In terms of sheer acting prowess, former prime minister Tony Blair leaves most of his rivals at the starting grid. In particular, how Gordon Brown must envy his smooth-tongued, charismatic predecessor.
Blair's "stage" weaponry was clearly on display at his January 29 appearance before the Chilcot enquiry. Perhaps many would have wilted before the angry mob in the public gallery, grieving parents and assassins of the press. Instead Blair had obviously modelled himself on his idols - Churchill and Thatcher. In his mind at least, I suspect, he is now one of this supposedly great "triumvirate" - a distinguished war leader willing to sacrifice the support of his natural constituency - the left-wing chattering classes - hopefully to go down in history as a principled and determined international statesman tackling psychopathic bullies.
After a slightly tentative start, we had the chance to re-familiarise ourselves with the trademark "Blairisms" - the mid-sentence pause for weight, the heartfelt sigh at key moments, the deliberate first-person stutter when he describes how "I..I had to make the final decision", the hand on his chest for added emphasis and the rise in his voice for conviction.
Note also the respectful form of address to his favoured inquisitors - Sir Martin Gilbert and Sir Lawrence Freedman - both supporters of the 2003 war. And like the quick-footed former barrister that he was, Blair was able to address (or, more accurately the panel allowed him to address) those parts of (over-long) questions with which he felt most comfortable.
To those hoping for a Frost/Nixon moment, that was never going to happen. Blair doesn't change his mind easily. After 9/11, Blair had hooked himself and the UK fair and square behind the US. Although we could infer from some of his comments that he'd hoped president Bush would engage more in the Middle East peace process, Blair was reluctant to express disappointment in the 43rd president.
I doubt that Blair's performance will have won anyone over. His detractors will continue to cite the grisly body count, Abu Ghraib and a thousand other follies perpetrated in the name of war. In particular, Blair's assertion that it was best to deal with Saddam in 2003, rather than face a (potentially) enhanced threat in 2010, sounded particularly worn. Many nasty regimes may have the desire to so hurt us but launching an all-out military invasion of another country is something else entirely. What if a disgruntled general had decided to spray a few bullets into Saddam and his ghastly sons and thus rid us of the whole rotten dynasty without the need for war?
Blair continues to tell us that he really believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction - perhaps the Iraqi dictator actually wanted the West to believe that he had them too - in an elaborate game of double bluff designed to send contradictory messages to the West and his other main enemy, Iran. Yet this huge omission of intelligence - allied to his failure to issue a quick rebuttal of the September war dossier alleging Saddam could hit the UK within 45 minutes - were a pretty threadbare basis to take us to war, a conflict that has left hundreds of thousands dead. Perhaps Blair should be forced to submit himself to a second inquisition before steadfast opponents of the war like Robert Fisk and George Galloway? Now, that would be some show!
* "Lions led by donkeys" was a phrase used to describe the (brave) British infantry in WW1 who were perceived as being commanded by incompetent leaders.
Turkey shares a long border with Iran and doesn't require Iranians to have a visa, a fact that has made Turkey the first port of call for those seeking sanctuary from what they describe as fear of persecution by Iran's government.
Sofia Echo Media is part of the Economedia Group.
The news and information content on this website is provided by our editorial team and is copyrighted.
Any unauthorised reproduction or use of it is strictly forbidden. Reproduction of this website's content is permitted only
with prior written permission from the Editor-in-Chief, should be propertly acredited and provide an active link back to our site.
Comments posted by the website's visitors are independent of the editorial materials and do not represent the views of sofiaecho.com.
Sofia Echo Media cannot be held responsible for the statements contained in visitor comments.
The percentаge change in the shares' prices are based on the price of the last transaction of the current session compared to the
price of the last transaction of the previous session. Bulgarian Stock Exchange data is not real-time, but updated every 15 minutes,
and should not be used as a basis for decisions about buying or selling stock options.