Monday, October 26, 2015

Tony Blair's "Apology" No Apology At All

Current Affairs ---


I would like to paraphrase a statement that Ludwig Wittgenstein made in the preface to his "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus". He said that anything that can be said at all can be said clearly, and that if there is something about which an individual cannot speak clearly, that individual should simply shut the fuck up. Of course, he did not use those last four words; he put it a lot more mildly, "...one must be silent." In any case, Tony Blair should simply have shut the fuck up during his interview on CNN yesterday. His "apology" was no apology at all but an insult to linguistic clarity. The question posed to him by Fareed Zakaria was, "Was the decision to enter Iraq...a mistake?" What is interesting is that from the reports given by the mainstream media you would think that the former Prime Minister was filled with contrition. Far from it. His response was the usual obfuscation that we have grown accustomed to seeing from him and the other war criminals. So, for what exactly did he "apologize"? He "apologized" for three things:

1. He apologized "for the fact that the intelligence...received was wrong..."

2. He apologized for "some mistakes in planning."

3. He apologized for "...mistakes in...understanding."

What Mr. Blair fails to understand is that his regime and the Bush regime are not being held responsible for "receiving wrong intelligence," or for making "mistakes in planning," or for making "mistakes in understanding." They are being held responsible for misleading the world by using information they knew was false to justify invading Iraq. So, what Tony Blair should have said was, "I apologize for misleading the world by presenting false information about Saddam Hussein's possession of chemical weapons. And I apologize for invading Iraq even though I knew that the information presented was false." Now that's the kind of clarity Wittgenstein was talking about.

[photo art by Ric Couchman]