Blair finally broke cover and spoke on the UK soldiers - Iran crisis. He is quoted in today’s Guardian (Mon 26 March 07, http://tinyurl.com/2gb6lc) as saying:
“"I hope the Iranian government understands how fundamental an issue this is for us," …….... "They should not be under any doubt at all about how seriously we regard this act, which was unjustified and wrong."
Let us assume, initially, that the British soldiers were in Iraqi waters. Blair is saying the right words with the right force and seriousness but yet there’s something lacking.
Blair is trying to use moral and legal power to show the Iranians how seriously we regard their unprovoked act and how right and just is the British case. Blair and the UK government should have the high ground in moral and legal terms but they don’t.
Blair lied to get us to support war against Iraq – an illegal war; he could only describe Guantanamo as an “anomaly” despite the degradation and torture of inmates; he accepted the landing of rendition flights in the UK. He has supported the flouting of international law. Through him, the UK has flouted international law. Through his despicable actions he has lost the moral and legal authority to stand up to illegal acts.
Now when he should be able to demand that international law be followed, he has only bluster, weakness and hypocrisy on his side. He can talk only as a hypocrite - a hypocrite who supports the law when it suits his narrow purpose. His hypocrisy shines like a beacon of despair.
If the British soldiers were in Iranian waters – even if in error - then their position is much worse. But here again the UK’s weakness is the legacy of Blair’s hypocrisy. As upholders of international law and human rights we might have had some credibility in asking for the soldiers’ release but Blair’s fragrant breaches have removed this possibility.
All that is left for Blair is bluster. Again, not the correct approach. He should be quiet and let others work away in the background and he should hope that they can get the soldiers out of a hole of Blair's making.
Here we see Blair’s true legacy: a leader and government devoid of any moral, legal or political authority to defend its own citizens. His disregard for the rights of others has been brought home to his own doorstep.