Tony Blair's Mad Speech About Iraq
By PATRICK COCKBURN
"Dear Prime Minister,
I was astonished, reading your speech on the Middle East delivered to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on August 1, to find all the traits of those insane letter writers. There is even the same mad person's obsessive capitalization. In the complex crises in the Middle East and beyond you say you see primarily 'a struggle between what I will call Reactionary Islam and Moderate, Mainstream Islam.' Your vision is an apocalyptic one. You see 'an elemental struggle about values' and it turns out that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq 'were not just about changing regimes but changing value systems. The banner was not actually "regime change" it was "values change."'
Traditional Islam is growing stronger in Sunni Iraq because it has shown that it can fight the foreign invader in a way that secular nationalists, like Saddam Hussein, demonstrably failed. Among the Shia it is the followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, the nationalist cleric, who won 30 seats in the Iraqi parliament. The political success stories in Iraq are of those who combine Islam, nationalism and an ability to fight. The US, with Britain trotting along behind, may soon find it embroiled in a war with the 15-16 million strong Shia community in Iraq as well as with the Sunni. "