British readers may remember the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, the UK's first "New Labour" prime minister. Other things "new" about Mr. Blair were "new age" and -- believe it or not -- "new bullshit". For it was he, aided and abetted by Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell, who led Notsogreat Britain into the Iraq debacle.
How did they persuade the British people and parliament to support the American invasion of Saddam Hussein's sandpit? Why, by declaring Saddam a dangerous Islamic extremist -- EXTRA-dangerous, in fact, because he possessed "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs) which could hit Britain 45 seconds, turning it from a stinking pile of rubbish into a flaming pile of rubbish.
"45 seconds"... turned out to be a wee bit of an exaggeration. In fact Saddam was as bereft of WMDs as the Americans were of any strategy to exit the Iraq quagmire, and you know the rest of the story. People started calling the British PM "Tony Bliar", and he had the smarts to hand over to poor old Gordon Brown, who was in due course turfed out.
No matter. The terrible trio -- Blair, Mandelson and Campbell -- have all gone on to bigger and better (?) things. Yesterday, Britain. Today, Europe. Tomorrow, the world ??? See "Are Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson edging towards world domination?" in the online edition of today's Grauniad.
As part of Mr. Bliar's grand strategy of self-promotion -- that's where Campbell comes in, as the PR advisor -- Tony got himself appointed "special ambassador" to the Middle East. His self-proclaimed goal was to Draw All Faiths Together (DAFT), getting Jews, Christians and Muslims to bury the hatchet... in the ground rather than others' heads. So far he has accomplished, errr, nothing.
Why is it that? Well, in a speech given in London yesterday, Mr. Bliar said the problem is "the threat of Islamic extremism". He didn't say anything about WMDs or "45 seconds", but warned Western leaders they must "take sides" in places like Syria and back "open-minded" groups. Hmmm. Open-minded Muslims. Open-minded Jews. Perhaps Tony can tell us where to find such people? "Moderate Islamists" and "moderate Zionists" are oxymorons!
A further problem is that before you can have a "conversation" with the "moderates", you have to deal with the extremists. How to do that? You won't be surprised to learn that the prime minister who led Britain into Iraq is recommending military intervention in Syria!According to Mr. Bliar, the West will pay a "very heavy price" for not doing so.
The former PM told the BBC that the opportunity to create "an optimistic solution" is being missed. He argued the West had a "responsibility but also an interest" in making sure the "huge struggle" was "resolved in the right way.... Above all, we have to commit. We have to engage." [Sounds like making wedding plans, doesn't it? Ed.]
Mr. Bliar said he understood the UK's reluctance not to take military action, but would have pushed for the imposition of no-fly zones had he still been in office two years ago. "I know what the difficult consequences are of intervention, but if you look at Syria you see the consequences of non-intervention, and non-intervention there is something for which we will pay a very heavy price."
Walt has obtained a copy of Mr. Bliar's speaking notes, which appeared to be a photocopy of a speech he gave in March of 2003, with "Iraq" and "Saddam Hussein" crossed out and "Syria" and "Basher [sic] Assad" substituted.
Perhaps the agent who sent us the material was just pulling Walt's leg. What is certain is that we've seen this movie before. And we know how it ends. Lifetime pct .983.