Hardy Perennial

Edward Pearce · Blair's Ignorance

Interviewed on PM this afternoon, fresh from giving evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry, Tony Blair spoke scornfully of 'all those people' treating Iran ‘softly', which is to say, not bombing it. Presumably, 'people' means Barack Obama. He was speaking only days after Tunisian public rage rose up against one of those 'Bastions against Muslim Extremism' that replaced the 'Bastions against Communism'. What has happened in Tunisia could happen across the Middle East.

As Patrick Cockburn points out in today's Independent, one of Blair's problems is ignorance:

even more damning and more destructive than what he did before the war was Mr Blair's failure to learn much about the country after the invasion. Going by his evidence, he seems to think, as well as speak, in slogans. In his evidence he lost no opportunity to blame the Iranian hidden hand for destabilising Iraq and backing al-Qaida.

This may go down well when Mr Blair talks to paranoid Sunni rulers in the Gulf or audiences of neo-cons in the US, but very little of it is true. Iran was never likely to give much support to al-Qa'ida, which was more intent on slaughtering Shia in Iraq than killing Americans.

Oscar Wilde was wrong about ignorance: it is not a 'delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.' It is a hardy perennial.


  • 22 January 2011 at 9:34pm
    ThermidorRequiredNow says:
    Blair ought to be super-glued forehead to forehead with the corpse of a recent Iraqi bombing victim, forced to watch the face decay into putrefaction, forced to smell the rot of death for weeks on end, forced to repeatedly scrub his once pristine shirtfront as the brain inside the connecting skull liquifies and pours out of the horribly gaping and forever silenced mouth.

    Journalists who supported Blair's perverse machinations, on the other hand, ought to be impaled on a bed of a thousand exquisite Mont Blancs, the reservoirs of which filled with the blood of the British lives wasted in this contemptuous folly.

    • 24 January 2011 at 9:03am
      outofdate says: @ ThermidorRequiredNow
      Ze imagination runs riot. There's an amusing scene in Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, one of those American writers who are proudly defiant of irony, where the inevitable Colonel Kurtz character pulls a Vietcong prisoner's eyes out of their sockets and turns them round to make him watch his own execution. It could happen, but you do worry slightly about Johnson's immediate family.

  • 24 January 2011 at 12:50pm
    Joe Morison says:
    Blair is steadily becoming a more and more bizarre creature. When Rowan Williams said "I think Tony Blair is one of the most un-Dostoyevskian characters in Britain" i take him as meaning that Blair absolutely does not look into himself with any true questioning, with any moral doubt. And that's because if he did so look, what he'd see would at the least cause a massive breakdown. His tragedy is that he went into the war believing he was doing good, he wasn't one of the cynics who knew it was all about oil.
    His moral vanity and hubris were such he ignored all the sage advice that one seldom makes things better with a war, that the problems after occupation would become intolerable. He had three Iraq experts around him for a while during the run up to the invasion. I heard one on the telly saying that after listening to their advice about how hard it would be, Blair would say something like "But Saddam's evil, isn't he?" He told Sue Lawley on 'Desert Island Discs' that the novel he'd take would be 'Lord of the Rings' and i believed him because i think that's how he sees the world.
    When i saw him at the inquiry, so bizarrely and almost plasticly orange, so utterly certain of his moral rectitude and insight, i thought he looked like a hollow man. Someone living entirely on the surface and in the sound of their own rhetoric. I rather think he may be in hell, but of course he doesn't know it.