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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blair on Iraq 1

I'm not sure why I bother but I suppose some effort needs to be made. Anyway, Tony Blair gave a typically disturbing (I mean that in they most negative sense) speech defending what cannot realistically be defended: his foreign policy. The speech - one of three - is available on the BBC website as is the story. What I find a constant is the ways in which the press just don't both to highlight the staggering inconsistency (or just downright lies). Here are some of the arguments.

"We are those who believe in religious tolerance, openness to others to democracy, liberty and humanitarianism, administered by secular courts.

"It will not be defeated until its ideas are confronted head-on, on its absurd anti-Americanism, absurd pre-feudal concept of government and its position on women and other faiths.

"Likewise, if they fail and these countries become democracies and make progress then not merely is that a blow against their own value system, but it is the most effective message against their wretched propaganda about America, the west and the rest of the world.

"We must reject the thought that somehow we are the authors of our own distress.

"This terrorism will not be defeated until its ideas, the poison that warps the minds of its adherents, are confronted, head-on, in their essence, at their core," he said. "By this I don't mean telling them terrorism is wrong. I mean telling them their attitude to America is absurd, their concept of governance pre-feudal, their positions on women and other faiths, reactionary and regressive.

"And then, since only by Muslims can this be done, standing up for and supporting those within Islam who will tell them all of this but more, namely that the extremist view of Islam is not just theologically backward but completely contrary to the spirit and teaching of the Qur'an."

So there you have it. It's all the fault of ideology. And strangely no mention of British support for dicators who boil their opponents and fincancing secret police. No mention of Western involvement in the Middle East putting in whatever governemnt, no matter how out-of-date, to support western needs. None of this is new fact. Blair knows it and is therefore grossly and deliberately distorting (to put it mildly) fact. It can be found as you get towards the back of newspapers but there's no front page splash on the sheer hypocrisy.

Why does anti-US anti-Western feeling occur? Many reasons no doubt but to ignore the blindingly obvious - Western support of brutal dictators and interention through bombing - is irresponsible (to put it very mildly). Supporting the international arms trade really doesn't help matters either.

On another note the idea of the reall truth of a religion (true Islam, true Christianity and so is typically Blairite) makes no analytical sense. Who decides? A meaningless analytical concept.

Interesting Blair's love for secularism and liberalism. I wonder how it squares with his acceptance of rich religious businessmen running schools?

I try to avoid personal remarks because this is a structural problem but words cannot describe the the complete lack of respect I have for this man's integrity and for those in in the House of Commons who just think it is all about 'misjudgment' not Blair's personal values.


Blogger steph said...

Well said.

March 22, 2006

Blogger Jim said...

I think we could trade you Bush for Blair. At least Blair can put a sentence together and sound moderately intelligent. Not Bush. Blair is the lesser of two evils (to use that old phrase).

So- you interested in a trade????

March 22, 2006

Blogger steph said...

That's exactly right Jim. Blair can construct his lies and hyprocrisy and string together a coherent sentence. And he doesn't smirk in the same way. Perhaps they could smash into each other during the exchange and cancel each other out.

March 22, 2006

Anonymous Noel Slevin said...

Blair's (and "New" Labour's) foreign policy is supposed to have formed in response to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 in which the international community decided it would rather turn attention to South Africa's first post-apartheid elections rather than focus on the ethnic cleansing of one million people in Iraq, the argument being that foreign policy shouldn't be about "picking up the pieces", but instead that it should be pro-active, seeking to take action before such wicked acts take place (or stopped as early as possible).

James, when you refer to foreign policy, are you referring just to Iraq or action like in Kosovo too? When it comes down to "ethical" foreign policy, I think the two examples are very seperate matters, even if your conclusion is the same. What would you say British foreign policy should involve / have involved in these cases?

March 22, 2006

Blogger J. B. Hood said...

Sorry Jim, this Yank (from the South) says no go on the trade of Bush for Blair; I'm not convinced he's the "lesser" of two evils, particularly since he is in some sense a good deal more powerful rhetorically and (probably) intellectually. Bush's clout in DC and around the world has been considerably weakened, and I'm not about to trade him for a more competent version!

I would gratefully trade a few of our political comedians for a few of yours, however--there was some show I saw over there last year that was absolutely outrageously funny, though I can't recall...something like Bird and Brown, etc.

March 23, 2006

Anonymous Noel Slevin said...

Well you can have George Galloway if you promise to crucify him...

March 23, 2006

Blogger James Crossley said...

That's a good question Noel. I'm not against force per se but there is virtually no way a a govt like the present UK one could be trusted to have anything other that self interest. Continuing support for dictatorships shows that clearly. As does the present attitude on the arms trade. And Sudan. And sanctions in Iraq. More generally, Western govts showed how much they cared with Rwanda, as you pointed out.

So I don't trust the general western view on the Balkans. I'm doubtful whether the two are seperate in terms of western policy though they could be deemed different in another analysis. There are other ways of dealing such things. Support not for the dictatorial sides might be a good start. Not acting as was done in Gulf War 1 and the uprising against Saddam. Support for democratic movements might help. another argumet which I found interesting was a UN force designed specifically for conflicts where countless people are being persecuted and that alone. Not for the interests of the west but just to prevent mass murder. There are plenty of other ideas floating around but blitzing third world nations is not one I could remotely entertain.

Jim, it's a too close to call and Jason may be right!

March 27, 2006


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