Today has seen an excellent article in The Guardian (http://tinyurl.com/yuhq4m) which states: “the outrage expressed by ministers and leader writers is curious given the recent record of the "coalition of the willing" on the way it deals with prisoners.”
There followed a lively debate on the paper’s CiF blog. Most posters agreed with the writer as I did - I posted my blog of 26 March (http://tinyurl.com/yolbet). A significant number , however, rejected the view that Blair had lost the high ground because of his record in taking the UK into an illegal war and not speaking out against human rights abuses. They claimed that there was no equivalence between the innocent 15 in Iran and those in Guantanamo or those subjected to rendition flights and subsequent “questioning”.
The issue of equivalence (or not) is irrelevant to my case. Whatever our 15 in captivity have done or not done is irrelevant. Our leaders knew (or should have known) that an incident such as this could happen and that taking military action against whoever was involved was a non-starter. Therefore, having the moral and legal high ground would be crucial.
Blair lost this when he ”.… 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.”
This is key: the loss of the legal and moral superiority.
Blair lost this superiority – no-one else.
Blair is responsible for this loss – no-one else
Blair has reduced his, and the government’s, ability to resolve the situation.
The Iranians have done the capturing but we, because of Blair, are unable to respond in the most appropriate way.
Whatever the Iranians do - whether it be legal or illegal, moral or immoral - Blair has willingly lost the ability to impose the maximum pressure.
He acts as though he has that power but there’s little there.This is one of the tragedies of the Blair era.