Thursday 17 July 2003

Tony Blair - Prisoner Of War

by Greg Palast

Fetch Tony Fetch.... Good boy.... 'Here, boy! Sit! Here y'go! Good boy!'

Poor George Bush. All week he's been practicing his lines for presenting Tony Blair with a special medallion for his services to the USA when the British Prime Minister arrives in Washington tomorrow. Unfortunately for Bush, Mr. Blair's handlers realized what joy it would bring to England's political cartoonists for the President to hang a gilded collar around the man now known as 'Bush's poodle,' a nasty, if wholly justified, sobriquet.

Blair is in the doghouse with his own Labour Party for having been caught in a fib. Seems the Brits have their knickers in a twist about their leader's ludicrous fabrication of evidence that Saddam Hussein had jars of bad bugs, piles of atomic mud and an evil chemistry set in his basement capable of wiping away London. I've just read a Parliamentary report in which Blair's own minister calls his boss' claims about the bogus Weapons of Mass Destruction, 'a bunch of Horlicks.' The phrase defies translation, but you get the idea. So does Tony ñ which is why England's bookies are giving 2-to-9 odds Blair will ask our president for political asylum.

To Americans, the English Parliament's bad attitude is a mystery. After all, our own President repeated Blair's goofy allegations that Saddam was buying nuclear bomb fixings from Africa -- among other WMD howlers and whoppers. But in America, if you believe Fox TV, only whiners, traitors and the last three Democrats had some kind of problem with official mendacity. In fact, that's why Blair was supposed to get the medal. Hell, anyone can go to war based on the facts; it takes a true ally like Mr. Tony to send kids into gunfire based on a packet of fictions.

How did Blair get into this fix? The answer is, he can't help himself: Blair's an Ameriphiliac. I watched the Prime Minister's mad affection for all things American while working for BBC and the Guardian/Observer in London, a Yank in King Tony's court. Over the past six years of his administration, I've seen his puppy love for Bill Clinton degenerate into pathetic poodledom at the heel of George Bush. His need to pad along behind Bush is the result of the strange pathologic politics that Blair calls, 'modernization.' Blair, you see, hates Britain.

This Prime Minister despises his storybook countryside and its grumbling farmers with their two little pigs and their tiny fields edged with dry stone. He cringes at the little bell ringing over the door of the village post office - so quaint and so maddeningly inefficient. He cannot fathom a nation that weeps when he shuts the last filthy coal pits.

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