Having focused much of Friday's blogging on Tony Blair, I took a break from that yesterday, but I followed the day's proceedings from the opening question to the final answer, and I have some thoughts about them and the reaction to them that I shall set out in a series of posts.
I think I know why Tony Blair, when invited to say what regrets he might have over the Iraq war, declined to speak of any relating to the deaths either of British soldiers or of Iraqis. I'm only guessing, but I believe he may have felt he was on a hiding to nothing with respect to the reactions to be expected from those hostile to him, the now semi-crazed liberal media in particular. Had he expressed sympathy for the bereaved, as he could have done without yielding on anything he didn’t want to yield on vis-à-vis the justification for the decision to go to war, this could have been thrown back at him as either insincere or insufficient, or else been misconstrued - deliberately or otherwise - as conceding that the decision to go to war was regretted by him and a mistake, something he evidently doesn't concede.
Yet he should have expressed his sympathy for those bereaved and should have acknowledged the tragedy of lives lost. Especially when you have ample space (as Blair did on Friday) to make careful distinctions over what you are and aren't saying, it is generally a good principle in public discussion to say sincerely what you think and where you stand, and to do it without fear of the way others will try to misconstrue your meaning. Blair could have done that. The target audience should be: fair-minded people, all those willing to listen.