The common claim by Blair’s supporters that Bush would have invaded Iraq whether Blair had supported the war or not was disproven by polls of Americans before the invasion, which consistently showed around 60% opposed to the US invading Iraq without the support of its allies, while 60 to 80% were in favour if allies supported or participated in the invasion (1).
Bush simply could not have got public support for an invasion if none of the US’s key allies supported the decision and none sent troops – and would practically have guaranteed himself a single term Presidency if he’d invaded without the support of the majority of Americans.
The support of the British government under Blair, the Australian government under Michael Howard, the Spanish under Aznar and the Portugese government gave Bush enough long established allies supporting the invasion to point to to get public backing.
This makes David Milliband’s recent claim that Bush was “the worst thing that ever happened to Tony Blair” even more ridiculous. British Prime Ministers do not have to do whatever whoever currently happens to be President of the United States says they should do. Blair had the choice of what to do and chose to parrot Bush and Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s lies and get British troops and Iraqi civilians killed and tortured in a war that cost many lives but saved not one. Senior Labour MPs still talking as though they must do whatever the US government tells them to do suggests any future Labour government could have all the faults Blair’s did (3).
Milliband went on to add another ridiculous claim – that the NATO intervention in Kosovo “saved a lot of lives”. In fact it involved bombing from such high altitudes that it mistakenly killed many of the Albanian refugees it was supposed to protect (4) – (6). It also involved targeting civilian targets like party headquarters, television stations and the centres of towns and bridges on market days in Serbia, killing hundreds of Serb civilians in addition (7) – (11) .
It did have one effect – while before NATO ground forces went in more Albanian civilians were being killed or forced out of their homes by Serb forces or militias than Serb civilians killed by the KLA, afterwards it was mostly Serbian civilians in Kosovo killed or ethnically cleansed by the KLA (who include plenty of terrorists, drug runners and kidnappers; and who were classified by the US state department as a terrorist organisation until shortly before the Kosovo war) (12).
When the Blairites can’t even face the truth about their past actions and their effects, how can we possibly trust their judgement to deal with current or future ones? Calling them ‘Walter Mitty types’ (their usual insult for people who disagreed with them, including Dr Kelly) would be an understatement, because Walter Mitty didn’t regularly get large numbers of people killed.
(1) = World Public Opinion ; Regional Issues ; Conflict With Iraq ; Importance of Multilateral Support, http://www.americans-world.org/digest/regional_issues/Conflict_Iraq/multilat_support.cfm
(2) = The American Presidency Project 16 Mar 2003 ‘The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso of Portugal, President Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, and Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom in the Azores, Portugal’, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=62764
(3) = ITV 4 Mar 2013 ‘David Miliband: 'Bush the worst thing to happen to Blair'’,
(5) = BBC News Online 15 Apr 1999 ‘Nato Pilot bombed refugees’ ,
Independent 17 Apr1999 ‘This atrocity is still a mystery to Nato. Perhaps I can help...’,
(7) = See (4) above
(8) = guardian.co.uk 31 May 1999 ‘Planes buzzed overhead - and then death came’,
(9) = Independent 7 Feb 2000 ‘The bloody truth of how Nato changed the rules to win a 'moral war' in Yugoslavia’,
http://www.balkanpeace.org/index.php?index=article&articleid=10344(I’m forced to use a link to another website as The Independent newspaper’s website has not kept any link to this article)
(10) = Guardian 15 Mar 2000 ‘TV's silent warning - 15 died but no apology for bombing broadcasters’,
(11) = guardian.co.uk 16 May 1999 ‘Was she a human shield or just a Nato mistake?’,
(12) = Independent 24 Nov 1999 ‘Serbs murdered by the hundred since `liberation'’,