Damning new revelations published today (Sun) expose the extraordinary
extent of the deception perpetrated by former Labour Prime Minister
Tony Blair in his planning for the illegal invasion of Iraq, SNP
Leader and First Minister Alex Salmond said today.

As the tenth anniversary of the invasion approaches, today’s Sunday
Telegraph quotes senior White House staff who worked for George W Bush
confirming that they had viewed it as a certainty that Mr Blair would
back any US-led invasion, long before he publicly committed the UK to
taking part.

The former Labour PM, who also this week made a cack-handed
intervention into the debate on Scotland’s future, made clear his
unwavering support for US policy nearly a year before the invasion,
after a visit to the former president’s personal ranch in Texas.

Sir Christopher Meyer, the UK ambassador to Washington prior to the
war, said that Mr Blair’s mistakes on Iraq flowed from a “black and
white” world view that was “more evangelical than the American
Christian Right”.

The First Minister said that the legacy of Blair’s actions was a
“poisoning of the atmosphere” in global politics resulting from the
decision to go to war on a false prospectus.

Alex Salmond said:

“The illegal invasion of Iraq has been unequivocally proven as a fraud
and a massive deception by Tony Blair and the then UK Labour

“Blair was committed to sending troops into a bloody war regardless of
evidence – or indeed lack of evidence – of weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, and today’s revelations are utterly damning in that respect.

“Many tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilian lives have been
needlessly lost and hundreds of service personal from the UK,
including many young Scots, have tragically perished too or have been
horrifically maimed because of Blair’s determination to back George W
Bush come what may.

“The result of Tony Blair’s blind commitment to going to war on Iraq
is a poisoning of the atmosphere in global politics which remains

“Blair’s catastrophic toxic legacy is still with us – and threatens to
remain with us for years to come."

Following on from the damning revelations that Mr Blair went to war in
Iraq without evidence, cause or due preparation, the SNP Leader added:

“The lack of opposition to the war in Iraq at Westminster was
disturbing. The SNP and principled voices from other parties warned
against the invasion at the time – but the Tories’ commitment to
Blair’s war was as explicit as it was wrong, and they utterly failed
in their duty as the principal party of opposition in the Commons.

“One of the key lessons of the Iraq war is the need for all nations,
large and small, to conduct international affairs as cooperatively as
possible, paying due heed to the authority of the United Nations and
acting as good global citizens rather than engaging in reckless
military adventures with incalculable human and material costs.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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