Finally, the Guardian nails Blair
Of the serious British papers, the Guardian has always cut Tony Blair some slack on the war. No longer
.... some of the other things that Mr Blair said yesterday are hard to forgive or forget. To say that opponents of the war believed that "Saddam was a reasonably benign influence" is an unworthy insinuation. To imply that his critics take the view that "look, why bother, al-Qaida, it's all a long way away" is equally a morally and politically disgraceful charge. There may be a small minority of people who opposed the war who are apologists for Saddam. Some of them may also think that we do not need to worry about terrorism. None of this, though, applies to the overwhelming majority of opponents of the Iraq war, and certainly does not apply in any way to this newspaper. Saddam was a tyrant. Al-Qaida is a threat. There was, and is, no case for looking in the other direction about either of them. But there was - and could still have been if Mr Blair had not buckled - an aggressive, multilateral alternative to going to war alongside the unilateralist Bush regime. That way lay through continued inspections, setting targets and deadlines, and keeping nations, regions and cultures together in the task of internationally based enforcement - armed enforcement if necessary.
Blair cannot admit the obvious-the war was wrong and we are losing it. Instead, he insults the intelligence of everyone in earshot with this denial. While evicting Saddam was a public service, with no resistance to take his place, and Chalabi is a crook and little more, turing Iraq into Mad Max land was not. A society without order is not a society. Nor could we remake Iraq, of all places, to serve our needs.
Saddam was a threat to the region. Al Qaeda is an enemy to civilization. But turning Iraq into a satrapy is no solution. There was a picture of American troops teaching Iraqi kids football. American football. Which encapsulates everything wrong with our occupation policy. Iraqi kids know Ronaldo, David Beckham, Romuldo and Michael Owen. Many, many Iraqis, who have ties to the UK, follow Chelsea and Liverpool and ManU with the dedication we follow the Mets or the Red Sox. I saw a picture of Iraqi kids in Juventus jerseys playing in the street. American football is a foreign in Iraq as pulled pork bbq. Teaching Iraqi kids football will not make them love us. They will play along and then go back to dreaming of playing in the World Cup.
It is amazing. Americans in Iraq must live in a fantasy world. No Iraqi kid is thinking of being the next Wayne Chrebet or Keyshawn Johnson. They want to be the next Beckham or Zindane. Unfortunately, Mr. Blair must be sharing that world.
posted by Steve @ 12:45:00 AM