What Is It With Tony Blair?

I can’t remember the legal term for it but in court when you’re cross-examining a witness you’re not allowed to inject questions about issues unless the other side raised them in the direct examination. That’s sort of what happened to Bush. From the moment he uttered the phrase ‘full sovereignty’, it’s been open season.

A day after President Bush declared in a major speech that Iraqis would exercise authority over their own affairs, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in London that Iraq’s interim government would have the right to veto specific military operations by the U.S.-led coalition, a view American officials immediately disputed. And French President Jacques Chirac told Bush in a telephone conversation that France wanted any new U.N. Security Council resolution to spell out clearly that the Iraqis would have a say over U.S.-led military operations.

The BA has been running around saying that there was going to be a ‘handover’ on June 30 no matter what but no one has been, until now, holding their feet to the fire to get a straight answer about exactly what that means. Then Junior opened the door to the issue Monday night and Tony Blair jumped right into the snake pit by publicly assuming that ‘full’ meant ‘full’, which, of course, it doesn’t, as those of us who understand the games Bush plays wih words knew as soon as he said it. That Tony didn’t know it should be troubling to Brits.

I like Blair, I have to admit. He comes across as the reasonable man in the unreasonable situation, but his insistent naivete when it comes to the Bush Administration is paradoxical, or at least mysterious. Tony Blair is not an idiot, yet he persists in acting like he’s three fries short of a Happy Meal whenever Bush is around. Alright, he bought Feith’s Chalabi-generated lies about WMD’s in Iraq; so did a lot of other people. But then he bought the Niger documents that his own Foreign Office knew were forgeries; he swallowed Colin Powell’s UN speech whole although he must have known at that point that most of it was based on bogus information; and he has defended like a trooper the BA protestations of ignorance over Abu Ghraib, Kimmet’s odious defense of the wedding-party cock-up with the standard Israeli excuse–‘They were shooting at us’–despite the video evidence to the contrary, and now this.

You’d think somebody as smart as Blair would know by now that when he’s been lied to several dozen times the chances are pretty good he’s being lied to again. But no. Once again he’s embarrassed himself in public by assuming Bush meant what he said when it’s perfectly obvious to the rest of the world that he didn’t.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the U.S. did not intend to give the Iraqis authority over American operations in Iraq. He said the relationship between the interim government and coalition forces would be negotiated only after the new officials were named.”Obviously, we would take into account whatever they might say at a political and military level,” Powell told reporters in Washington. “Ultimately, however, if it comes down to the United States armed forces protecting themselves or in some way accomplishing their mission in a way that might not be in total consonance with what the Iraqi interim government might want to do at a particular moment in time, U.S. forces remain under U.S. command and will do what is necessary to protect themselves.”

In other words, the Pentagon will remain in control, handover or no handover, and the only man in the whole world surprised by that ‘clarification’ is Boy Georgie’s British puppet, Tony Blair. Chirac, who manipulated Junior shamelessly for his own ends when the new Pres went on his first extended European holiday right after his inauguration, was sufficiently realistic to demand specifics.

French President Jacques Chirac told Bush in a telephone conversation that France wanted any new U.N. Security Council resolution to spell out clearly that the Iraqis would have a say over U.S.-led military operations.

See, Jacques has had enough experience with the lies of the BA to want what ‘full’ means spelled out in writing–he wants the corporate CEO’s running the US held to a contract. Blair is merely using the common sense of an intelligent man expecting the BA to do the rational thing.

In a London news conference Tuesday, Blair seemed to be reassuring the French and other Security Council members when he said that the Iraqis would be allowed to block U.S. military plans.”If there’s a political decision as to whether you go into a place like Fallouja in a particular way, that has to be done with the consent of the Iraqi government,” Blair said, in a reference to recent U.S. attacks on Sunni Muslim insurgents in that city. “The final political control remains with the Iraqi government. That’s what the transfer of sovereignty means.”

Sounds logical enough, doesn’t it? That is, after all, what the word ‘full’ means in English, and Junior used that word–several times. In a normal, rational world, Blair should have been able to assume that the head of the US govt meant what he said in a public speech. But the world of the Bushies is neither normal nor rational; it is the comic-book Bizarro world of saying one thing and doing the opposite and it has been that way for three years, yet Blair simply doesn’t catch on. If I was a Brit, Blair’s continued naivete would worry me. A lot.

Oh, and one more consequence of the legal doctrine I mentioned to start with: Bush’s use, finally, of the word ‘occupation’ has allowed others to admit publicly that that’s what this is.

A senior Bush administration official in Baghdad said he expected the U.S. to negotiate an agreement with the Iraqi interim government in early June.”It is a crucial issue,” said the official, who spoke on condition that he not be named.

The Iraqi government, he said, will have “a seat at the table” when military decisions are made. But he bristled when asked whether that meant the Iraqis would have the explicit power to block U.S. military plans.

“We went through half a century with Germany, half a century with Japan, and we didn’t talk like that,” he said, referring to the issue of veto power. (emphasis added)

There it is, right out in the open–the comparison of Iraq to the occupations of Germany and Japan after WW II.

Tony? Got it yet?

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