As The Guardian editorial says today, ‘The judgment of those who took to the streets against the rush to war only looks wiser.’ Of course there is no joy in being right when the outcome was a desperate tragedy for so many people – and continues to this day.
But one would like to think that those who took us into that illegal and immoral war, and those who supported it, will have fundamentally rethought their approach and now recognise that a position based on ‘paying the blood price’ – as Tony Blair said – can never be the answer to human problems.
Those millions of us that opposed that war, and marched ten years ago today, have our many memories. For me, it was an extraordinary day, in which the popular will was made manifest. I was both humbled and proud. The scale of the mobilisation surprised even those of us who organised it, even though we had reports in advance of the numbers of coaches and trains booked from every part of the country. The mass of people there was a true cross-section of society, and a true indication of the real breadth of the anti-war movement. All of life was there – all of life, that is, that wanted an end to lies, that wanted to prevent a barbarous war.
To his eternal shame, Tony Blair ignored our message. He persisted in his claims about the imminent danger presented by Iraq and about the evidence of Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction. Blair lied, and thousands died, as the slogan goes, yet he has consistently dodged responsibility for the trumped-up charges and the illegal war; we have seen a number of inquiries that have passed the buck away from him. But he cannot escape from the consequences of his actions: he is pursued by protestors who will not let his guilt be washed away by time. Let us pledge today that we will not allow the political rehabilitation of Tony Blair: his lies – and their consequences – have been too great.