Alex Massie

Blair’s Blindness on Torture

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There's lots of interesting stuff in Martin Kettle's Guardian interview with the Maximum Tone but this struck me as a telling, revealing moment:

One thing I want to say before the Guardian readership particularly is that this notion that I have ever condoned or would ever condone torture in any circumstances is complete rubbish. I totally disagree with it and I would never condone it, not in any set of circumstances. I think it is not just morally wrong. I think it is an extremely foolish and stupid way to try to gather information. I don't know where this has all come from. I don't know whether people in other countries, like the US, were doing these things. I honestly don't know. And therefore when people say "Will you condemn it?" I say I'm not going to condemn something I really don't know about.

Emphasis added. Definitions matter, of course, and I'm happy to take Blair at his word vis a vis British policy. But as far as US actions are concerned - and remember this is Blair speaking this week, not recalling what he knew in, say, 2005 - then it looks as though the former Prime Minister has chosen to remain in ignorance. Perhaps someone should give him a copy of Jane Mayer's The Dark Side?

Doubtless he has his reasons for keeping quiet. But which is worse: pretending he has no idea or actually having no idea?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticstorture