "grandeur".
He suggested there are actions that the West could take to improve the situation in Iraq but without admitting that the 2003 invasion has been "a tragic mistake" Blair was "undermining the very cause he advocates: the possibility of serious and effective intervention".
Johnson’s attack came in response to a series of comments by Mr Blair over the weekend in which he blamed the Iraq situation on the West's unwillingness to use military force to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
Mr Blair told Sky News: "Some people will say 'well if we hadn't removed Saddam in 2003 we wouldn't have the problem today in Iraq and the reason I think that is profoundly mistaken is this: since 2011 there have been these Arab revolutions sweeping across the whole of the region - Tunisa, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, next door to Iraq in Syria - and we can see what would have happened if we left Saddam there in 2003.
"We have left Bashar Assad in Syria. The result is that there have now in the last three years in Syria been virtually the same number of people killed in Syria as in the whole of Iraq. You have had nine million people displaced from Syria, you have chaos and instability being pushed across the region."
UKIP leader Nigel Farage also dismissed Mr Blair. claiming he was an "embarrassment" who should hold his tongue. He also repeated his demand for "an end to the era of military intervention abroad".
Tony Blair has been back in the spotlight recently with friends and supporters claiming that he wants to get back into British public life. His former Home Secretary Charles Clarke described the situation as “tragic”, because Mr Blair was young enough to remain in politics but there was no role for him.
After leaving office he did embark on a successful business career and was a peace envoy to the Middle East but his intervention in the debate on what to do in Iraq is evidence that he still feels he ought to have some sort of input in British government policy.