I was watching the Andrew Marr show when Alistair Campbell broke down, apparently overcome that anybody could doubt the integrity of Tony Blair.
A minute later Andrew Marr asked him if he were not troubled by the 800.000 deaths following the invasion of Iraq, and Campbell snapped back:
“You can’t prove that”.
It was a very revealing riposte. Not only did it contradict the tearful innocent demeanour, it revealed the mindset of the guilty. Innocent people in the throes of deep emotion shout out “That’s not true”. They don’t shout out “You can’t prove that”.
“You can’t prove that” is the riposte of the criminal who thinks he is too clever to be caught. It actually answered the question perfectly – no, Campbell never thinks about the Iraqis whose deaths he helped to cause.
Marr’s estimate was pretty conservative, but that’s not the point. The point is that Campbell was intimately involved in the policy decision not to estimate or comment upon any estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq, precisely to give the “You can’t prove that” defence.
Marr’s question was exactly the one the Chilcot committee failed to ask Blair. They allowed him to witter on about how much better Iraq is now than it was under Saddam. Nobody asked if it was better for the million dead, the four million maimed, the four million refugees, the tens of thousands of new babies with birth defects.
Blair was allowed to get away with a whole stream of top end estimates of Saddam’s atrocities using the phrade “On some accounts”. “On some accounts” 50,000 were gassed, “on some accounts” 1 million Iraqis died in the Iran Iraq war.
Nobody put it to Blair that “On some accounts” 1.4 million died as a result of the invasion he launched on a basis of lies.
One day, perhaps Alistair Campbell can try the waterworks technique on the judges in the Hague.