Posts Tagged ‘Abbot Bernard’

Tony Blair is still trying to justify his Iraq idiocy

April 24, 2014

The Iraq war, where Tony Blair played poodle to George Bush, was prosecuted on a lie. They didn’t like Saddam Hussain and so they got rid of him. They sexed up their dossiers about Weapons of Mass Destruction. They sold the lie to the United Nations. They managed to establish the principle that any state may get involved in regime-change in any other state – whenever it has the desire and the might to do so. Their idiot-behaviour has led to the growth of subsequent terrorism and of large numbers of  radicalised, Muslim, idiot-youth.

The view history takes of Tony Blair will not be pretty. He will – I think – be seen as an opportunistic, money-grubbing, dishonest politician who took advantage of his former high position for obscene personal gain. The growth of radicalised Muslim youth in Europe with their juvenile antics in search of jihad are a direct consequence of the Iraq War and the War on Terror. But Tony Blair is getting worried about his legacy and his place in history and he is at it again. He would like the world to believe that radical Islam – which he helped to create – must be confronted in a new Crusade.

Tony Blair’s speech seeking to rally global support for a confrontation with Islamic extremism generated a storm of reaction, most of it negative and much of it focusing on the messenger rather than the message.

The director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Chris Doyle, said the former prime minister had been right to underline the importance of the subject in his Bloomberg speech but was sharply critical of the way he went about tackling it.

Doyle said: “Blair is largely right to highlight the issue. Islamic extremism is not on the wane. It is flourishing in many areas of the world. Nobody should be complacent. “It is his solutions that are very problematic – particularly the idea that people in the Middle East have to choose between dictatorship and Islamic extremism, and in criticising the Muslim Brotherhood he has endorsed the military leadership in Egypt. But the choice the people of the region need is not between dictatorship and extremism but between those systems and pluralist democratic rule. In fact, dictatorships have often been a significant cause of frustration and anger, and a driving force behind the rise of al-Qaida.”

…….  The Palestinian editor of the Rai al-Youm news website, Abdel Bari Atwan, said: “Blair is implying that extremist Islam is a danger for the whole world. But the target is the Muslim Brotherhood. He is a very good friend of Mr Sisi in Egypt and he does a lot of consultancy work in the region so it’s not surprising that he’s speaking out. He had spent years as peace envoy but what kind of peace has he achieved? We have to differentiate between radical Islam and moderate Islam. If you criminalise Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood then you are pushing them into extremism.”

Much of the commentary focused on Blair’s own credibility on the subject as much as the subject itself, particularly his role in leading Britain into the war in Iraq alongside the former US president George W Bush.

Doyle said: “Before 2003, there wasn’t an issue of al-Qaida in Iraq. There is now. Intervention is highly risky and almost always leads to situations where extremists flourish. They profit from instability, civil war and the inability of states to manage their territories.”

A columnist for the Saudi-owned al-Hayat daily, Jihad al-Khazen, said: “Blair and George W Bush are as responsible for radical Islam as any of its leaders. The war in Iraq caused the death of almost a million Muslims. It gave a reason for every radical in the Middle East to go to war against the west. “I don’t think Blair will absolve himself of responsibility by making this speech. He talks about how the Middle East matters but he says nothing about Israel’s continuing occupation. He is definitely not the right person to be lecturing on this subject – or to be a peace envoy. That’s an oxymoron.”

….. Meanwhile, a columnist on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer, tweeted:

“The fascinating thing about Blair’s speech today is that it could have been a Netanyahu speech, word-for-word, they share the same outlook.”

Blair continues to be one of the most successful recruiters for radical Islam.

Perhaps at the root of all of this is the suspicion that those who will welcome Blair’s speech most will be the radical Islamists right across the region and beyond. One aim of the 9/11 attacks was to incite a vigorous military response that that could be represented as a war not just against radical Islamists but against Islam itself. A “clash of civilisations” may be too strong a phrase for Blair’s speech but a clash of beliefs is not too strong a term to use, to which an Islamist response might well be – “bring it on”.

The War on Terror is a crusade gone wrong. Certainly radical Islam is barbaric and uncivilised. But being barbaric and uncivilised against radical Islam, as Blair is and would like others to be, only legitimises and perpetuates the barbarism. Iraq has been followed by Afghanistan, by Libya, by Egypt and now by the fiasco in Syria. Much blood has been shed but all these irresponsible adventures have been spectacular failures in the War on Terror. Abu Ghraib and unmanned drones and State Terrorism and collateral damage have only legitimised the use of terror as a tactic of war. Boko Haram have learned the lesson.

Perhaps Tony Blair needs to be compared with Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux and his role in the disastrous Second Crusade of 1145:

…. the Second Crusade, launched in 1145, is generally regarded as a disaster for the Christian West. Even those who took part in the Crusade saw it as a failure. According to William of Tyre:   Thus a company of kings and princes such as we have not read of through all the ages had gathered and, for our sins, had been forced to return, covered with shame and disgrace, with their mission unfulfilled…. henceforth those who undertook the pilgrimages were fewer and less fervent. 

…. Brundage claims that the failure of the Crusade to achieve any victories whatever in the east emboldened Muslim military leaders, destroyed the myth of western prowess in arms, and was to be responsible, at least in part, for causing the Muslim states of the east to draw closer together, to unite for further attacks upon the Latin states. He says that the end of the Second Crusade saw the Muslims preparing to unite, for the first time, against the Latin intruders in their midst, while the Latins, for their part, were divided sharply against one another.

Bernard was the Pope’s poodle as Blair was Bush’s.

One of Bernard’s most influential acts, for better or worse, was his preaching of the Second Crusade. The First Crusade had given the Christian forces control of a few areas in Palestine, including the city of Edessa. When Moslem forces captured Edessa (37:08 N 38:46 E, now called Urfa and located in eastern Turkey) in 1144, King Louis VII of France (not to be confused with St. Louis IX, also a Crusader, but more than a century later) was eager to launch a crusade to retake Edessa and prevent a Moslem recapture of Jerusalem (31:47 N 35:13 E). He asked Bernard for help, and Bernard refused. He then asked the Pope to order Bernard to preach a Crusade. The pope gave the order, and Bernard preached, with spectacular results. Whole villages were emptied of able-bodied males as Bernard preached and his listeners vowed on the spot to head for Palestine and defend the Sacred Shrines with their lives.

…. As for the Crusade, things went wrong from the start. The various rulers leading the movement were distrustful of one another and not disposed to work together. Of the soldiers who set out (contemporary estimates vary from 100,000 to 1,500,000), most died of disease and starvation before reaching their goal, and most of the remainder were killed or captured soon after their arrival. The impact on Bernard was devastating, and so was the impact on Europe.

 I don’t much care for Tony Blair.

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