Saturday, February 24, 2007

''It is, as I say, a form of madness''

In September last year I wondered How mad is Tony Blair? It had been pondered before. But it seems to be an opinion that is even more widespread after the PM's frankly fruitbat batshit bonkers woo woo la la delusional interview last week on Radio 4 with John Humphries, in which the not-so-esteemed-these-days PM blamed all the deaths on Iraq on all the pesky terrorists. As the perenially-fabulous NotSaussure pointed out

''somehow, I don’t think it will have gone down too well at today’s meeting on gun crime if the assembled folks from the police and the Home Office said, ‘We don’t what you’re all looking at us for — it’s those bloody people with guns who’re causing the problems. If it wasn’t for them shooting each each other…’.

It seems to me utterly clear. If you take a course of action with reasonably foreseeable consequences, then you’re morally — and, frequently, legally — responsible for the results. At one point, he actually started talking about ‘hornet’s nests’ — well, yes, it’s very annoying of those hornets to behave the way they do, but it still really isn’t a good idea to poke their nests with sticks. I can just imagine the scenes at the Labour HQ after the forthcoming disaster in the local elections — wasn’t our fault; can’t blame us if the buggers won’t vote for us.''

(I think we call it something like ''reckless disregard with knowledge of the probable consequences''? Or ''gross negligence''?)

Genius columnist and fabulous dining companion Matthew Norman has a cracking column on the subject of our Dear Leader's tenuous grip on reality...

'' Seldom since David Icke treated Terry Wogan to his thoughts on the giant lizards controlling Earth can a broadcast interview have sent so many jaws plummeting so quickly. The orthodontists of Britain, if not of Basra, must be thrilled. Whether it was imminent ordeal by Humpo that explained Mr Blair's surprising absence from the unveiling of Baroness Thatcher's statue on Wednesday, I'm not sure. It may have played a part, but there is another explanation as to why the incumbent prime minister proved a fair-weather friend to his predecessor [...]

His entire life from infancy onwards has been dedicated to showing off.''

See also Marina Hyde '' Tony Blair makes Comical Ali seem the voice of reason. The former Iraqi regime spokesman's boasts seem almost prophetic. Unlike the prime minister's deluded declarations...''

I am reminded of that old vaudeville trick where the manic entertainer who can't leave the stage is removed by the swift appearance of an umbrella, stage left, hooked around his neck, to drag him into the wings as the curtain hastily falls. Can't somebody have a word?

It's getting embarassing.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh! the luvvies are really turning on poor old Tony.

RFNL: "It's getting embarassing."

My dear lady, Tony Blair has been a chronic embarassment since he became leader of the labour party. He was an embarrasment before then, but since no one knew who he was, it was a private matter.

TB: "Trust me, I am a straight kind of guy". That would have been funny except it was excruciating.

You know, I never thought I would feel sorry for Blair, but watching the harpies gathering, might just be the thing that does it.

February 25, 2007 2:05 pm  
Blogger jailhouselawyer said...

One problem with you asking if someone will have a word, is that despite Tony Blair saying the opposite he just doesn't listen...

February 25, 2007 3:27 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Dear anonymous ( I am considering blocking anonymous comments as most of them are just irritating, however there are a few readers who like to post anonymously as they don't want to be identified when they talk about rape, so I will grit my teeth and carry on for now).

I always found Blair annoying and insincere. I voted for labour, not Blair. Why? Because nothing will ever induce me to vote Tory.

Anonymous, I suspect you are a returning poster called 'Islington Newmania', if you are, I've asked you not to bother reading and posting on my blog as I find you disagreeable company. I wouldn't hang about talking to you at a drinks party, and as it is my blog, I'd prefer you not to drop in here.


February 25, 2007 5:49 pm  
Blogger Arthurian Legend said...

So, if an Iraqi or Iranian terrorist plants a roadside bomb in Iraq that kills a passing family in a car, opens fire on people queuing up for a job interview, or commits some other random act of murder, they are NOT to blame? Is that what you are saying?

Human beings are not hornets; we are (or at least ought to be) aware of what is right and wrong, and we are aware that it is wrong to commit murder. If you make anyone other than the person who in cold blood deliberately explodes the bomb or pulls the trigger that is aimed directly at ordinary and innocent citizens with the express intention of killing them, then that is a despicable moral position for a "liberal" person to take.

And as for that imagined Home Office conference - yes - it IS the people who are shooting other people who are morally responsible. And if it wasn't for them doing the killing, there wouldn't be any need for that imagined conference.

Responsibility for doing something lies with the police and home office officials by virtue of their paid employment - but that is a very different kind of responsibility from that of those actually doing the killing.

I didn't understand Blair to be disclaiming responsibility in the sense of disclaiming responsibility for trying to do something to try to improve matters: clearly, instructing the British army to train up and support the Iraqi army is "taking responsibility" for trying to improve the situation. But you can't hold Blair sitting in a studio in London "responsible" for drive-by shootings in a Baghdad cafe as if it was his finger on the trigger. Even the person whose finger was on the trigger would not accept that...and would probably laugh at you for suggesting it…

February 25, 2007 6:46 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

So, if an Iraqi or Iranian terrorist plants a roadside bomb in Iraq that kills a passing family in a car, opens fire on people queuing up for a job interview, or commits some other random act of murder, they are NOT to blame? Is that what you are saying?

No, of course that is not what I am saying, because if I said that, it would be effing stupid, wouldn't it?

February 25, 2007 10:08 pm  
Blogger not_saussure said...

The point I was seeking to make is that the present mayhem in Iraq was an easily forseeable consequence of the invasion. Tony Blair claimed in the interview that Sir Jeremy Greenstock was mistaken when he said

"In the days following the victory of 9 April [2003] no one, it seems to me, was instructed to put the security of Iraq first. To put law and order on the streets first. There was no police force. There was no constituted army except the victorious invaders.

And there was no American general that I could … establish who was given the accountable responsibility to make sure that the first duty of any government – and we were the government – was to keep law and order on the streets. There was a vacuum from the beginning in which looters, saboteurs, the criminals, the insurgents moved very quickly."

On the contrary, Mr Blair maintained, we did have a plan.   In that case, I say it was clearly a woefully inadequate one and Blair can hardly escape responsibity by complaining that the insurgents haven't behaved in the way for which our plans apparently provided.

February 25, 2007 10:34 pm  
Blogger Arthurian Legend said...

But you quote NotSausurre (apparently approvingly) who said:

"If you take a course of action with reasonably foreseeable consequences, then you’re morally — and, frequently, legally — responsible for the results."

So Bush and Blair decided to depose Saddam. This meant that the 'strong man of Baghdad' was taken out of the scene. This in turn gave the opportunity to certain Shias and Sunnis to wage a war against each other - and for certain Iranian and Syrian forces to join and add to the general mayhem.

I don't disagree that Blair and Bush's intervention removed the force that had been suppressing the opportunity for such bloodletting. Any calculation of the wisdom or foolishness of the intervention has to bear that fully in mind.

BUT: two other things also need to be pointed out.

1. Saddam and Sons had been doing a pretty brutal killing job by themselves and with their various security apparatuses. By not intervening when we had the opportunity, we would have "allowed" that to continue. That can hardly be considered noble, can it?

2. When people blame Bush and Blair, they should make it very clear beforehand that the direct and proximate blame for the current killing of Iraqis by the various Shia and Sunni groups is those groups themselves...something that is actually very important but is almost always glossed over in the rush to blame B&B...

February 25, 2007 10:34 pm  
Blogger Arthurian Legend said...

I don't disagree that some subsequent violence was forseeable, though to be honest I hadn't forseen quite the extent to which it developed. But then I am not an Arabist, or privileged to detailed knowledge about Iraq, or privileged to have had extensive contact with experts who have experience of these things. Unlike the PM.

However, it would be interesting to know who (whether in the press or in government) had predicted quite was subsequently going to happen BEFORE IT HAPPENED. And to have proof of those prior predictions.

Can either of you point me to anything?

Greenstock's words are spoken from a position of hindsight. Which is not to deny that he had foresight. But they are not in themselves proof of his foresight.

If the prior plans of Bush and Blair were inadequate, and it can be proven from documents published or advice provided before the invasion that their plans were going to be inadequate, then Bush and Blair do merit blame for the inadequacy of those plans. But the direct moral responsibility for the current killings lies with those doing the killing. And that is the point which I felt Rachel had ignored in all of her comments which solely attacked Blair.

February 25, 2007 10:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anaon it is abit weird to start yelling at ministers.

February 25, 2007 11:11 pm  
Blogger dave bones said...

But there really are lizards controlling the planet..

February 26, 2007 2:22 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

***, you are prohibited from contacting me due to your bail restrictions, and anonymous comment don't fool anyone...

Arthurian Legend, I haven't time to go into this in detail as I am on deadline. Sorry. I will be able to next weekend. Briefly.

Seven months before the invasion of Iraq, the head of British foreign intelligence reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair that President Bush wanted to topple Saddam Hussein by military action and warned that in Washington intelligence was "being fixed around the policy," according to notes of a July 23, 2002, meeting with Blair at No. 10 Downing Street.

"Military action was now seen as inevitable," said the notes, summarizing a report by Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, British intelligence, who had just returned from consultations in Washington along with other senior British officials. Dearlove went on, "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke with his country's intelligence chief about seven months before the Iraq invasion. Blair was advised that the threat from Saddam Hussein might have been overstated.

"The case was thin," summarized the notes taken by a British national security aide at the meeting. "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

The Iraq war was a US led initiative that Blair had little control over. Have a read of Woodward's State of Denial for a forensic examination of how policy was fixed around idealism/belief, and how there was no strategy and how all advice about likely insurgency was ignored. Catastrophic mistakes like 'de-Baathification' (disbanding the Iraqi security services and army) led to chaos, and the US focus on safeguarding resources rather than security exaserpated the problem. All this could have been forseen, but warning voices were shut out by Rumsfeld and the Bush administration. Blair blithely went along with this US hubristic adventure, committing our forces to a war that he was warned by the ISC would increase the likelihood of terrorism. Unforgivably, he didn't even make the policies or the decision to go to war - he committed us secretly, months in advance and then tried to make the facts fit the case. He also was untruthful about when the decision to go to war was made, and by whom: he was the salesman tasked by whipping up support for the US decision which wwas already in place.

Even now, he is still in denial about it. That is what triggered my exasperated post.

The murderous anarchy of civil war stems from fatal mistakes made early, ny the invaders, who ignored all voices that it wouldn't be as simple as 'bombing peopee into democracy', because it did not fit with their world view. As Blair apparently bought into this ludicrous and dangerous delusion of the neocons, and would not open the subject up to debate nor take advice - ( we can see why - it would only have revealed how he had no chioce at all and how his involvement was US window dressing) - he should admit responsiblity for dragging our forces into this mess, and apologise to the Iraqi people for the hellish mess in which they now have to live. He won't, blithely ducking responsibility. That is what makes me angry.

February 26, 2007 9:30 am  
Blogger Henry North London said...

Do you want me to section him? There are special rules for sectioning MPs under the MHA of 1983 but I know of several eminent psychiatrists and myself who would be champing at the bit to section our dearly beloved (not) Leader.

Am off on hols from Friday morning will not touch Internet whilst away so blog will not update but hope everything sort of calms down but do let me know if you intend to inform the Speaker that Anthony Blair needs the mental health act

March 01, 2007 12:49 am  
Blogger City Slicker said...

The labels for this piece say it all!

Great post as ever

March 02, 2007 2:59 pm  
Blogger TryingTimes said...

I thought Humphries gave Tone an easy ride.

Amazing how Our Leader still managed to seem at times incoherent.


March 02, 2007 5:55 pm  
Blogger Madasafish said...

>Arthurian Legand
Sorry for the very late reply.

Regarding the mayhem in Iraq following the invaision...

There is a well known historical precednt for what happens to a country which is forcibly held together by a secret service and a brutal dictator... All the feuds that have been suppressed for yeras break out and civil war happens.

It's simple history.

Now if it was long ago history it would be easy to forgive it.. But Yuposlavia post Tito .. did anyone mention Kosovo?

March 07, 2007 12:38 pm  

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