Monday, December 29, 2003

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been under fire the last few days. Heck, he's been under fire ever since he joined President Bush's campaign to conquer Iraq. But he's taken a particular amount of heat recently.

First, he was criticized by two senior leaders of the Church of England. The archbishop of York warned that the prime minister would have to answer before God for collaborating in the Iraq invasion. The bishop of Durham compared the American and British leaders to "a bunch of white vigilantes" while noting "This is not to deny there's a problem to be sorted, just that they are not credible people to deal with it."

President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have pursued the Iraq conquest with a troubling messianic certainty. The kind that surpasses mere self-confidence or decisiveness and approaches fanaticism. Self-assured people have the confidence to listen to others. Leaders LEAD, not pull, drag, bully, coerce, threaten or slander. It's good that these religious leaders spoke out against these two heads of government who lace their language so liberally with religious references and justifications. Pro-war people don't have a monopoly on wisdom or morality.

The Independent also noted another setback for Mr. Blair, who critics diagnose as being afflicted with Bush's Syndrome (primary sympton: playing fast and loose with the truth). The prime minister had claimed "massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories" had already been uncovered in Iraq.

But this was countered by Iraq viceroy Paul Bremer. "I don't know where those words come from, but that is not what David Kay [head of the Iraq Survey Group] has said. I have read his reports, so I don't know who said that.. It sounds like a bit of a red herring to me. It sounds like someone who doesn't agree with the policy sets up a red herring then knocks it down."

The paper then noted Mr Bremer was forced to backtrack after being told that Mr Blair had made the claim, in a Christmas broadcast to British troops in Iraq.

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