A Breath of Stale Blair

Contributed by Anwaar Hussain

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Finally, after more than seven years since the inquiry was announced, Sir John Chilcot published the report now called the Chilcot Inquiry in the international press.

The report stated in unambiguous, though official language, that Saddam Hussein did not pose an urgent threat to British interests, that intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction was presented with too much conviction, that peaceful options to war had not been exhausted, that the United Kingdom and United States had undercut the authority of the United Nations Security Council, that the process of identifying the legal basis was “far from satisfactory”, and that a war in March 2003 was unnecessary.

Though the outing of truth after all these years is welcome, it still is mere Inquiry-speak. In plain words Tony Blair, and by default the country that he led, stands indicted for war crimes as explicitly as in a court of law.

One wonders what drove this man to make Britain join the biggest sham of 21st century! The Neoconservatives were Neoconservatives. For years their agenda was clearly spelled out. They were shouting themselves hoarse with how they would shape the world given a chance. Only nobody was taking them seriously. The world at large, and the Muslim world in particular, found out the deadly earnestness of their ominous intent much later while digging the graves of nearly a hundred thousand innocent human beings.

But what about Tony Blair? What were his compulsions? Why did he join this outrage? What was it that drove the man to telling the lies that he told his nation to get them to allow him to join the Neocons’ sick adventure? What moral imperatives compelled him to ditch all pragmatism? What forced him to avoid leveling with his people? What high beliefs were those? Or was he driven not by high beliefs, but by something rather ominous or compelling? Were those pressures on a personal level or as the leader of a nation guiding whose destinies was incumbent upon him?

He said before the war that his goal was not regime change. Does that mean that he joined a war led by a nation whose objectives he either opposed or worse still, was not privy to? And why did he continue to extend unflinching support to this unspeakable offence when he finally did find out that regime change indeed was the goal of his allies across the pond? These are just some of the questions that continue to beg for a final answer.

In the end, I think we are just tired of being lied to. Tired of being talked down to, of being bombarded with Second World War jingoism and scare stories and false information and student essays dressed up as “intelligence”.

Tony Blair was the only European leader who implanted himself on the Neocons’ bandwagon with a resounding thud. His persistent ardor for the Neocons showed that, while seemingly pushing for a UN sanction to legalize the Iraq war, he was all along willing to give them unreserved support even without one. He just never said it in so many words, that’s all.

From claims that Saddam had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction that he could launch within 45 minutes to the slogans of “liberating” and “democratizing” Iraq—Tony Blair stopped at nothing. No need here to repeat his fabled rhetoric yet the widespread Iraqi resistance to US and British occupation forces in Iraq, the indiscriminate killing of women and children in Fallujah in particular, combined with evidence that the Bush administration actually authorized the organized torture of innocent civilians in the Iraqi jails, now expose Blair’s claims as nothing but barefaced lies.

Few shared Blair’s honey-drenched arguments regarding the intentions of the Bush administration.  The world saw Bush as he should have been seen – the agent of a corporate mafia, suitably camouflaged with the required religious plumage, and deadly serious upon foisting its control over the globe by military force, whatever the human cost.

What then were the real reasons for Blair’s unflinching support for the Neocons?

Could it be that by going along with the corporate tainted Neocon agenda, Blair’s aim was to maintain the traditional ability of British capital to play the world’s markets? Britain was then the world’s fifth largest trading nation, with one in four jobs linked to business overseas, and the world’s second largest overseas financier. Britain was also the largest overseas investor in the US. Furthermore, the US then provided 38 percent of Britain’s foreign investment, compared with 46 percent from all EU countries combined. A shrewd opportunist, he did argue that, “The Cold War is over. The US is the only superpower.” And that “Europe is economically powerful but not yet politically coherent.”

Or perhaps it was simply to bring back to life his country, a washed out glory, by riding on the back of American led 21st century imperialism? He has, after all, often stressed upon the reality of Britain’s historic decline as a world power. Was he finding it hard to resist the land lust of imperialist genes surging through his loins? Britain, after all, is still attached to its imperial past by a frayed, yet still intact, umbilical cord. She continues to occupy Gibraltar and ended its colonial rule of Hong Kong barely seven years ago.

Or was it the plight of Germany’s Schroeder that gave Tony Blair the chills? For Germany’s token opposition to their agenda, the Neocons treated Schroeder like an outcast, a pariah barely worth acknowledging. They did not let go of a single occasion to mock and rebuff him.

Or was it the Neocons’ battle cry of “you are either with us or against us”?—a trumpet that forced many a world leader to their knees. Did Blair’s liver too turn into jelly reducing him in turn into a bundle of nerves? Why else would Blair risk leaving the familiar, though nostalgic, company of traditional European imperialist powers?

Maybe something else gave Blair the jitters as well. As George Bush’s lawyer he had canvassed for the Neocons’ colonial war of aggression. He had become his Master’s Voice in propagating the newly declared US policy of pre-emptive strike. Iraq was to be targeted, not for what it had done, for many of those acts were with overt US blessings, but for what it might possibly do at some time in the future. On this basis, almost any country deemed to represent a threat, however minor, to the strategic interests of America might be bombed back into Stone Age. Was it that in the course of peddling the Neocons’ cause, Blair became privy to such hideous truths of their intent that he thought even Britain was not beyond the searing focus of their frightening designs?

Or did he imagine himself as “Richard the Lionheart” against the supposed tide of “Islamic extremism” forgetting that neither he was Richard the Lionheart nor was there a Crusade going on? It was a plain old daylight robbery being staged in full view of the whole world and he was being seen as the comic sidekick of the murderous thieves.

At one time Tony Blair looked like a strong leader with great promise. Combined with a gift of gab, he seemed to overshadow all around him, at home and on the continent. Ironically, his unswerving support for the Neocons’ misadventures earned him the nickname of US poodle rather than a place in the European hall of fame. Subsequent events proved him, instead, to be a great deceiver, a past master at selling half lies and half truths, schooled rather in the art of never admitting, yet not categorically denying. History now bears out that all his moralizing, all his lofty rhetoric dished out, were in the sure fore knowledge of the Neocons’ real agenda. He only proved that his oratory skills and high-sounding rhetoric were nothing but the lamb talk of a wolf.

Or did he imagine himself as “Richard the Lionheart” against the supposed tide of “Islamic extremism” forgetting that neither he was Richard the Lionheart nor was there a Crusade going on? It was a plain old daylight robbery being staged in full view of the whole world and he was being seen as the comic sidekick of the murderous thieves.

Robert Fisk spoke for most of us world citizens when he wrote in The Independent of February 15, 2003 “In the end, I think we are just tired of being lied to, tired of being talked down to, of being bombarded with Second World War jingoism and scare stories and false information and student essays dressed up as ‘intelligence.’ We are sick of being insulted by little men, by Tony Blair and Jack Straw and the likes of George Bush and his cabal of neo-conservative henchmen who have plotted for years to change the map of the Middle East to their advantage.”

History now records George Bush as having been a “little man” who had great power thrust upon him. Tony Blair, on the other hand, was a tall man who dwarfed himself of his own volition. Does he even know as to how and why he embarked upon this journey of self-miniaturization? Is his political and moral decay a personal inevitability, a fait accompli? Or could he yet produce something worthy, something of what, for some, he originally seemed capable of?

Now as The Sun, Britain´s top-selling paper’s editorial slams him with the words, “For his own sanity he still has to tell himself the world is ´better and safer´ for him joining George Bush´s assault on Iraq. It is a monumental delusion,” the rest of us too join them in the sentiment.

A ´better and safer´ world eh Tony? A breath of stale Blair indeed.


About the Author:

Anwaar Hussain is an ex F-16 fighter pilot from Pakistan Air Force. A Masters in Defense and Strategic Studies from Quaid-e-Azam University of Islamabad. He now resides in Canada. He started writing as a hobby some years back and has, since then, published a series of articles in The Pakistan Tribune, The Baltimore Chronicle, Defense Journal and a host of other prestigious publications and web portals. Other than international affairs, Anwaar Hussain has written extensively on religious and political issues that plague Pakistan.The reason for taking up the pen, in his own words, is, “For years I had been watching lies being peddled as truths in the name of God, king or country. I always felt that truth needed no crutches for it has neither a religion nor a nationality. It owes its loyalty only to its own unadulterated self. May the truth be our companion.” He can be contacted at airdance@outlook.com

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