The Curious Case of Tony Blair

BY KIAN RAHIMNEJAD

SAUSALITO, CA - MAY 24: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair looks on during the Khosla Ventures Cleantech Discussion May 24, 2010 in Sausalito, California. Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla announced today that Tony Blair Associates will serve as special advisors to Khosla Ventures to advocate for environmental issues and use their global relationships to assist Khosla's broad portfolio of clean technology companies maximize their effectiveness in achieving their environmental goals. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Most unpopular politicians, particularly those whose approval rating is only slightly higher than Satan’s, find that after leaving office, it is best to stay out of the public eye and keep a low profile. Old ‘Dubya’ himself withdrew from most sectors of public life and spent his days after transferring power to President Obama forlornly painting dog portraits. Nixon hid from the limelight post-presidency, preferring to complete his memoirs. Tony Blair, however, somehow missed the memo. Most recently, he released an op-ed in The New York Times, mumbling about populism on the left and right, calling them both equally dangerous, somehow equating a ban on Muslims with the idea that healthcare is a human right. But that is not all. Whenever the drums of war begin beating, whether for the placement of ground troops in Syria or airstrikes in Yemen, count on Mr. Blair’s huge, elephant ears to fly him, in a Dumbo-like fashion, to the nearest microphone where he can voice his support for the next big military engagement. Like an awkward creature, unaware of the irony in supporting a war in Syria after destroying his reputation supporting one in Iraq, he wonders why the British citizenry want nothing to do with him, considering he has such great, bipartisan takes! The government of Kazakhstan absolutely adored Blair after he provided them with damage-limitation advice after massacring labor protestors. Why can’t the British people feel the same? Alas, it appears British voters do not appreciate their prime minister declaring to the American president, “I will be with you, whatever,” promising to stand behind Bush, unconditionally, in any type of war he chooses to start in Iraq, regardless of the presence of concrete evidence of WMDs. If only Blair was able to show some of that dog-like loyalty he showed Bush to his own citizens.

As put eloquently by writer Sam Kriss, Tony Blair rises every couple of months, like a bubble of swamp gas. First there’s an uneasy buried rumbling, then small tremors shake the surface, and then suddenly he bursts through, a gassy eruption stinking of sulphur. It doesn’t matter how many rounds you fire into his shambling frame; he just won’t die.”  But how, many wonder, does somebody like Blair find the audacity to show his face in public? Why can he not leave the world alone, in peace, as it struggles to rebuild itself from his gaffes? Perhaps, he mistakes the admiration from a few oafish establishment Labour Officials and online opinion writers as national consensus. Zoe Williams of The Guardian thinks people should stop calling Tony Blair a war criminal and be proud of his record. Owen Smith, who lost in a landslide election trying to oust democratic socialist Jeremy Corbyn from Labour Party leadership, preached that “Labour must heed its Blairite heritage.” The neoliberal elites, who have professionalized losing elections, can maintain their narrative and ramble as they see fit, inside of their north London echo chambers, about the “centrist” brilliance of the Blairite legacy.  However, it is increasingly obvious that politics in the United Kingdom have moved on without them. With Brexit, the rise of Nigel Farage, and their long-time enemy Corbyn taking the helm of their party, the political system the neoliberals have spent years putting in place now seems so far from reality.

Mr. Blair represents a relic of the political past, someone who stands for nothing and will shill himself as an “advisor” to the nearest dictator for a quick penny. He is someone who possesses no true beliefs or principles, yet consistently tries to slither into people’s lives as a “leader.” Perhaps he does not understand what he did wrong. Maybe he truly believes the Iraq War was a righteous, justified engagement for the betterment of the world that would liberate the Iraqi people. Perhaps he believes people should not worry about the innocent civilians killed in the crusade to “liberate” them! Even if they are dead, their souls will be liberated!  If that is the case, then full respect to Mr. Blair for his gallant bravery. It sincerely takes a great degree of valiance to send your nation’s children, but not your own children, to an untimely death in the deserts of Mesopotamia. For all of Mr. Blair’s courage, however, he is yet to do one thing. Never has he been able to muster up the backbone to spend five minutes of his evening with the father of an Iraqi child his air force blew to bits, and explain to him that it was justified and that the ends justify the means; that the father is now liberated and his child was simply collateral damage.  And until he does this, without his security detail on hand, not even all the perfumes of Arabia can mask the stench of the skeletons in his closet.

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