Category Archive 'Tony Blair'

16 Jun 2014

The Tragedy Wasn’t Invading Iraq, It Was Not Finishing the Job

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Omdurman
Battle of Omdurman, 2 September 1898.

I had words on Facebook with James Delingpole this morning, consisting of my dissenting from his agreement with Boris Johnson’s Telegraph editorial echoing the left-wing perspective that it was the removal of Saddam Hussein from power by a coalition of 49 countries led by the United States in 2003 which, eleven years later, is the cause of the latest outbreak of barbarians in that part of the world.

Boris the blonde (who obviously devoted his time at Oxford to partying and up-sucking, rather than critical reflection) faithfully parrots the international community of fashion’s articles of faith.

The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next. As one senior British general has put it to me, “we snipped the spinal cord” without any plan to replace it. There are more than 100,000 dead Iraqis who would be alive today if we had not gone in and created the conditions for such a conflict, to say nothing of the troops from America, Britain and other countries who have lost their lives in the shambles.

No, Boris, your “more than 100,000 dead Iraqis” figure is only a supposititious estimate cooked up for propagandistic purposes, and whatever quantity of Iraqis wound up as casualties in the course of opposing Coalition military operations or as incidental collateral damage was obviously not the fault of George W. Bush (or Tony Blair), but their own fault and the fault of Saddam Hussein and the rest of the Nationalist-Socialist leadership of that country which chose to adopt an extraordinarily belligerent and anti-Western posture and which defiantly undertook to violate an existing armistice agreement.

It is, moreover, obviously totally impossible to tell today just which and how many Iraqis might still be alive, absent the 2003 and invasion and the removal of that regime from power. Possibly some even greater number of Iraqis might have died at the hands of their own regime, in another major war instigated by Saddam, or via American retaliatory strikes after WMDs provided by Saddam’s regime to non-state jihadi actors were used to kill massive numbers of innocent Western civilians.

Many of the same countries participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq previously participated in the 1944 invasion of Normandy aimed that the “destruction of institutions of authority” and “snip[ping] the spinal cord” of a highly similar regime to that of Saddam’s, erected in point of fact on the same foundation principles of (aggrieved) Nationalism and (militarist and despotic) Socialism. No one sheds a tear for the far more than 100,000 Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and other Europeans slain in the course of opposing that coalition, nor for the many hundreds of thousands of civilians at that time intentionally targeted as the objects of strategic bombing.

The real differences, of course, reside in the much larger scale of WWII casualties and destruction, and in the thorough and completely ruthless post-war de-Nazification of the enemy.

The real tragedy in Iraq is that coalition efforts at regime change were too limited and piecemeal, too half-hearted and too confused in purpose. The WWII allies reduced their opponents to prostration and unconditional surrender, then occupied and ruled them for years, completely and fundamentally liberalizing, democratizing, and remodeling their cultures along our own lines. We attempted no such thing in Iraq, instead deluding ourselves with fantasies of being welcomed as liberators by friendly natives and trusting that the gift of democracy would in itself suffice to convert murderous and bigoted Mussulmen into bourgeois liberals.

It only required the setback of an unexpected Insurgency to unleash the hounds of treason and pacifism throughout Western intelligentsia circles. George W. Bush and his coalition allies found themselves far more effectively under attack from behind in the Times, the Post, and the Guardian than they ever were in Fallujah or Ramadi.

Boris Johnson would be right if he had attacked George W. Bush and Tony Blair for failing to put domestic traitors behind barbed wire and for not finishing the job, but when he accuses them of destroying some kind of legitimate authority or when he implies that Iraq would be better off under Saddam, he is just being a conformist tool and a complete ass.

23 May 2011

O’Bama Visiting Ireland

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President Obama is stopping in Ireland in the course of four-country European jaunt to visit his maternal roots.

CNN:

In Ireland, Obama plans to visit the Irish village of Moneygall, population 300, which claims to be the birthplace of one of his great-great-great grandfathers.

Henry Healy, one of Moneygall’s many residents claiming to be a distant relative of America’s first African-American president, hopes to hoist a beer with the town’s favorite son.

“We knew that the president had interest in his Irish roots,” Healy said. “He expressed while he was seeking the Democratic nomination that he did want to visit the little village in Ireland and have a pint.”

Situated in central Ireland between Dublin and Limerick, Moneygall has undergone a patriotic facelift. With American flags hanging in front of homes and stores, Obama might feel like he’s visiting a small town in the U.S. on the Fourth of July.

Genealogists at Ancestry.com first shed light on Obama’s Irish roots when he was campaigning for the presidency. They traced his Irish ancestry several generations to a fellow by the name of Fulmoth Kearney, the president’s great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side, who immigrated from Moneygall to Ohio in 1850.

Maybe it was that “luck o’ the Irish” — or perhaps support from some of the 40 million Irish-Americans — that helped Obama win the presidential nomination.

“It never hurts to be a little Irish when you’re running for the presidency of the United States of America,” Obama joked during a campaign stop in 2008.

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James Delingpole is derisive on the identity antics of this kind. Tony Blair evidently used to do it, too.

Ah Bejaysus and Begorrah! Oi’ll be swearin’ boi the auld shrine to the Vorgin with the shamrocks growin’ round it next to the hill where Cuchullain slew the Great Leprechaun of Kildare on St Patrick’s Day that Barack Seamus O’Toole Flaherty Joyce O’Bama is the most Irish US president that ever set foot on the Emerald Oisle, so he is, so he is.

Except, when he’s in Africa, of course, when he disappears into the dry ice and re-emerges with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose and declares himself to be Mandingo, Prince of the Bloodline of the Bonga People, Drinker of Cattle Urine, Father of A Thousand Warrior Sons, Keeper of King Solomon’s Mines, Barehanded Slayer of Lions, Undaunted Victim of the Evil Colonial British Empire.

And in the Middle East, where he is Al-Barak Hussein Obama, Protector of the Holy Shrine, Smiter of the Kuffar, Lion of the Desert, Tent-Loving-Aficionado-of-the-Oversweetened-Coffee, Chomper of Sheeps’ Eyeballs, Restorer of the Caliphate.

Etc.

Tony Blair used to do this trick too, his accent mutating from broad Glaswegian to genteel Edinburgh to Mummerset to Estuary to Richard E Grant to Sarf London Grime – often in the course of one Downing Street reception – the better to persuade his target audience that he was their kind of guy. And it is, of course, the hallmark of an unutterable charlatan

01 Sep 2010

Tony Blair Says He Intentionally Sabotaged the Hunt Ban

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The Tory Party has promised to allow a repeal vote on the infamous 2004 Hunt Ban.

Bloomberg has read an advance copy of Blair’s memoir.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said he deliberately sabotaged the ban on fox hunting his government introduced, calling it “one of the domestic legislative measures I most regret.”

In his memoir “A Journey,” published by Random House today, Blair said he ensured that the 2004 Hunting Act was “a masterly British compromise” that left enough loopholes to allow hunting to continue “provided certain steps were taken to avoid cruelty when the fox is killed.” He also told Home Office minister Hazel Blears to steer the police away from enforcing the law.

Blair’s 1997 pledge to give Parliament a vote on the subject dogged him throughout his time in office, with lawmakers opposed to hunting repeatedly trying to introduce a ban. Each time, hundreds of thousands of hunt supporters marched through London, and in 2004 some invaded Parliament.

“The passions aroused by the issue were primeval,” Blair, 57, wrote. “If I’d proposed solving the pension problem by compulsory euthanasia for every fifth pensioner I’d have got less trouble. By the end of it, I felt like the damn fox.”

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, who described the law last year as a “farce,” has promised a vote on repeal. Since the act came into force in 2005, only three hunts have been successfully prosecuted, according to the Countryside Alliance, which was formed to oppose the ban. …

Blair said he initially agreed to a ban without properly understanding the issue. Then, during a vacation in Italy, he found himself talking to the mistress of a hunt near Oxford.

“She took me calmly and persuasively through what they did, the jobs that were dependent on it, the social contribution of keeping the hunt and the social consequence of banning it, and did it with an effect that completely convinced me,” Blair said.


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