European Union

Brit Prime Minister Blair to Step Down in June


But he still says he was right about Iraq.

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  1. Likelihood of a British declaration of victory and withdrawal from Southern Iraq in the July / August / September window just went way up.

  2. Am I the Kwisatz Haderach or didn’t Blair state or strongly imply some time ago that he’d step down this year? With Gordon Brown likely to take the reins? The actual announcement is still news, of course, but the coverage I’ve seen makes it sound like a surprise.

    If it turns out that I am prescient, I will take the next few months to make $100-200 billion, after which I’ll buy a libertarian candidate into the White House. And another one into a home on Downing Street, while I’m at it. Woo-hoo!

  3. Pro Lib,
    You think you can buy a libertarian into the White House for a mere $100×10^9? You misunderestimate the hurdles we face.

  4. Warren,

    Mere money, no. My creative spending of that much money? Hell, yeah. Let’s just say that Oprah’s endorsement of libertarianism is only the beginning.

    America is so weak and predictable. When the LP begins sending naked hotties door to door to canvas votes, the LP will already have won.

  5. When the LP begins sending naked hotties door to door to canvas votes, the LP will already have won.

    There’s far too much honesty in that approach to succeed.

  6. Well, I’m glad that one of the thugs who helped start the war is leaving office.

  7. thoreau,

    I’m not sure, but I think the Urkobold has opened hostilities.

  8. Still, I would like to live so long as to see a campaign that honest.

    Strike that, I actually have seen campaigns that honest (and successful even)… When I was stationed in Italy. The last thing I want is for our system of government to resemble that openly corrupt laughing stock of civilization.

  9. thoreau,

    Blair may be a lot of things, but a thug?

  10. Yes Grotius, a thug. You know, there are nothing but thugs sitting opposite thoreau on this issue. He happened to guess right on WMD, so now anyone who was concerned about it is a murderous thug. Like Tony Blair.

  11. JasonL,

    Well, as much as I think that Blair is wrong I don’t consider him a thug. I reserve the word thug for violent criminals and perhaps dictator types. Blair fits into neither of those criteria.

  12. Tony Blair is a thug because he continued to support the war even after every manufactured pretext for it was exposed.

  13. Thug = too far.

    Goon = just right.

  14. Warren,

    Well, not every justification for the war was demonstrated to be in error, though some might not find those justifications acceptable.

    Furthermore, it is perfectly legitimate to maintain support for the war on a changed basis than one’s initial position. I don’t know if that is what Blair did, I am just thinking of the issue in general terms.

  15. Nice crowd. So, the notion that Blair was sincerely concerned about an issue that couldn’t be proven one way or the other isn’t even on the table?

    I understand Grotius’ view: he was wrong on risk assessment and at the end of the day he didn’t help even though he thought the situation could be improved.

    I don’t understand “He was a goon. He was a thug.”

  16. Goon + Brit = Thug that sounds like a fairy

  17. I see him more as a glug. Or a thoon.

  18. Is that like Gl?hwein?

  19. More like Brustwarze.

  20. PL,

    I like to drink glug. I love to eat it with saffron bread.

  21. The Swedish Gl?gg?

  22. I like Gl?hwein. Go back to Sweden, you heathen.

  23. You gotta give it to Blair, he must have at least really believed the war was required since he pretty much ruined his career and his party by attaching his wagon to that train wreck…It was very unpopular from the get-go in Britian and he went along and has stuck with it, now to his bitter end…A possible lesson for the morons running for GOP nomination…

  24. Well, I prefer haggis juice, myself. Too sophisticated?

  25. Color me cynical, but my thought at the time of the run-up was that Blair was using opportunity to pull the British equivalent of the Permanent Republican Majority ploy (substitute Labour for Republican) that was happening here. Exploit 9/11 for political gain? Well, it is for a good end, so why not?

    Go off and throw a splendid little war, rid the world of a thug, discover the WMDs that the UN obviously missed and then rub their sanctimonious fucking noses in it, have a big parade, bring the lads home by summers-end and then reap the political benefits of the glorious victory for years to come.

    Blair’s problem was that Rumsfeld et al were so sure that Saddam was packing (WMD that is) that they neglected to bring a along a throw-down nuke to placate the Internal Affairs boyos.

    So, in my book, Blair is not a goon or a thug. Just craven.

  26. Oh, I don’t know. All told, Britain tends to see more future sticking close to the U.S. than to Europe, which both of our countries view as batshit insane. If that means occasionally getting bogged down in something silly or questionable, well, that’s the price of alliance. Blair’s no fool, but he got caught in a lose-lose situation. And he lost.

    Let’s all remember, too, that if Iraq had become a shiny little liberal nation, all would’ve been forgiven as far as WMDs, etc. went. But, as Cheney said in the first Gulf War, trying to get these people to play nice together (i.e., Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites, etc.) is well nigh impossible. Oops.

  27. Pro Lib: Yes, Blair announced (or at least assumed everyone knew) that he was stepping down, months ago. Even British GQ was interviewing Gordon Brown back then with a “So what will you do when you’re PM?” slant.

  28. Rich,

    I feared it was so. Better put that Water of Life back in the ‘fridge. And no libertarian president, either. Shucks.

  29. He probably calculates its best to go before he is brought down anyway. He thinks he has a chance to find another role in life other than defendant, which is what his political bagmen face given there is corruption scandal about to end up in the UK courts.

  30. …Street Smart will win the KY Derby…

  31. My prescience is better than that. I predict that Street Sense won the Kentucky Derby.

    What do you mean, what’s wrong with my tenses? Time is relative.

  32. Pro Libertate,

    The UK’s relationship with Europe waxes and wanes, as it does with the U.S. Consider that neither the UK nor any other nation in NATO got involved in Viet Nam. The so-called “special relationship” is as often as not a myth rather than a reality.

  33. Grotius,

    Oh, I agree. It’s just waxing (or waxed?) right now. Certain Middle East scholars might point to a time where we were not quite on the same side not so long ago.

    Still, I think we’re pretty firm allies, for the most part. I even think that of most of the rest of Europe, to a lesser extent, though we argue and bicker like a family living too close together.

  34. I prefer Henry VIII’s method of dealing with disgraced Prime Ministers. [Chancellors, actually, which was the equivalent post in those days.]

    🙁 |–

  35. I beg to differ.

  36. “though we argue and bicker like a family living too close together”

    Yeah. Sharing the same planet with the French can be a pain.

    On second thought, make that “the same galaxy”.

  37. Aresen,

    You only say that because of Quebec. You should’ve put them down, long ago. Like we did. See any French here? Nope. And that little bit of French culture left in Louisiana was distorted and twisted out of any recognizable form. Which is the American way. Now we just have quaint remnants like New Orleans or parts of Illinois–“Look, honey, there were some French people here once. Who knew?”

    However, French people in France I’ve got no problem with.

  38. Consider that neither the UK nor any other nation in NATO got involved in Viet Nam.

    I know a certain French Gulf War veteran who would be ashamed of you for forgetting his country.

  39. If somebody looks at the blood-drenched disaster that he helped create and thinks that he did the right thing, that makes him a thug.

    It really is that simple, sometimes. Or at least it is when the disaster is bad enough. This one is.

  40. Well, calling him a ‘thug’ may be a semantic quibble. Interestingly, I remember a time when he was offhandedly referred to as ‘the British Bill Clinton.’ And not just by Americans.

    One could say that in any case, we have probably seen the last of him; but now begin his terribly lucrative speaking-engagement tours.

    As well as any cushy jobs lined up by the Bush admin for their boy on Downing Street.

  41. Brown is a boob. He was responsible for selling off half of the UK’s stockpile of gold at the absolute nadir of the gold price in 2000. Gold market followers refer to that low in the gold price ($252 per ounce) as the “Brown bottom”.

  42. T,

    Despite your expertise on the war in iraq, there is nothing simple about it.

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