Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Chilcot: Deceit and lies revealed?

Chilcot has reported and the facts are laid bare.  The headlines don't tell us anything that we didn't know already but the detail within the report is damning.

It would be too easy to use the report as an example of failure in numerous fields from robustness of data to strategic planning.  Now is not the time - perhaps in a few months that can be considered and similarities made with business operations.  For now I want to focus on one thing and that is Tony Blair's insistence that he took the right decision.

Not that the decision was based on flawed information, which is how so many commentators are looking at it, but to his state of mind.

It must be a terrible burden to know that your decision resulted in the death of thousands, tens of thousand of people.  It must be appalling to know that your decision has ruined hundreds of thousands of other lives around the world.  How then do you protect yourself from the terror of taking that decision?  How do you protect your sanity?

You do what Tony Blair has done.  Express remorse and sorrow for the result arising from the decision but stick fast to the mantra that it was the right one.  To admit it was the wrong one opens the door to unthinkable despair.

We can only speculate on his motivations for taking the decision he took.  Whether it was ego driven or not; whether it was a fundamentalist view of justice and retribution or not; whether it was an overwhelming fear of slaughter in his homeland or not.  Perhaps he has pondered for himself on those motivations.  If he has then his unconscious mind would protect him by convincing him that it was done for positive intent.

Has he lied?  Do we lie to ourselves when we take decisions?  Do we deceive ourselves to protect ourselves? To some extent I would say yes.  There are decisions taken which, on reflection we know were wrong.  Depending on the scale of that decision we either shrug it off on the one hand or gradually persuade ourselves that we couldn't have done anything else on the other.  

Fortunately we are not in a position where our decisions have the enormously negative impact on so many individuals as Iraq and I for one am thankful for that.  Tony Blair was, and there is only one way that he can survive.

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