Blair of Arabia

Blair of Arabia

This neat piece of photoshopping in Salon caught my eye…

Image (c) Salon, 2004

The picture heads an acute review by Andrew O’Hehir of Robin Cook’s memoirs and Philip Stephens’s biography of Blair. Excerpt:

“Yet Blair’s former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, who resigned from his Cabinet position to protest the Iraq war decision, suggests that the prime minister is not being honest about his own beliefs. In the most damaging passage of his extraordinary memoir “The Point of Departure” (a book that should be read by anyone interested in the global fortunes of the electoral left), Cook writes that he told Blair, on March 5, 2003, that “Saddam did not have real weapons of mass destruction that were designed for strategic use.” Blair made no effort to contradict him. “What was clear from this conversation,” Cook writes, “was that he did not believe it himself.”

What is clear from Cook’s book, and from Philip Stephens’ fascinating new Blair biography aimed at American readers, is that Blair has compelled himself to believe he did the right thing in Iraq, and did it for the right reasons. If he is misleading the world, and perhaps even himself, about what he knew and when he knew it, it’s because he needs to think of himself as an independent-minded liberal interventionist driven by “a melding of strategic calculation and moral fervor,” in Stephens’ phrase, rather than, say, a spineless transatlantic toady who got steamrollered by the neocons in Washington…”