Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tony Blair, Syria, Islam and fear itself

Remember Tony Blair and Saddam Hussein's (nonexistent) ready-to-use-in-45-minutes WMD claim?

From BBC News, Timeline: The 45-minute claim 10/13/2004:

24 September 2003

The dossier is published with a foreword from Tony Blair, which says: "The document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them."

The prime minister tells MPs the intelligence concludes that Saddam Hussein "has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population".

London's Evening Standard carries the headline: "45 minutes from attack".
You would think after such an epic FAIL! that Lord Blair would try to refrain from ever again making any kind of claim about WMDs at all. But you would be wrong.

Lord Blair now wants the NATO powers to go to war in Syria. So he writes, "Assad is using chemical weapons on a limited but deadly scale." (The Trouble Within Islam Project Syndicate 06/10/2013)

Why would anyone with any kind of responsible attitude toward war and peace ever again listen to anything the man, who became known as "Bush's Poodle" for his shameless subservience to the Cheney-Bush Administration during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, has to say about going to war? If you just want to be conned, sure. If you love cheering for war and killing based on lies, Lord Blair's your man. If you think the risks and consequences of real-world war are the same as for video combat games, go right ahead.

Lord Blair's message: Scary Muslims everywhere! Aiieee-eeeeee!!! Let's have more wars now!now!!now!!!

His anti-Muslim message is pretty much indistinguishable from the clean-shaven fundamentalist Christian Right version:

But I am afraid that the problematic strain within Islam is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view of religion – and of the relationship between religion and politics – that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies. At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the worldview goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So, by and large, we don't admit it.

This has two effects. First, those who hold extreme views believe that we are weak, and that gives them strength. Second, those Muslims – and the good news is that there are many – who know the problem exists, and want to do something about it, lose heart.

Throughout the Middle East and beyond, a struggle is playing out. On one side, there are Islamists and their exclusivist and reactionary worldview. They comprise a significant minority, loud and well organized. On the other side are the modern minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and despise the new oppression by religious fanatics. They are potentially the majority; unfortunately, they are badly organized.
In other words, Islam evil! Sharia!! Aiieee-eeeeee!!!

John Steinbeck, 1958: "Now for many years we have suckled on fear and fear alone, and there is no good product of fear. Its children are cruelty and deceit and suspicion germinating in our darkness."

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