When historians look back on the staggering incompetance of the Bush years they will surely conclude that if not for Tony Blair much of the insanity would never have happened. Especially regarding the whole sorry mess in Iraq, if Tony Blair and the British had stood with rest of the world instead of with Bush, it’s unlikely the invasion would ever have happened.
Though we can’t fix the past we can hope that Blair’s replacement, Gordon Brown, has the sense to, as Anatole Kaletsky writes,Â “break with the American Crazies”:
There is now strong evidence that President Bush didnâ€™t even know the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims when he decided to attack Iraq – and that dissenting opinions were simply blocked by Mr Cheney before they could reach the Presidentâ€™s desk.
The State Department had prepared to send hundreds of diplomats and private sector construction experts with Arab-language skills and Middle East experience to help to rebuild Iraq. But less than a month before the war started, all these people were â€œstood downâ€ on orders from Mr Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, as their Middle East experience would bias them towards an â€œIslamistâ€ and defeatist worldview. The peremptory disbandment of the Iraqi Army and the Baath party, now regarded as the worst mistake of the immediate postwar period, was decided at the â€œhighest levelâ€ in Washington and was then imposed against the advice of the US military governor Jay Garner, who quickly understood the anarchy that this would unleash.
The list of misjudgments and mistakes could go on and on, but my point should by now be obvious. The question Mr Brown must now ask himself is whether he can still allow himself to remain publicly allied to a US Administration that is so recklessly belligerent in its diplomatic conduct, so demonstrably incompetent in warfare and so irresponsibly dangerous to the peace of the world.