Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tony's tangle

If ever Britons had cause to doubt the wisdom of backing Bush's discretionary war in Iraq, it was last week. The Iranians finally handed over l5 British sailors and marines it had taken hostage. No word yet of a quid pro quo, but the personnel had to do plenty of public mea culpas before their release, a disgusting spectacle. About an hour after the news came of their impending release, the deaths of four British servicemen and women in Basra were announced. It is suspected that they were killed by an Iranian-made IED. Joy quickly turned to horror, a kind of grim Iran-Iraq shuffle.

The Independent takes grim note of these developments as follows in its April 8 edition:

"What Mr Blair was at pains not to say in his reaction, but many would have been thinking, was that neither the hostage drama nor the bombing in Basra would have happened if he had not taken the decision to invade Iraq in partnership with President George Bush in 2003. For television viewers, what linked the two events was the glee of Iraqis and Iranians at having British forces at their mercy.

In Basra, local people smilingly held up trophies, including an army helmet, after the explosion. In Tehran, it was the sight of Faye Turney and her 14 male colleagues having to thank the hardline Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for graciously agreeing to forgive their transgressions and let them go. Both spectacles would have heightened doubts about why we are still in Iraq - doubts that will not have been allayed by the familiar assurances of an outgoing Prime Minister that going there was "the right thing to do."

Undaunted, Blair and his friend, Bush--like the" big fool" in the Pete Seeger song--say to push on. Won't anyone stop them?


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