Blah blah blah

"With Iraq inevitably casting a shadow over his legacy after a decade in Downing Street..." Daily Torygraph
With Iraq inevitably casting a shadow over his legacy after a decade in Downing Street..." - Sky News
Iraq will cast shadow on Blair's legacy" - USA Today
"Iraq war casts long shadow over Blair's tenure" - St Petersburg Times
"How Iraq cast a shadow over Blair’s foreign policy" - FT

Blah blah blah blah blah.

Two million people lifted out of of poverty? Overshadowed. Half a million children lifted out of child poverty? Overshadowed. 20% cut in unemployment? Overshadowed.

The question is: for whom are these achievements overshadowed by the war? I believe that it is not the proverbial citizen on the Clapham omnibus, but the cosseted denizens of the media village and the middle class chatterers who set their life by them. For most people, if Blair’s legacy is overshadowed by something, it is the fact that our schools and our hospitals are still fucked – the sort of day to day concerns that actually make a difference to our lives. It is only for a narrow elite that guilt about distant, abstract suffering trumps the tangible suffering of those nearby. In other words, if Iraq is Blair’s shadow, it is largely Blair’s shadow because the BBC and the broadsheets constantly tell us it is.

It is probably vain to hope that in the long run the removal of the Taliban and the Ba’athists might be seen as the high point if Blair’s legacy, but it is instrucitve that in the week that the West’s liberal press considers this his worst mistake, the democratically mandated government of Iraq calls for Gordon Brown to keep our troops in Iraq.

(And what, by the way, is Jimmy Carter's presidency remembered for?)


Will said…
Off topic....

I noticed you couldn't get the download from Asayake's site of the second PDF. Email me and I'll send you it return email.

dstpfw (at)

Anonymous said…
650,000 dead and rising. A trifle? Acceptable collateral damage?
W/o the war we probly would have had 4 m lifted out of poverty, not 1/2 m kids out poverty but 1.5 million, w/o war 75% cut in unemployment and that w/o increase in the weapon manufacturing industries like BAA.

You know I was for the war initially. I believed Ariel Sharon when he warned Israeli citizens to prepare for biological weapons from Iraq... Well how stupid was I?
bob said…
Thanks to GM and Daniel for comments (and Will for offer). No, of course I don't think the dead of Iraq are a trifle.

(Although I completely dispute the figure of 650,000 dead. I think the Iraq Body Count estimate of 60-70,000 is more likely to be right, which is close to the UN and Iraqi Health Ministry figures. But obviously, this is no trifle either.)

I also think that these deaths are not Blair's "fault" (or Bush's fault for that matter). Yes, the war has been prosecuted in an appalling way, and Blair must share some of the blame for this with Rumsfeld, Cheney et al.

But there were good reasons for going to war, for removing the Saddam regime (which itself was responsible for many deaths) and for continuing to stand up against the takfirists and the Iranian-backed jihadists - who, after all, are the ones who are actually continuing to kill people in large numbers.
Thanks for clarifications!

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