Comment at end
26th February, 2010
John Rentoul wrote about fellow Blair ‘devotee’ Rod Liddle’s wierd article today.
It’s about this article of Rod Liddle’s in the American Conservative magazine. Will use Rentoul’s take on it – to save time. (Am half-watching the Winter Olympics.)
Don’t mind do you, JR?
Liddle Against The War
I must say, for a “devotee” of Tony Blair’s, Rod Liddle (right) is good at pretending to be a standard-issue anti-war herd-journo. He has written an article for The American Conservative that sums up for an American audience the utterly conventional British media view of the Chilcot inquiry.
In short, we have had confirmed what we knew all along: Britain, via a short conversation between our prime minister and President George W. Bush, committed itself to doing pretty much whatever the U.S. wanted to do about Iraq. As this criterion for an invasion might not prove sufficiently alluring to the public or to Parliament, Blair and his close lieutenants flammed up Iraq’s military threat in a manner that deceived all of our major institutions …
It is beyond dispute that the government dissembled, it exaggerated, it distorted. It misled the British Parliament and the British people. Its reasons for invading Iraq were simply not those that it stated at the time. Instead of commissioning intelligence reports to ascertain the nature of Iraq’s threat to either the West or to neighboring Arab countries, it made up its mind and twisted the intelligence to suit that conclusion. This was pretty clear shortly after the invasion, and it is even clearer now.
Just one problem with all that, as ever; the same huge unasked question sitting like an elephant behind all the millions of words raging against Britain’s part in the war: Why?
And what is it with anti-war journalists and the facts? Liddle says, explaining the membership of Sir John Chilcot’s committee:
There’s the eminent historian Sir Martin Gilbert, who was four-square behind the invasion of Iraq from day one and has already served on the Butler Inquiry, which cleared the government of misleading the public and the House of Commons.
It was Sir John that was a member of the Butler committee. But what do facts matter when What Everyone Knows is “beyond dispute”?
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Wasn’t this Liddle guy touted until recently as a contender for the Independent editor’s job? Thank God he didn’t get it if this is the kind of support and factual reporting Blair might have expected from editorials. It’s been tough enough over the last seven years or so.
Btw, do you notice how those of us of the We Few Blair supporting tendency are often driven to using critical pithy phrase towards our opponents in the We All KNOW gang, the What We NOW Know brigade, and the Everyone Knows crowd of know-alls? And do you notice how they need to be spotted by such as Eagle-Eyed Rentoul before they’re rumbled?
I really have to wonder what the hell’s the matter with this ‘devotees’ of Tony Blair. Does Liddle really think this kind of nonsense helps the cause?
Anyone here follows the letter I wrote to the American Conservative magazine.
There was no comment facility at this site so I took advantage of the e-mail contact the Editor link and sent this to them. Hopefully it’ll help our American friends to realise that not all their British cousins have lost their marbles.
Rod Liddle’s article on the Iraq Inquiry is typical of the hand-wringing here in Britain. It’s mainly from the anti-Iraq war and anti-Tony Blair Left, but also, shamefully from the Right, who in fact supported the war. Without the Conservatives Blair would not have got parliament’s permission to go into Iraq. He was determined to get this vote before proceeding. This was the first time EVER a British PM had asked parliament about going to war. EVER, EVER, EVER! And from Blair – the so-called presidential PM!
Blair is being crucified by ALL of these groups and individuals in Britain, led, imho, by the press on all sides. They don’t ask for a crucifixion, to be fair. Too religious for them. They leave their foul-mouthed commenters to do that. No, the papers would settle for a little less. A lynching from Tower Bridge, pour encourager les autres.
Tony Blair was a great prime minister and a great leader. He, in clear comparison to his successor and to the present Tory party leadership (which seldom mention the threats), understood the danger from unchallenged fundamentalist Islamists throughout the Middle East. And he understood the need to be with the USA in this struggle.
I don’t believe he did “lie” over WMDs and Saddam’s threat to the world. But it’s almost incidental as to whether he “lied” or “exaggerated” or was “fooled” about WMDs. It’s about something much larger and far wider. But the Left here are too dull to understand the bigger picture, and it isn’t put to them in the British press. So they rant on about sending Blair to The Hague for “war crimes”, or perhaps for telling a fib.
These people, like Liddle, blow hot and cold as to whether or not the Iraq Inquiry is any use. If the witness struggles or hesitates, it’s GREAT. If he acquits himself well, it’s DREADFUL.
They will only be happy if in the end it results in a judicial trial for Tony Blair. Have no doubt – that is their aim. For them, it’ll be a “whitewash” if there is no trial and no-one is “blamed”. In my opinion Chilcot should be more wary that in his fear of upsetting such hangers ‘n’ floggers he ends up making it a “blackwash”.
I attended the afternoon session of Tony Blair’s appearance at the Iraq Inquiry. I have a report on it here, if you’re interested in seeing another side to Liddle’s.
Just in case you are in any doubt, I think history will show that this was NOT a “disastrous” foreign policy but one of the best made by any British government since the end of WW2.
Another gem from Rentoul on Professor Shaughnessy’s lecture accusing Blair (and even Bush) of lulling the gullible by the smoothness of his/their rhetoric. The professor compares them to Hitler. HITLER!?
I also intended to write about this tonight, but since this man is a colleague of Rentoul’s, well, I’ll leave it to the master. May follow-up when the Prof actually speaks to the converted students.