Dead Men Left

Friday, March 25, 2005

Robin Cook on Blair's bedtime thoughts

In The Guardian:

I suspect also that as Tony Blair turned out the bedroom light last night, he was mystified that the controversy over Iraq still haunts him. In the many conversations we had in the run-up to the war, he always assumed that the war would end in victory, and that military triumph would silence the critics. In his worst nightmares Tony Blair never dreamt that Iraq would dog him a whole two years later.

Part of the reason why Iraq has stubbornly stayed at the top of the agenda is the breathtaking naivety with which both the White House and Downing Street believed the easy promises of Iraqi exiles that foreign occupation would meet with no resistance. As the defence select committee pointed out in its timely report yesterday, a consequence of that glib assumption was that the coalition forces were woefully badly prepared for the hostile environment in which they have had to operate.

Amongst the good reasons for supporting Iraqis right to resist are the immense difficulties its successes create for governments like Blair's, embroiled in Iraq but simultaneously pushing privatisation and attacks on welfare at home. Unlike the debased Wilsonian moralising that terribly enlightened "left" apologists for colonialism indulge in, real international solidarity has always been like this. Working-class self-interest demands a genuine internationalism. Freeing Iraq means striking a blow against neoliberalism everywhere else.