Triumphant headline from the BBC: Blair accepts ‘disaster’ in Iraq. The first paragraph:
Tony Blair has publicly agreed with the opinion that the violence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion has been a disaster.
But this is one of those “all headline, no story” episodes that we often see nowadays. What happened was that Blair was being interviewed on al Jazeera by David Frost:
Mr Blair was challenged by Sir David over the violence in Iraq, saying it had “so far been pretty much of a disaster”.
It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq?
It’s not difficult because of some accident in planning.
It’s difficult because there’s a deliberate strategy – al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other – to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war.
Which is what Blair, like President Bush, has been saying for a long time. Blair didn’t say that Iraq was a mistake; or that the war has been mishandled; or that our efforts there are doomed to failure. Those are the “admissions” the BBC desperately wants to hear, and tried to suggest through its coverage of Blair’s inconsequential exchange with Frost.