Tony Blair, Conservative Mole

by Kevin Jon Heller

Is there a war that harmed his party that Tony Blair doesn’t support?

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday that going to war over the Falklands Islands against Argentina 25 years ago was the “right thing to do.”

Blair praised the “political courage” shown by former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in assembling a task force to fight a war with Argentina over the disputed islands in 1982.

“I have got no doubt it was the right thing to do … for reasons not simply to do with British sovereignty but also because I think there was a principle at stake, which is that … a land shouldn’t be annexed in that way and people shouldn’t be put under a different rule in that way,” said Blair.

“When you look back on it and you talk to the people who were there at the time – and as I say I wasn’t even in Parliament at the time – I think it took a lot of political courage actually to do that,” he added.

Next week: Blair explains why Britain was right about the Revolutionary War, the Anglo-Zulu War, and the firebombing of Dresden.

15 Responses

  1. Hmmm… perhaps I’m missing context, but what precisely is your objection to the Faulkland war?

  2. Puzzled about possible objections to the Fauklands War?

    Not to preempt Kevin in any way, but may I suggest one: It was completely unnecsessary.


  3. Why was it unnecessary? Argentina invaded British territory and so the British reaction was to exercise legitimate self defence under international law.

  4. The overwhelming majority of Falklanders – at that time and even more so now that they have been granted full citizenship – considered themselves British so it was a bit of a no brainer that UK troops would protect it after the Argentian invasion. The war was unnecessary, yes, in that it was merely used by the then argentian military dictatorship as a diversionary tactic from domestic problems. The British defence was hardly unncessary though to the English speaking falklanders who really didn’t want to be under Argentinian rule.

    Thatcher has a lot to answer for (the miners, northern ireland, poll tax), but the Falklands can hardly be compared to the bobming of Dresden.

  5. As an Argentine, I applaud Mrs Thatcher courage in facing Argentine fascist aggression. Bravo, once again, for Tony Blair.

  6. For the record, I don’t have a problem with the Falklands war. I have a problem with Blair’s willingness to destroy Labor by supporting wars that contradict all of his party’s most cherished principles — see, e.g., the war in Iraq. I used to believe that Blair had just been taken in by the Bush administration’s lies. But now that I see him bending over backwards to praise the awful Thatcher, I think he must have some deep-rooted psychosocial need to make himself look tough — no matter what the cost. That’s sad, because I liked him very much when he first became PM.

  7. Please, Kevin, for the love of God, stop digging. Your hole is deep enough already.

    Britain’s response to provocation in the Falklands by the Argentine generals was appropriate, legally and morally.

    Your comparing that conflict to the fire-bombing of Dresden, even in an attempt to be humorous, was inappropriate.

  8. I’m no big fan of Blair but I don’t see how his support for the Falklands ‘contradict(s) all of his party’s most cherished principles’ whenever the majority of the Labour Party at the time of the war (only 33 broke the party whip and voted against) supported it. Even Michael Foot, an acknowledged pacifist, was broadly supportive of it.

    Iraq was morally and legally unjustified. No doubt about it. But I think to link the Falklands and Iraq in order to castigate Blair is aomething of a mistake.

  9. BloggyBwana,

    My hole is deep enough already? Why, because you misread — intentionally or unintentionally — what I wrote? I said very clearly that my problem is not with the Falklands war, but with Blair’s pointless need to praise Thatcher. And I never compared the Falklands war to the fire-bombing of Dresden. As is stunningly obvious from the post, I was simply listing other British attacks — some more questionable than others — that Blair might want to retroactively endorse in order to burnish his tough-guy credentials. For God’s sake, learn to take a joke.

  10. Is Blair really praising Thatcher or just legitimising a policy that Labour supported 25 years ago? Thatcher’s ‘political courage’ was afterall shared by the labour party of the time. Not to praise her in this instance would be to cast doubt upon the efficacy of Labour policy of that era which was ostensibly to support the war.

  11. Stephanie,

    If the Conservatives and Labour both believed that the Faulklands war was necessary, Thatcher’s decision to wage it was obviously not “politically courageous.” So what could have motivated Blair to single her out for praise other than a desire to either look tough or endear himself to the Conservatives? Why not simply say “both Labor and the Conservatives agreed that there was an important principal at stake that justified the war?

  12. One question: why on earth would an outgoing labour pm wish to ‘endear’ himself to the conservatives?

  13. In addition, despite the legal and moral rectitude of the falklands war, the decision was ‘courageous’ in the sense that had UK forces been defeated, it is likely that the decision to go to war would have reflected badly upon Thatcher. With a general election looming, the decision would have been a difficult one to take. Im not supporting Blair or Thatcher but I think you are picking on a statement which does not reflect badly upon Blair, regardless of what you think about his other actions.

    A final point relates to your statement with regard to Blair wanting to appear ‘tough.’ If this is uppermost in his mind as his premiership comes to an end, why the concilatory approach to the Northern irish situation? And why the recent statements from Downing Street to the effect that a war with Iran would be ‘wrong.’

  14. And my very final point – Thatcher rejected the advice of her officials in initially deciding to go to war. They had advised her against defending the Falklands. While the House of Commons later validated her decision – surely her initial action in ignoring such advice and opting for the morally right option is to be commended, at the very least, as ‘courageous.’

    If anyone is interested, you can find a full pod cast of Tony Blair’ interview (therefore putting his remarks in context) here

  15. Kevin, the reason that I (and perhaps others) responded to your short item was that your criticism of Blair seemed to trivialize important current issues by manufacturing a dispute on his Falklands statement.

    If Blair’s defense of the Thatcher government’s military involvement in the Falklands conflict is so objectionable to you, it’s not clear to me what conduct you would have preferred.

    Shouldn’t our expectation be that leaders in a democracy take public positions based on what’s right, and not what’s useful in a partisan political sense?

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