April 06, 2007

I’m glad they’re safely at home. But the seizure of the British Royal Marines and sailors by Iran was always a no brainer. To Iran, Tony Blair is a lame duck, and the British people believe in their government as much as the Americans believed that Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman. Few Brits accepted their Government’s story that their boats were in Iraqi waters. Incidentally, let no one confuse the Royal Marines with the US Marines. The latter would have fought, no ifs or buts about it, but Britain ain’t what it used to be. The first to crack was, of course, a woman, which confirms the maxim since time immemorial that women’s place is in the home—or in the office—but never in the front lines.

Be that as it may, once people have lost trust in their leaders it’s hard to believe their word ever again. There was very little indignation in Britain about the hostages, which is what they were. Blair was reduced to urging patience, which meant he was buying time looking for the right back-room deal and private climbdown in order to get the hostages back without totally losing face. Bush’s indignation at their seizure meanwhile was also a bit of an embarrassment. He seizes people all over the world whom he suspects of Al Qaeda connections, so who’s he to talk about “inexcusable behavior?” Blair has fiddled the maps to show that the marines were in Iraqi waters, just as he fiddled the dossier which showed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ready to fire at Europe in 45 minutes. As the wise old man said, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander….
Finally, only politicians who have never worn the uniform can play with soldiers’ lives the way Bush, Blair and the neocons have. Robert Wright, a senior fellow at the New American Foundation, and son of an army colonel, wrote that “Good commanders have a committment to their troops that borders on love… and sending people into battle isn’t something a good commander does with detachment.” When Gen. Eric Shinseki testified that our troops at the start of the Iraq disaster were not enough, the great warrior Paul Wolfowitz convinced Donald Rumsfeld that Shinseki didn’t have the guts for the fight. Shineski was duly disparaged by all the cowards who have never served. Now our soldiers are paying the price, while Wolfowitz is flying around in his private jet paid by the taxpayer dispensing billions to African kleptocracies.

Ain’t modern democracy wonderful? Let’s smear it around a little, and see what happens…. Oh wait, we’ve already tried that.


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