While he was gathering support for Bush's bombardment of the Afghani people, he stressed that Iraq would be attacked only if evidence of its participation in September 11th was proven. None was forthcoming. Then it was war would occur if Iraq refused to let weapons inspectors in. They did. Then war would result if the weapons inspectors were hindered. The weapons inspectors reported progress. Then war would only occur if a second UN resolution was passed. There is no such resolution. And we are now going to war. Who is he trying to kid?
This shoddy display of, at best, indecisiveness, at worse, deceit, has been labelled an expression of "leadership qualities" by some, particularly in the media. This fawning of a "leader" intent on bulldozing his country into a war it does not want is incredible. To see why, to get a taste of Blair's dishonesty, we can look at his performance against Paxman and compare it to what happened next.
A few months ago Blair was at pains to stress the importance of a Second UN resolution. He stated plainly that "you can't just do it with America, you have to get a majority in the security council." Apparently you can, although Blair seems incapable of explaining why yesterday's impossibility becomes today's necessity. The question of a veto was dismissed, as this would not "arise unless you get a majority in the security council." Obviously Blair and Bush could not get their majority and so the veto is used as to obscure the fact that they are now flouting the will of the UN.
Blair was keen to stress that they had "put in that Resolution  that there will be a further discussion in the security council" before action was decided. This second resolution was considered a necessity, with the now ignored weapons inspectors being the key: "I think that we will, if the inspectors do end up in a situation where they're saying there is not compliance by Iraq then I think a second resolution will issue." Ironically, he constantly reiterated the importance of the weapons inspectors. Asked by Paxman "And who are we to say it's 'unreasonable' as you put it?" Blair answered: "You say that, if in circumstances where the inspectors - not us - have come back to the UN and said we can't do our job." The inspectors are saying they can do their job. It seems that because they reported progress and asked for more time, Blair is now ignoring them.
Blair agreed that "most of Britain don't want us to act alone without the United Nations" and argued that he would get the second resolution. "We mustn't go against the UN resolution," he stated. Now Blair is blaming the French government for upholding the position he once claimed to hold. As for the veto threat, Blair argued then that if "everyone else wished to take action" and "one of them put down a veto" then this would be "unreasonable." Clearly, "everyone else" did not wish to take action, in spite of the Bush Junta's arm twisting and bribing. Now it is "everyone else" who are "unreasonable."
But that was then. Today we have Jack Straw arguing that the UK must ignore the UN in order that "the essential authority of the UN will be upheld." Now we have ministers telling us that France is to blame for military action, asking us to forget that this once essential second resolution was a mandate for war, not peace.
Orwell would not be surprised at these amazing pieces of doublethink.