Blair, Right Honourable Hypocrite
I think we all know what they are trying
to do. They are trying to use the slaughter of innocent
people to cower us, to frighten us out of doing the things
that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our
business as normal, as we are entitled to do, and they should
not, and they must not, succeed...We will not allow violence
to change our societies or our values.
- UK PM Tony Blair, on the London Bombings
you get that? This is Tony Blair, Tattoo on George Bush’s
Fantasy Island, telling us that violence is not the answer.
Blair doesn’t really compare to Bush when it comes to empty,
infuriatingly banal statements, but here he very precisely,
and unwittingly, makes an excellent case against the war
in Iraq, indeed against invasions in general. Here he is,
immediately after the bombings in London, making perhaps
the most galling statement of his entire career. It’s a
real humdinger, but, of course, nobody called him on it,
because one of the lessons we all learned on 9/11 is that
powerful hypocrites get a free pass after terrorist attacks.
Now, it goes without saying (or should)
that blowing up subway cars and buses is not an appropriate
way to seek change. But seeking to change a society through
violence and death—isn’t that exactly what Blair and Bush
are doing in Iraq?
The death toll in London has risen to 52
as I write this, and that is truly terrible. But the death
toll in Iraq is well over 100,000. Were those all bad guys,
you think? Or don’t their deaths matter, because they’re
brown and they don’t speak English, at least not with those
Think about it: a hundred thousand people.
That’s more than you can fit in Ralph Wilson stadium. We
killed them all. But their deaths are so irrelevant to us
that even war protestors are more likely to quote the statistic
of 1,700 or so American soldiers killed.
I saw a segment on the local news the other
day, basically ridiculing the UN for not being able to come
up with a working definition of terrorism in the last 4
years. What they failed to perceive, as they chuckled about
that old bureaucratic dinosaur, is that the reason for this
is that any accurate definition of terrorism would define
nearly all the member states, especially the US, as having
supported and engaged in it.
This is not to say that the victims in London
somehow ‘deserved’ to be blown to bits. There’s no ‘little
Eichmans’ theory here. But any leader who orders the carpet
bombing of a city full of civilians knows he’s burning children
to death. And to do so, to cause unspeakable harm to regular
people, when there are clear diplomatic options yet available
is despicable. That’s what Bush and Blair have done, and
they deserve to be imprisoned for it. Luckily for them,
The Hague doesn’t impose the death penalty. Of course, they’ll
never have to answer for their crimes.
Tony Blair arguing that it is “barbaric”
to use violence to cause change calls his incredible hypocrisy,
and simple lack of self-awareness, into sharp focus. It’s
about as reasonable as calling someone a faggot while you’re
nailing him in the ass.
Blair is not alone, or even in the minority. Here in America,
hypocrisy is an individual right; it’s gauche in
the extreme to remind people that they’re full of shit.
This may explain why Bush and Blair both won reelection.
But, when faced with the violent death of people we can
actually identify with, we react, naturally, with
disgust and hatred for those who perpetrated it, and righteous
cravings for vengeance against them. How on earth can we
expect a different reaction from others when we bomb them?