One has to wonder though, where was Blair pressing for Mideast peace in 2003?
Let’s count them, shall we?
1. Aznar, Spain’s prime minister. Ousted in 2004 by an electorate who he crossed by entering into Iraq without their approval. 90% of Spaniards did NOT want to go into Iraq.
2. Tony Blair, Britain’s prime minister. He had such a good legacy going for him before he joined with Bush. Now with his legacy in tatters does anyone care what Mr. Blair has to say?
3. John Howard, Australia’s prime minister. Embarrassingly lost his own seat in the most recent elections. David Hicks will soon come knocking on his legacy door, once that gag order is removed.
4. General Musharraf, Pakistan’s…well, dictator. He doesn’t have much longer left in him, and the Bush administration knows this. This is why they pressed for Benazir Bhutto to come out of exile and return to her violent home to be assassinated. I don’t know if I am surprised or not that the Bush administration under Condoleezza Rice’s reign at State, failed to consider that many Pakistanis didn’t want to see Ms. Bhutto back in Pakistan, ruling the country. It is surprising because it is assumed people in such positions of power have the foresight and wisdom to see such paths before making a decision. Then again, it is not surprising because these are Bush loyalists in power. They really are horrendous.
5. Benazir Bhutto, dead. Poor Ms. Bhutto. A mere pawn of bigger players is assassinated in her home country after being convinced to return by Ms. Condoleezza Rice.
At Rice’s urging, Bhutto earlier this year agreed to take part in the parliamentary elections, with the understanding that the Pakistani president would keep his part of the bargain by permitting her, a twice-elected prime minister, to serve for a third term (which was banned by a technical rule). Instead, Musharraf did nothing to change the law and instead declared emergency rule—a decision that President Bush did not immediately denounce. Nor did the Americans push Musharraf on the other aspects of the deal that would have allowed her to be a three-time prime minister. “The Americans left her high and dry,” says a close Bhutto ally who requested anonymity when discussing diplomatic issues. “They did not keep their word.” America wants an ally in Pakistan—but with U.S. credibility in the country so low, Washington would be better off not trying to name any successors.
It is not good to be an ally of George W. Bush. When push comes to shove, you will be left out high and dry while he gets away scot free.
To show just what a Catch-22 we’re in over in Iraq, two reports out this morning from Washington Post present a nice contrast between both options: surging and withdrawing.
On the failing withdrawal of British troops from Basra, we read of increasing violence as Shi’ite factions fight each other for control.
What does this evidence mean? Well, put simply, we should never have gone in in the first place. The whole experiment is a failure. And also, the cynic in me is starting to believe that Tony Blair planned with Bush to withdraw forces from Basra before Americans withdrew from the rest of the country. The reason being is now becoming clear. Tony Blair knew that Basra was not ready for an actual withdrawal. But at the behest of Bush, he began withdrawing his troops. This way, when British soldiers leave and Basra regresses to violent tribalism, Bush can go to the American people and say, “See, this is what happens when you withdraw precipitously.” (Of course he would never use such a big word like that). Maybe I’m too cynical, but with this administration, I’ve learned that nothing should be dismissed as the possible actual events.
Dick Cheney, the Bush administration’s worst liar, is claiming that the British are leaving because of the success they have had down in the south. Fine, okay, but as one reader on Talking Points Memo mentions, shouldn’t the British, instead of leaving Iraq, be used instead in areas where things are not going so swimmingly?
Josh, one of the arguments made by Cheney in the interview (and others such as John Howard) is that the British withdrawal is good news because it reflects improvement in the situation in the South. Well, if this is the case, then why aren’t the British troops being moved to where they are needed instead of being withdrawn? Why is nobody asking this question?
Truly, while America is escalating its forces in Baghdad, the British are leaving. Why is the Bush administration not asking the British to assist in Baghdad as well? Why are they not calling the British for what they are, “cut and runners.”
You keep hearing from right wing fools like Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, Fred Kagan, that this is the “decisive conflict of our generation.” If that really is the case, why not harp on the British for leaving at such a critical juncture? Plus was it not Tony Blair himself who just recently said that to leave Iraq would send the wrong message to the enemy?
“If we desert the Iraqi government now, at the very time when they are building up their forces … it would be a gross dereliction of our duty,” he said.
“If we got out now, when the job wasn’t done, and simply deserted the situation, what good would that do other than to make sure that those people that support these extremists right around the world would take heart from it?” he added.
And just last month:
“For us to set an arbitrary timetable . . . would send the most disastrous signal to the people whom we are fighting in Iraq,” he said. “It is a policy that, whatever its superficial attractions may be, is deeply irresponsible.”
So what changed Mr. Blair? Just today you say the following:
“The next chapter in Basra’s history will be written by Iraqis,” Blair said.
Amidst Bush’s “surge,” Tony Blair is ordering his troops to come home. I wonder what conservative Americans will say. Will they paint Tony Blair as a “cut and run liberal?”
Tony Blair. Seeing his legacy in shambles, tied to Iraq and George Bush, is nobly trying to get away from the fact that he sold the WMDs and the threat far more ably and intellectually than Bush could ever have done. He is cruising the Middle East right now, calling for an alliance against evil, those dastardly Iranians. Of course, he does not speak in such brutish terms, as we in America are accustomed to from our right-wing compatriots, but thus is his desire. Continue Reading Blair’s Alliance of the Good…