Aug 26, 2021
The Stop the War coalition on Thursday invited former British Prime Minister Tony Blair--whom they called "one of the architects of the war on terror"--to a public debate on the impacts of the U.K.'s wars over the past two decades, framing such a dialogue as necessary "to help guide the foreign policy of the future."
The challenge (pdf) from the antiwar group followed an over 2,700-word essay Blair posted Saturday on his website in which he slammed U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as "tragic, dangerous, unnecessary," and an act merely "in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending 'the forever wars,' as if our engagement in 2021 was remotely comparable to our commitment 20 or even 10 years ago."
\u201c@STWUK has today written to Tony Blair, challenging him to a public debate on the situation in #Afghanistan and the wars Britain has fought in the past 20 years.\n\nWe have done so in the interests of clarity about the past and to help guide future foreign policy.\u201d— Stop the War (@Stop the War) 1629977901
In 2001, then-Prime Minister Blair led the U.K. to war in Afghanistan alongside U.S. President George W. Bush. In 2003, he backed the Bush-led U.S. invasion of Iraq. Blair also called for British military intervention in Syria.
Stop the War said in their letter to Blair that "the death and destruction caused by the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the attacks on Syria and Libya was catastrophic in itself and that, far from having a humanitarian impact, these interventions have served to make the world a much more dangerous and unstable place."
"This is not just a quetion of the interrpetation of history," the group continued. "The lessons learnt or not learnt from these wars will have a real impact on the future of our foreign policy."
In contrast to Blair's "continued emphasis on military intervention" to solve global problems, the peace group's letter advocates bringing an "end to the wars" by deploying a "foreign policy based on international cooperation, diplomacy, and negotiation."
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan also responded to Blair's essay, tweeting Saturday, "Weird Blair said so many words when he could have just said 'SORRY!'"
In a minute-long rant on his show Sunday, Hasan suggested that was the only word proponents of the war in Afghanistan, including ex-government officials, should utter in reaction to the ongoing U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
\u201c.@jeremycorbyn, who opposed the Afghanistan war in 2001, says Tony Blair and George W. Bush "took us into a war that made no sense whatsoever" and exacerbated many of the problems there. "All the worst predictions that any of us ever made have all come to pass."\u201d— Democracy Now! (@Democracy Now!) 1629983719
Speaking on Democracy Now! Thursday, British MP Jeremy Corbyn, former chair of the Stop the War coalition, also offered a critical response to comments from Blair.
Along with George W. Bush, Blair "took us into a war that made no sense whatsoever," said Corbyn, lamenting that "all the worst predictions that any of us ever made have all come to pass."
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