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Chilcot: Where's the justice? Why can't Blair and Straw face trial for war crimes?

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 6 July 2016

British Squaddies continue to face trial for war crimes where individuals or a few folks died. Yet hundreds of thousands have perished as a result of the war the UK and US launched against Saddam Hussein. And the Chilcot report makes it clear today that Tony Blair was a key architect of that war, urging on George Bush to invade with British involvment, for two years before the troops actually went in. It makes it clear that Blair, at best dissembled, and at worst lied to Parliament and to the Attorney General as well as to the Britsh People to get us into that war.

Jack Straw is also exposed as having suppressed one report and sexed up others in order to get us into war. The truth was a casualty of his campaign to start a war for which there can be no justification at all.

If I were a juror and was asked did these two men take actions which caused their country to enter an illegal war, an illegal invasion of another sovereign nation I would - on the basis of what appears in Chilcot - find both men guilty without hesitating for a second.

That makes me unsuitable to be such a juror but there must be twelve folks out there who do have an open mind and who should be asked to make such a decision. Or perhaps it should be down to the judges at the Hague at the International War Crimes tribunal

Blair and Straw should have their opportunity to put a defence in full. However, having allowed Saddam to hang after putting him on trial how can we expect the Moslem world to think that we in the West are any better than men like Saddam, Libya's Gadaffi or the butchers of ISIS if we do not make Sraw and Blair face justice too. Surely the evidence is strong enough to justify a trial?

I am prepared to concede that having to wake up next to Cherie every morning means that Blair has already served a life sentence of sorts. But it is not the sentence here that matters it is the nature off the alleged crime and the need for there to be seen to be a full and fair trial.

As the next Squaddie prepares to go into the dock for what he did in Iraq, how can we stand by and allow Blair and Straw to escape the same fate?

I expect that Blair and Straw will evade the unpleasantness of a trial of any sort. The establishment will look after its own. Sod the Squaddies as they are just members of the working classes they can be thrown to the wolves, it will be different for Tony and Jack. They'll be alright.

On this issue I suspect that, for once, my views chime with those of nearly everyone in Britain. If the families of some of the 179 soldiers who died in Iraq or some of the 3000 servicemen and servicewomen who have been maimed opt to seek private prosecutions against Blair and Straw I pray they win, bankrupt both men and destroy the remainder of their lives. As they seek justice and retribution, the families will have my support both financially and as a writer.  

I hope that the rest of us shun not only Blair and Straw but also their wider families who have embedded themselves as part of the new rich, part of the powerful political elite, the new establishment. The wider families can disown their husbands and fathers or be cast into the wilderness by society as a whole.

We the people should not allow war criminals to escape justice simply because they were such powerful men. If anything that makes the need to prosecute even more compelling. WE the people taught the establishment a loesson on June 23rd, we should keep up the pressure. 

maybe then the establishment might stop protecting its own, do the decent thing and put both Tony Blair and Jack Staw in a prison cell until they face a full trial. 

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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