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Blair 'apology' for Iraq War

October 28, 2015

After years of stubbornly defending the illegal Iraq War, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair finally offered a half-apology.

“I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong...I can also apologize, by the way, for mistakes in planning and certainly our mistake in our understanding what would happen once you remove the regime.

While conceding the war was based on faulty intelligence and contributed to the rise of ISIS, Blair did not apologize for the million people killed or the millions more displaced.

Support war resisters

But his half-apology does add more momentum to the ongoing campaign to win refuge for US war resisters. If even Blair can admit mistakes for the Iraq War that led to a million Iraqi deaths and shattered Iraqi society, then ordinary soldiers refusing to follow those mistaken orders should not be punished.

Canada did not join the Iraq War and a majority of people across the country support US Iraq War resisters. But Harper ignored the majority, criminalized war resisters and deported them to jail in the US.

With Harper gone, there is momentum for the Liberals to finally end the discrimination against war resisters and to let them stay.

Stop war

In the CNN interview where Blair “apologized,” he also expressed the frustrations of Western powers over their interventions in the Arab world: “We have tried intervention and putting down troops, in Iraq. We’ve tried intervention without putting in troops, in Libya. And we’ve tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria. It’s not clear to me that even if our policy did not work, subsequent policies have worked better.”

None of these have worked because all of them are based on imperial intervention.

After a decade of sanctions  that killed a million Iraqis, the Iraq War killed a million more. In response to resistance that prevented the US from advancing into Syria and Iraq, the US armed sectarian death squads, paving the way for ISIS.

Real “regime change” came in the form of the Arab Spring, toppling Western-backed dictators in Egypt and Syria. But the West intervened in Libya to highjack the revolution and support former regime elements, resulting in more civil war.

Then the West repeated the process in Syria, but instead of directly bombing it used Saudi Arabia to arm sectarian groups, contributing to ISIS.

No imperial strategy can bring peace to the region. The only solution is to support popular resistance to repressive regimes, whether they are backed by the West or not, and to stop our own governments from bombing or intervening through arms.

Harper deported war resisters, sent fighter jets to Iraq and Syria and sold weapons to Saudi Arabia. To reverse Harper’s militarism we need to demand the Liberals support war resisters, bring all the troops home, and stop arming Saudi Arabia.

Visit to support US Iraq War resisters

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