The Blair Glitch Project

When I wrote this morning that we should take our victories where we can, I didn't think that would require crossing the Atlantic:

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair suffered his first ever defeat in the House of Commons after lawmakers rejected his proposal to allow police to hold terrorist suspects without charge for up to 90 days.

Members of Parliament voted 322 to 291 against the amendment, introduced by Home Secretary Charles Clarke. They now vote on proposals to allow the police to hold suspects for either 28 or 60 days.

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  • ||

    When I first read this:

    ``We are living in a country that faces a real, serious threat of terrorism, terrorism that wants to destroy our way of life,'' he said. ``Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than win and do the wrong thing.''

    I thought it was from an opponent of the bill, referring to the "better a hundred guility men go free..." principle.

    But no, it was just Bush's poodle talking about how brave he was to put his bill to a vote.

  • ||

    Blair was much more acceptable when he was Clinton's poodle.

  • ||

    Yeah, it's funny how your opinion of someone can change when he gets a few thousand of your neighbors killed.

  • ||

    By the way, the Guardian story really chopped up the quote. The full quote is slightly less distasteful, plus puts what he is saying in better context:

    'We are not living in a police state, but we are living in a country that faces a real and serious threat of terrorism. Terrorism that wants to destroy our way of life, terrorism that wants to inflict casualties on us without limit,' Blair said.
    'When those charged with protecting our country provide, as they have, a compelling case for action then I know what my duty is. My duty is to support them and so is the duty, in my view, of every member of this house.'
    'Let's send out a signal from this house that when it comes to defeating terrorism we are going to give the police the powers they need and back them.'
    'Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing, than win and do the wrong thing,' Blair said to those prepared to vote down the measure.

  • ||

    Err, Bloomberg, not Guardian.

  • ||

    Like this couldn't be used to harm people. Keeping you in jail, even if you did nothing wrong for 90 days can RUIN you. No proof what so ever.

    People need to realize that terrorism is something we will have to deal with. you chances of being stabbed on the subway in London are greater than dying of a terrorist attack. yes, they are bad and they do strike fear into people, but come on people, perspective!

  • Warren||

    jf,
    To my eyes the full quote make him look like a bigger ass-wipe. The added context only emphasizes his political double-talk.

    Sure wish we had a legislative body that would stand up to an executive with omnipotent aspirations. If only there was some sort of pre-existing 'right to speedy and public trial by jury' to fortify their backbone with.

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, it's funny how your opinion of someone can change when he gets a few thousand of your neighbors killed.

    I'm lost here, joe. Are you saying that some Americans' opinion of Blair changed because he got a few thousand of our neighbors killed?

  • ||

    RC, I'm saying my opinion of Blair has changed because of his role in getting a few thousand of my neighbors killed.

  • raymond||

    The 28-days amendment won. 41 Labour MPs voted against the government.

    28 days is double the present 14.

  • ||

    I'm vaguely surprised there was significant resistance to 90 days in the UK.

  • R C Dean||

    OK, I give up - I'm having a low IQ day, I guess.

    What was Blair's role in getting a few thousand of your neighbors killed?

    Are you saying he has some responsibility for 9/11? I thought it was the Mossad behind the attacks, not MI5.

  • ||

    oohh, I got it.

    If Toady BLiar had worked as hard to help Klinton invade Eyerack - may be some fake intel so when Mad Albright and algore went on their road trip they could've got the skeptical public to buy into the scheme.

    Then you'd a'had a few thousand of your neighbours killed in 1998-2000 instead.

    BLiars an asshat no matter which prezidink he's sucking up to.

  • ||

    I'm vaguely surprised there was resistance, too, Eric.

    It really shows far how things have gone when a Tory MP heckles Blair in the Commons shouting "police state". Traditionally the Tories have a reputation as "the party of law and order" that would have made that unthinkable.

    Blair's argument has come down to "the police say this is necessary". He hasn't really had anything else to say. The criticism has been put that the role of Prime Minister is to listen carefully to the police and weigh up what they have to say, not just unquestioningly give them whatever they want.

    This is what has led to the "police state" accusations, and seems to have won the day.

    Anyone interesting in following events here in the UK might be interested in Liberty, which is the nearest thing we have to the ACLU (although more "European"):

    http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/

  • ||

    Shouldn't libertarians be a little more upset about the revelation that Bush is operating secret Eastern European torture camps and the appalling record of our allies in the GWOT?

    This seems to me to be of a different nature than, say, John Edwards getting big money as a trial lawyer.

    People that torture people ahould be in jail. People who promote policies that clearly lead to torture should be in jail. Senators that obfuscate for politicians who promote these policies should be in jail. How is that not a mainstream position?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    But we can't put Blair and Bush in jail, they're in love. 4mb download.

  • ||

    RC,

    1998 was the year that Clinton eliminated Iraq's WMD program without the loss of a single American life, right?

  • Franklin Harris||

    "I thought it was the Mossad behind the attacks, not MI5."

    Actually, it was MI6.

  • ||

    If Clinton eliminated Iraq's WMD program, why didn't George Tenet tell Bush?

    Honestly, Joe, a lot of people agree that Bush is a prick, but you're the only one insisting that Clinton was a foreign policy genius.

  • ||

    If Clinton eliminated Iraq's WMD program, why didn't George Tenet tell Bush?

    Say, that's a very good question. If only there were a group of people -- in Congress, say -- asking for an investigation into the way that intelligence information was used by the Administration in the run-up to the war.

  • ||

    The fact that the intel was ...err... massaged? by the Busheviks to get their desired outcome does not alter the fact that Tenet (a Clintonista) and the CIA was feeding some highly suspect stuff.

    The Clintonistas were still saying that Saddam had WMDs in 2001.

    Just questioning Joe's effusive praise of Clinton, not trying to defend Dubya. Both parties have given us shitty foreign policy.

    Oh, and while we're at it, maybe if Kerry had attended a few more of his Foreign Relations committee meetings he might have reached the same conclusions as Bob Graham.

  • R C Dean||

    1998 was the year that Clinton eliminated Iraq's WMD program without the loss of a single American life, right?

    Man, I'm still lost here. What does this claim have to do with Blair killing thousands of your neighbors, joe?

    I'm assuming that the thousands of your neighbors who were killed are the 9/11 victims.

    I'm not sure how Blair's support of the final campaign of the Iraq war a year after the 9/11 attack is responsible for the attack, if that's what you are insinuating. I'm old-fashioned, I know, but I get all hung up on having my causes predate my effects.

    Or maybe its the British intelligence that went into the WMD assessment? Also post-9/11, so I still have that cause and effect problem.

    Help me out here, joe.

  • ||

    joe,

    1998 was the year that Clinton eliminated Iraq's WMD program without the loss of a single American life, right?

    The inspection team was largely made up of non-Americans and was run by the U.N.

    R.C. Dean,

    Basically Uncle Joe is saying that Blair was instrumental in getting the U.S. involved in GWIII. That's not really true of course, the Bush administration would have decided to invade whether Blair's government went along or not.

  • ||

    hak, I think Joe's trying to say that Bill's dick waving that year scared Saddam so much that he gave up. The fact that this position is utterly unsupported by any facts does not deter him from his kneejerk adoration of the man from Hope.

    The inspection teams weren't there to do any 'spection. They had been scared off by Clinton's bellicosity.

    While it's probably true that Saddam disarmed at about that time the most likely cause was his inability to get supplies and the incompetence of his scientists and military and/or their unwillingness to perform.

  • ||

    Which dick waving was that? :)

  • ||

    Now we just need the Brits to back off the ID card and hate-speech proposals, and we're almost back to a free country...

  • Gene Berkman||

    R.C. Dean:
    Blair helped prepare the way for Bush's war in several ways. Blair gave a speech to the British House of Commons on the WMD threat posed by Iraq, and it was broadcast in the US to pump up support for a pre-emptive attack on Iraq.

    Bush regularly invoked British support for a pre-emptive war to fend off charges of unilateral action. Bush also stated that "the British Government has learned" that Saddam has tried to acquire uranium in Africa....

    Thousands of Americans have died in Iraq. Those are the "neighbors" Joe is referring to. Hope this helps you.

  • ||

    Gene Berkman,

    Well, the issue then is whether his help was necessary and/or sufficient re: the start of the Iraq war?

  • ||

    Yo, blank,

    I've certainly got my share of criticisms of Clinton's foreign policy. Blocking action in Rwanda. Treating Foday Sankoh as a legitimate negotiating partner in Sierra Leone. Going too far at Camp David.

    But he got this one right.

    In 2001, he made the mistake a lot of people made - taking George Bush at his word. You think ex-presidents are given access to covert intel or something?

  • ||

    RC,

    I didn't think it was this hard.

    Blair helped sell the invasion of Iraq. He allowed Bush to use him to further his (Bush's) credibility.

    The thousands of my neighbors are the soldiers and civilians killed in this pointless war.

  • ||

    LOL!

    Yes, blank, Saddam decided all by himself that he didn't want to have WMD programs anymore, and he just happened to do so immediately after Operation Desert Fox.

    Life's funny that way.

  • ||

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/Production/files/podhoretz1205advance.html

    Podhoretz savages the "Bush lied about Iraq!!" myth.

    And since this is from Podhoretz, a lot of people won't read it because he writes for NRO.

    I know the "Bush Lied!!" meme will never die, but hope springs eternal.

    I was talking to a friend of mine who is English, and he mentioned the reason Blair gets so much crap over Iraq is that the only reason he really gave to his country was the WMD, while Bush gave a crapload of reasons, upfront, ahead of time.

  • ||

    Yeah, Peter . . . about that Podhoretz article . . . we're going to need you to read this, OK? Thanks, that'd be super.

  • ||

    Now we just need the Brits to back off the ID card and hate-speech proposals, and we're almost back to a free country...

    Which is sadly not going to happen. The pattern here is not civil rights, but appeasing the very sizeable part of our Muslim community which sympathises with the suicide bombers. The mullahs don't like the 90 day thing, they do like the hate speech laws.

    We only get the freedoms religious bigots are in favour of - like the right to wear a hijab. I'm not especially keen on the fairly consistently Anglophobic tone of self-righteous yanks on this site but I HATE it when you're right.

  • ||

    Joe,

    Operation Desert Fox was a 4 day cruise missile and smart bomb attack on, ADA sites, C2 sites, security units, SSM factories, Republican Guard sites, airfields and an oil refinery.

    "As far as it is known, there were, at the time of the operation, no active factories for the development and production of such armaments. Accordingly, attacks were focused actually on damaging the Iraqi capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction. The chosen targets were sites for developing and manufacturing short-range surface-to-surface missiles permitted by the Security Council resolutions."

    "No facilities connected with chemical and biological warfare were attacked or damaged; therefore the residual WMD capabilities of Iraq remained untouched."

    "The operation provided additional evidence that U.S. military actions do not directly threaten Saddam Hussein's regime. At most, such activities can engender processes that may contribute to Saddam's downfall in the long term. Hence, U.S. attacks by air and sea are unlikely to cause Saddam Hussein fear that his existence is threatened."

    http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v2n1p3_n.html

    If Iraq still had a WMD program in 1998, ODF had nothing to due with its subsequent abandonment. Not because no suspected WMD facilities were attacked, but because it is absurd to think that 1,000 cruise missiles and bombs sprinkled over targets that had little to do with WMD would convince anyone to give up such a program.

    It damages your arguments to assert that everything Clinton did was great and wonderful. Hero worship is just as asinine when it comes from the Left as when it comes from the Right.

  • ||

    Yes, AJ, and the reason those strikes were carried out was Saddam's decision to end the coercive inspections that had been steadily eliminating his WMD capabilities. By demonstrating the cost to the Iraqi government of continuing to have a WMD arsenal, ODF convinced the Saddam regime to dump said arsenal. According to the testimony of the Iraqi military commanders, which was confirmed by the Blix teams, and by the ISG.

    PS, it is not hero worship to admit the accomplishments of someone you don't like very much.

  • ||

    So, I'm confused about why Blair is pushing for longer detentions without trial. They've spent decades dealing with terrorist attacks by the IRA, and they want new police state powers NOW?

  • ||

    Joe, the UN inspectors left voluntarilay because of Clinton's threat to bomb. They quite reasonably feared for their safety. There was no "Saddam's decision to end the coercive inspections...". Saddam didn't decide shit.

    Clinton inherited a fucked up foreign policy situation from Bush I and on balance can hardly be blamed for not producing some whizbang solution. Bush II inherited a fucked up foreign policy situation and would have been the greatest prez ever if he had come up with a solution. Instead he gave us an even greater clusterfuck.

    And joe, Clinton was still in office in 2001.

    And as for not liking Bill, hell, I wish there was no 22nd amendment, or at least that Gore had gotten to steal the 2000 election. But I have no illusions that we would not be at war in Iraq now. That much was inevitable. Hell, even if Bush had had the patience to keep paying good cop, dirty cop, bad cop with the Canucks and the Frogs (Chretien saying to Saddam, I don't know how long we can hold this psycho back, man, you'd better give up) we'd 'a' still wound up in a shootout with Saddam.

    Oh and Toady B Liar would be a dirty dog even even he wasn't Bush or Clinton's poodle. God, I hate his smarmy arse.

  • ||

    And joe, Clinton was still in office in 2001.

    This is a joke, right? What, besides remove "W" keys from keyboards, smoke cigars and issue pardons do you suppose he did for those 19 days?

  • Viking Moose||

    Hey Throeau!

    check out Bill Lumbergh's link - at that site they had 375 posts! I'd bet they can get to 500!

    but check out how the flame wars go on over there. :)

    p.s., do you work with RATS?

  • ||

    Not much, Phil, my point was that Bill left office believing that Saddam still had WMDs. Pretty good for the genius that made the Tikrit Tyrant lose them in '98, huh?

    And, yes, it was a joke in the same sense tat everything I've written was a joke. Joe needs to lose his kneepads for Clinton or I'll start caling him Monica.

  • R C Dean||

    The thousands of my neighbors are the soldiers and civilians killed in this pointless war.

    Got it now.

    Its a little early to say its pointless, no? The Iraqi project is far from failed. As I have said before, at this point we are progressing toward our strategic goals, and the Islamist's strategic goals are receding from their grasp.

    All Kevin Drum does is show that there wasn't perfect unanimity on Iraqi WMD, which is hardly news, and isn't what Porhoretz was claiming anyway. What Podhoretz shows is that Bush's claims were well within the majority, if not consensus, view, which makes it disingenuous to paint them as "lies". Drum does nothing to rebut this.

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