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Blair Shows His Charmingly Imperialist Side

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Posted on Sep 19, 2008
Stewart and Blair
comedycentral.com

Tony Blair went to “The Daily Show” to talk about politics but found himself defending the Iraq war much more than he might have liked. The former politician, who still seems desperate to sell the nobility of invading and occupying Iraq, also managed to include some of the tired 9/11 rhetoric from Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign.

The Daily Show:

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 23, 2008 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

By Sepharad, September 22 at 6:43 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)
=========================
Hello again Sepharad! Thank you for sharing some personal interesting information. I enjoyed reading what you wrote and was overjoyed to find that we have many things in common. I do particularly appreciate your thoughtful desire to see justice and self determination for the Palestinians. I strongly believe that when this conflict is resolved it would usher a period of peace and prosperity not only in the Middle East but throughout the world. Many extreme parties on both sides of this conflict are capitalizing on and exploiting this unfortunate situation to further their un-Godly agendas. And politicians love that. Therefore, when a large scale movement of people-to-people for peace replace the politicians or at least marginalize their games, there will be hope for peace. However, sad as this thing to say, I know I will not live to see that glorious day!

Stay in touch and all my best to you and your lovely family, including the horses, for they are my favorites in the animal kingdom and I had a long love affair with horses when life was more promising, simple and natural!

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By Sepharad, September 22, 2008 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

continuing, to Fadel Abdallah, last by not least,
it doesn’t surprise me that living in Spain had such a good and lasting impact on you. On earlier posts you’ve shared information regarding Al Andalus in its golden age, a period that has also fascinated me. We were only there for two weeks, one of them in Seville while I did research in their Archive of the Indies, but the other week my husband, son and I drove along the coast, through the “white towns” on those steep, steep hills, and visited the Alhambra as well as the Alcazar but most impressive was the great mosque of Cordoba. After years of research on the Islamic period there, seeing it was transforming. It did give me a lot more hope than I had that we can look forward to something more than this perpetual state of war we’ve blundered into. I did draw some negative conclusions about Arab treatment of the Berbers after the initial conquest, but you’ve already given me one exception to what I took as racism toward blacks, and if there’s one exception there are usually many others. No society, no culture is ever perfect. We have the bloody conquest cycle, always have always will no matter how advanced or enlightened we think we’ve become. During the 15 years we published a magazine of California history, for example, the Hispanics called the Anglos racist while the Native Americans called the Hispanics racist, and the Anglos had objections to both groups and also quarrels among on another. Furthermore, the Native Americans objected to articles concerning their practice of capturiong slaves and selling them in Mexico sometimes abettet by Anglos. Our board members were drawn from every group, and there were some of them who would not attend meetings if the other one was coming. Very interesting. (The reason we started the magazine in the first place was that the director of the state historical society told me that nothing important happened in California until the Anglos got here. That got my attention. Challenges have always interested me. We did the magazine for 15 years and had more subscribers than their society had members.) I think individuals are more important than groups, and am delighted that you’ve settled in the U.S. Don’t believe everything you hear or read, be who you are, and ignore the fools (trust me, we have plenty of those).

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By Sepharad, September 22, 2008 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

continuing, to Fadel Abdallah, last by not least,
it doesn’t surprise me that living in Spain had such a good and lasting impact on you. On earlier posts you’ve shared information regarding Al Andalus in its golden age, a period that has also fascinated me. We were only there for two weeks, one of them in Seville while I did research in their Archive of the Indies, but the other week my husband, son and I drove along the coast, through the “white towns” on those steep, steep hills, and visited the Alhambra as well as the Alcazar but most impressive was the great mosque of Cordoba. After years of research on the Islamic period there, seeing it was transforming. It did give me a lot more hope than I had that we can look forward to something more than this perpetual state of war we’ve blundered into. I did draw some negative conclusions about Arab treatment of the Berbers after the initial conquest, but you’ve already given me one exception to what I took as racism toward blacks, and if there’s one exception there are usually many others. No society, no culture is ever perfect. We have the bloody conquest cycle, always have always will no matter how advanced or enlightened we think we’ve become. During the 15 years we published a magazine of California history, for example, the Hispanics called the Anglos racist while the Native Americans called the Hispanics racist, and the Anglos had objections to both groups and also quarrels among on another. Furthermore, the Native Americans objected to articles concerning their practice of capturiong slaves and selling them in Mexico sometimes abette by Anglos. Our board members were drawn from every group, and there were some of them who would not attend meetings if the other one was coming. Very interesting. (The reason we started the magazine in the first place was that the director of the state historical society told me that nothing important happened in California until the Anglos got here. That got my attention. Challenges have always interested me. We did the magazine for 15 years and had more subscribers than their society had members.) I think individuals are more important than groups, and am delighted that you’ve settled in the U.S. Don’t believe everything you hear or read, keep your own integrity and you’ll be fine.

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By Sepharad, September 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

—continuation of conversation with Fadel Abdallah.—Fadel, you’re right that most Moslems aren’t literally disgusted with Western culture but when I write “Islamist” I mean extreme fundamentalists, not “Islamic” or “Moslems” in general. Qut’b Sadr (hope I have his name right) was teaching at Colorado State University in ‘54 when he became disgusted with the music he heard (“black jungle music”) and men and women dancing closely together. Returning to the Middle East he wrote his experiences and reactions, and these writings were picked up on became very influential among groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and expecially appreciated as important by Al Zawahiri, the Egyptian physician who became Al Quaeda’s strategist, public face and good friend of bin Laden. We have our own fundamentalists in this country, primarily the religious right, who are also very intolerant of differences. And among the Jewish people, here as well as in Israel, we also have religious fundamentalists and militants. It’s very hard to ask for tolerance and cooperation with anyone, of whatever faith, who thinks God is telling them what to do, and we’ve all been hurt by the unfortunate coincidence of seeing fundamentalists in control of the United States at the same time that such groups have become so influential in the Middle East as well as portions of sub-Saharan Africa. In Israel, Jewish fundamentalists have done great harm to Palestinians and to their fellow Jews, but most importantly to the efforts people of good will on both sides have made to bring about two separate viable states.

Frankly, I think we in the largely Christian West are most culpable for letting such people determine our policies because no one has set out to exterminate us, and we don’t we have thousands dying of curable diseases, or—at least until recently—young people who, despite a university education, find that there are no real choices for them except, as one mother of two sons in Cairo put it, with the militants or in the drug business. (But we do have people, besides the fundmentalists, who are greedy, ruthless, unconcerned with the good of the many and this recent economic crisis may finally wake citizens up. The deal they and the politicians are making to “rescue” the banks is terrible, takes no one’s interests except the wealthy Wall Street guys into acount, and should be wholly unacceptable to Congress no matter how often they’re told it has to be settled immediately.)

There was an interesting article today on the front page of the New York Times, featuring interviews with two young Muslim men who have gone to Dubai to work, a freewheeling young Muslim state where there are both mosques and bars, insistence on abiding by the country’s laws, cultural diversity, tolerance, and economic opportunity. I’ve long believed that equal and sufficient economic opportunity, education, diversity and tolerance are the only answer to what people keep calling “a clash of civilizations”. Our family is so ethnically mixed that when our daughter registered for high school she asked me what she should put in the “race” box. No single one applied, so I told her to write, on the “other” line, every race represented by her four grandparents. Of course she had to turn the paper over to finish, and when she turned it in the woman administrator glared at her then looked at me. All I could say was, “Well, you asked.”—continued—

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By Re, September 22, 2008 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stewart…what an imbecile moron.
Having Blier at his disposal could not make one, ONE serious question to this mass muerderer.
Don’t even pretend to hace a social conscience Stewart, you are another ignorant babbon that has ‘awaken’, that knows ‘what’s going on’ but are totally afraid to face the criminal in the eyes and expose him.
Shame on you.

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By Sepharad, September 21, 2008 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good to hear from you again, Fadel Abdallah, and thanks for braving the bigots to respond. Don’t worry about them too much (unless they are running for political office, in which case both you and I should be VERY worried!). It does help to have a thick skin on some of these threads: people can say very harsh and stupid things that are hurtful.

Speaking of hurtful, my reference to “honor killings” was supposed to be sarcastic, and I apologize if it offended you. I’m losing my writerly touch and manners; some of the extreme comments on these posts are influencing my preference for the literary scalpel to the reliable old sledgehammer. I know “honor killings” exist but in relatively small numbers and usually in places where people follow somewhat conservative interpretations of their religion. Don’t blame MSN, though—my husband and I got rid of our TV when the first of our four kids was old enough for school, and that was 35 years ago. If there is something coming up we don’t want to miss, like the vice-presidential and presidential debates, I offer to cook dinner for friends at their house if they’ll let us watch the program. Luckily, I didn’t know that Sarah Palin was going to make a speech calling for the U.S. to “stop” Iran from going nuclear and justifying it as protecting Israel. Just caught the speech on this site’s A/V booth (“Palin: Ahmadinejad Aiming for ‘Second Holocaust’.”) That speech was so completely stupid that for the first time I used profanity in my posted comments and a lot of all-capital letters. (If I’d been at a friend’s house watching it on a bigger screen I might have thrown something!) Israel has enough trouble keeping its own hawks, like Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz, from doing too much damage without a vice-presidential candidate encouraging them. I can’t imagine anyone who truly cares about America suggesting invading or bombing Iran. Ahmadinejad says a lot of things, sometimes garbled in translation, but the mullahs have the real power and they are neither stupid nor suicidal.

I love this country very very much, and I guess that’s why I criticize it when I think it’s damaging itself. Hence the strong words about our culture. Our values, our standards for education, our respect for science and learning seem to be slipping away and when you see what it does to people, to their essence and their character and their quality, it’s hard not to be disgusted. One of the strengths of the U.S., at least to me, is its diversity and the richness of so many different people from so many different places. What an opportunity—like the United Nations without the bureaucrats. How can we squander it so thoughtlessly? 

I was asking about the interpretation of “Satan” as Tempter because “Satan” has just enough difference of meaning to many religious Americans that they react angrily. Sort of like the Russians did when President Reagan called them an “evil empire.”

—will continue this tomorrow, as I think I am near their word limit, plus it’s getting late, my husband is playing his guitar and looks very sleepy.

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By Sepharad, September 21, 2008 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

itsthemedication—Too true, there are some Zionists (mostly the hyperorthodox religious)and some American Jews who do not have Israel’s, let alone America’s, best interests at heart, at least according to my idea of what those “best interests” are. Delusions of the right to build up an empire on the back of oppressed colonies in fact if not strict definition is not what I’d call healthy for any country. Though not religious—unless you describe secular humanism as a belief system—I consider such behaviors immoral. But there are many, many Zionists (and American Jews) with beliefs and agendas any civilized progressive leftist would recognize and support. It is possible too that there are professional anti-Zionists that are honorable and thoughtful people but I have never met one, excepting a few who simply didn’t have their history and knowledge of the Middle East and its cultures straight. One of the latter, who’d gone to Lebanon in ‘83 to help the battered Palestinians there, became interested enough in their predicament to go into the history in some depth, including newly available declassified Ottoman Archives and British documents. Her name is Joan Peters, and she published her book “From Time Immemorial” (Harpers, 1984) now in its 11th reprinting. You might find it interesting; as a journalist and historian I found the documention impressive. It’s not an apologia for Zionism, just history.

I was also anti-apartheid, but my “activist” activities were some time before that, registering people to vote in the American South in the early ‘60s, and in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s took time out from my reporting and editing to work on getting the Freedom of Information Act passed, along with Sunshine laws (reporter/public access to meetings on local and state level etc), and Privacy rights.

My great-grandfather came to Palestine in 1828 from Romania, and later had two sons. Before he died he said one of them should come to America and one should stay in Israel to make sure at least one branch of the family might survive. In my generation, my relatives in Israel have followed Amos Oz into Peace Now, they have always supported a Palestinian state and sharing Jerusalem, and were active in establishing joint Palestinian-Israeli (both Arabs and Jews)economic and cultural joint programs. Only one, my cousin, is still alive and she’s no longer as optimistic or as open as she had once been. But she still tries. And yes, of course, she served like everyone else in the IDF. Our family here is ethnically mixed, including Algerian Arab as well as Ethiopian, French and Portuguese Jews and of course Romanian Jews. My Algerian son-in-law (secular) is serving in the U.S. military but in civvy life is a materials scientist, and has politics very similar to mine. You can’t put all Zionists in a box. We oppose bad government wherever we see it, whether under Bush or Netanyahu or cold anti-reformists who hope for catastrophe and call themselves revolutionary. These are not true progressives or leftists.

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 21, 2008 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

By Athena Murphy, September 21 at 2:48 am #
(Unregistered commenter)
========================
Thank you Athena Murphy for your revealing contribution. I wish this piece of information would be published in an article or book so it would gain wider readership.

I for one always knew all along that most leaders in Arab-Muslim countries are on the payroll of the CIA. For example, King Abdullah of Jordan, his late father, Hosni Mubarak, most Lebanese political Leaders, the President of Yemen, the Presidents of , Afghanistan and Pakistan, the king of Morocco and the president of Algeria to name few are all bought out.

What surprised me, however, is that your list includes England, France, Germany, Italy. No wonder that the leaders of these countries were quick to sign on Bush’s so-called “war on terror” even without waiting demanding or waiting for a thorough investigation to determine the real culprits first. Indeed, we are living in a new era of “Crusaders” disguised under the banner of security and the war on terror and the Atlantic Pact!

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By Tony Wicher, September 21, 2008 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Athena Murphy, September 21 at 2:48 am #

Thanks for the link. Strong article by the Reagan appointee and ex-Republican. Let me just add some more quotes:

“The Republican candidate for president is a warmonger. There are no checks remaining in the Republican Party on the neocons’ proclivity for war. What Republican constituencies oppose war? Can anyone name one?

The Democrats are not much better, but they have some constituencies that are not enamored of war in order to establish US world hegemony. The Rapture Evangelicals, who fervently desire Armageddon, are not Democrats; nor are the brainwashed Brownshirts desperate to vent their frustrations by striking at someone, somewhere, anywhere.

It is obvious that American foreign policy, with its goal of ringing Russia with US military bases, is leading directly to nuclear war. Every American needs to realize this fact. The US government’s insane hegemonic foreign policy is a direct threat to life on the planet.

Russia has made no threats against America. The post-Soviet Russian government has sought to cooperate with the US and Europe. Russia has made it clear over and over that it is prepared to obey international law and treaties. It is the Americans who have thrown international law and treaties into the trash can, not the Russians…

If you desire to be poor, oppressed, and eventually vaporized in a nuclear war, vote Republican”
—————————————————————————-

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 21, 2008 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Part 2 of my response to Sepharad, September 20
============
I also find it necessary to correct a misconception resulting from your statement that, “Not allowing honor killings is a mark in our favor.” The few isolated cases of the so-called “honor-killings”- highly sensationalized in the MSM, have nothing to do with Islam or its teachings. In fact, it’s the lack of Islam that allows for such isolated cases. In fact, this is a carry over from the negative jealousy of the pre-Islamic tribal code of honor, particularly condemned by the Qur’an as being part of the practices of the days of “Jahiliyyah” (i.e. Pre-Islamic ignorance).

Finally, a personal note about my personal experience with Islam to illustrate that there is no inherent conflict between practicing Islam and living in a non-Muslim majority land and being a good citizen. Before my awareness of Islam at the age 12, I was raised as a Catholic and taken by my Catholic mother to Sunday services. At the age of 12, through my personal contacts with good Muslim friends and few personal role models in Palestine, I became aware that Islam would be my personal religion of choice. However, I would say that I continued only to be a Muslim by name or as secular Muslim for most of my first thirty years of life in Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

It was only when I remigrated to Spain (my birth place) and later to the U.S. that I rediscovered Islam and its beautiful and balanced teachings and became increasingly a committed and practicing Muslim, jealously defending it against the ignorant, and bigots. Because I now respect and practice Islam with deep understanding, I don’t do drugs, get intoxicated with alcohol or worldly glories, don’t sir children out of wedlock, nor practice usury, I believe that what is good for me as a Muslim is good for America or any other part of the world. Though I understand that Islam is not good for everyone, nor I feel comfortable about Muslims who wear their Islam on their shoulder, I do feel great joy when I hear or meet someone who has embraced Islam with sincerity. Despite all the negative press Islam received after 9/11, I strongly believe that Islam, properly understood and practiced, has the potential of replenishing the world’s population with the most serious, decent and productive citizens.

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 21, 2008 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

“Fadel Abdallah, correct me if my understanding is wrong, but isn’t Satan (great or little) the Tempter in Islamic texts? I know many Islamists are upset with increasing contact with Western culture, finding it disgusting, and I’ve gotta say I can sympathize with that. The West is dumbing itself down with the consumer frenzies, the tv, identification with celebrities, emphasis on style over substance. Not allowing honor killings is a mark in our favor, but does not balance out the wickedness of degrading the culture in mass mall big-box mindlessness, letting our schools fall apart, letting human beings sleep under bridges or in doorways.”
=============
Hello Sepharad! Since you address me in person, I feel I should oblige to respond, though I am hesitant to dwell on this subject for fear of the reaction of the few “bigots” on these threads to whom my unusual name and the word “Islam” make them have a knee-jerk irrational reaction!

Yes, I do agree with most of what you said in your post, particularly the part about Al-Qaeda, Iraq and the first Gulf war.

As to Satan, great or little, being the great Tempter in Islamic texts, I need to qualify what you said and provide some explanation. True that “Satan” stands as a symbol of temptation in the Qur’an. However, the Qur’an also states that he (she) has no bad influence on those who have strong faith. It follows that his only control is on those who have the weak defensive mechanism from within, because of the weakness in their faith. It follows also that enlightened Muslims do not blame their individual or collective failures on Satan in a fatalistic way, as your statement might imply. The Qur’an is very clear on this since it states in many places that ultimately we, individually and/or collectively, bear the responsibility for our failures, shortcomings and sins.

Though the Qur’an mentions the story of Adam being tempted by Satan to come close to the “forbidden tree,” there is no fatalistic and permanent “Original Sin” that follows from that in Islam. Adam and Eve, as the first couple, were solely responsible for their failure vis-a-vis Satan’s influence; they realized their mistake, they were taught to pray for forgiveness, which they did, and the All-Merciful God forgave them.

Additionally, I need to add some qualification to what you said about “Islamists are upset with increasing contact with Western culture, finding it disgusting, and I’ve gotta say I can sympathize with that.” Islam does not promote total isolation from the world or other cultures or value systems. The early Muslims were the best in taking what’s valuable and substantive from the cultures and civilizations that preceded Islam. They studied the legacy of the Persians, Indians and Greeks and built upon the best they found in these cultures. The early Muslims thinkers and philosophers honored Aristotle by giving him the honorific title of “Al-Mu’allim Al-Awwal” (i.e. The First Teacher).

Moreover, when the first band of several hundred Muslims were being persecuted by their own people from among the aristocracy of Quraysh, Prophet Muhammad advised them to migrate to Abyssinia and seek the protection of its Christian king who had a reputation for justice and humanity. Of course, like in every culture, there are the naive and undereducated among Muslims who blame their shortcoming and failures on contact with the “decadent culture” of the West. However, enlightened and educated Muslims blame their sell-out leaders for their weakness and decadence and they partly blame their problems on the long period of Western colonialism and modern neo-imperialism. Muslims in general don’t have qualms with Western cultures and values per se, but their qualms are with the Western political-military interference in their lands and with their own imposed leaders who facilitate this interference.

(It seems I exceeded the characters allowed so the rest of my response follows in part 2)

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By itsthemedication, September 21, 2008 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Sepharad wrote:

“But none of it added up to enough to actually invade Iraq, not in our national interest (and not in Israel’s either, for the professional anti-Zs on this site).”

I would like to think of myself as a professional anti-zionist, just as I was against apartheid in South Africa, so I feel a duty to counter the professional zionists on this site.

I spent some years in the American Tel Aviv Embassy, and the hallway talk concerning Iraq was always “oil and Israel.”  The cards are on the table, AIPAC pushed the Likud/Kadima line of “re-birthing the middle east” and Rice actually used that phrase several times in interviews.  Saddam used to slap the conservative government in Israel by giving 10,000 dollars to the families of suicide bombers, and it was a weakened state wedged between Syria and Iran that offered immense potential as a permanent military base that was needed to take on those targets.

Oil of course was the sweetner.  Walt and Mearsheimer led the way in exposing the obvious, American soldiers were/are on a zionist planned mission that just happened to also help Exxon and, of course, fund the greed of the military industrial complex.

Blair was bought, true enough, but Britain, as well as the US, has a strong zionist lobby which, along with the potential for new oil reserves to satisfy British Petroleum, provided enough punch to allow Blair to send what few troops they have left, to the middle east tinderbox. 

Let’s face it, this blundering administration, and Israel’s conservative government are both guilty of war crimes.  These same traitorous neocons are now prodding the Russian bear.  It’s time to dismantle AIPAC, pull the troops out of Iraq, and lick our economic wounds.  Not all of neocons are zionists, but a amazing number are, including, unfortunately, Biden.  We need to equate zionism with extremism and terrorism, because that’s precisely what it is.

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By Athena Murphy, September 21, 2008 at 3:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This very revealing article by Paul Craig Roberts explains the mystery of Blair - there is no mystery. We all know that Blair is now living a life of luxury and that his wife Cherie Blair loves her material possessions more than life itself. They did it for the $$$$$. Nothing more, nothing less:


Back during the Nixon years, my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, Warren Nutter, was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. One day in his Pentagon office I asked him how the US government got foreign governments to do what the US wanted. “Money,” he replied.

“You mean foreign aid?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “we just buy the leaders with money.”

It wasn’t a policy he had implemented. He inherited it and, although the policy rankled with him, he could do nothing about it. Nutter believed in persuasion and that if you could not persuade people, you did not have a policy.

Nutter did not mean merely third world potentates were bought. He meant the leaders of England, France, Germany, Italy, all the allies everywhere were bought and paid for.

They were allies because they were paid. Consider Tony Blair. Blair’s own head of British intelligence told him that the Americans were fabricating the evidence to justify their already planned attack on Iraq. This was fine with Blair, and you can see why with his multi-million dollar payoff once he was out of office.

Paul Craig Roberts is an economist who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration

http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2008/082008Roberts.shtml

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By Tony Wicher, September 20, 2008 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

By diamond, September 20 at 2:27 pm #

I could never understand Blair. I looked at Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the neo cons and thought ‘Well, these people are just not very bright and don’t understand history and have no conscience’ but Blair? I couldn’t understand why he was taken in, but then I found out he was religious and everything fell into place. To him the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are religious crusades, just as some Muslim extremists have claimed. He was and is completely taken in by the ‘clash of civilizations’, ‘clash of religions’ garbage that Bush spouted quite a lot just after 9/11.
——————————————————————————-
I never thought of religious bigotry as a motive for Blair. You might be right. To me that whole “clash of civilizations” business is just the neocon pretext for invading the Middle East and keeping control of its oil. Blair just seems to be a good old-fashioned British imperialist like Bush is a good old-fashioned U.S. imperialist. The’re birds of a feather. The religious justifications are secondary whether they believe them or not. Blair does seems too intelligent to believe them, which makes him a stone-cold psychopath like Cheney.

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By Sepharad, September 20, 2008 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Blair must know that invading Iraq was a colossal mistake. Why didn’t he believe Shinseki’s prediction that removing Iraq’s strong man would inevitably lead to sectarian-based bloodletting? Shinseki also said it MIGHT work with a minimum of 150,000 soldiers. Kind of hoped Jon Stewart would ask him about that, but I suppose Tony would’ve deflected the question. In ‘03, I thought the only conceivable rationale for war was that after the first Gulf war we encouraged the Shiia and Kurds to rebel against Saddam, hinting that we would back them up, but we didn’t and Saddam slaughtered them in a sort of half-assed brutal attempt at genocide. Kanan Makiya’s and Fouad Ajami’s writings were also persuasive. But none of it added up to enough to actually invade Iraq, not in our national interest (and not in Israel’s either, for the professional anti-Zs on this site).

More than anything else, I think 9/11 had mostly to do with American participation in the first Gulf war. Bin Laden offered to push Saddam out of Kuwait with his mujahadeen but the Saudis tapped the Americans instead. He is religiously purer than his Saudi royal relatives and took great offense at the presence of Americans and American bases in Islam. It was pretty far down the line when he mentioned Israel, and Yasser Arafat rather sarcastically responded that he was grateful for the sudden interest but where had Al Quaeda had been the last 50+ years? Bad people on any side will wave whatever red flag works. Distracting impoverished masses living under oil-rich royals will work until the oil runs out.

Fadel Abdallah, correct me if my understanding is wrong, but isn’t Satan (great or little) the Tempter in Islamic texts? I know many Islamists are upset with increasing contact with Western culture, finding it disgusting, and I’ve gotta say I can sympathize with that. The West is dumbing itself down with the consumer frenzies, the tv, identification with celebrities, emphasis on style over substance. Not allowing honor killings is a mark in our favor, but does not balance out the wickedness of degrading the culture in mass mall big-box mindlessness, letting our schools fall apart, letting human beings sleep under bridges or in doorways.

All our country has to do is stop doing stupid things, and if you want to amuse yourself seeing a Zionist go ballistic read my response to Palin’s idiotic idea of stopping Iran’s perceived march to the 2nd Holocaust. I can’t do it again here. Terminal stupidity from whatever source is too depressing to address more than once. Would rather go back outside and work on trail-training highly intelligent Peruvian horses, who have higher IQs than some of our candidates. You can even trust them.

Can’t believe we are about to bail out $1 trillion Wall Street debts out of our taxes. (The American GNP is $3 trillion.) It’s paying people to be greedy. Was glad they let Lehman Bros. go down, but should have done the same for the rest, despite all the Democrats’ and even my hero Paul Krugman’s insisting on the necessity of the bailout, suggesting future regulation etc. We don’t elect any of the Ivy League Wall St. elite, and the people we do elect—even the President—can’t fire them, so in assuming this debt we are more or less accepting a sort of two-layer society with the rich on top playing the financial quick-money games and the rest of us consigned to debt peonage, which is involuntary taxation, no? Have we forgotten the Boston Tea Party? Maybe it’s time for another one, because all the people who are supposed to be on our side—Obama, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, etc.—are OK with making us pay $1 trillion with no apparent penalties for stockholders and hedge fund investors. Heck, Obama’s largest backers are hedgefund people. Once again, we’ll be taking the lesser of two evils. Maybe lichen and Outraged are right. Will now leave into the beautiful day to resume playing with impatiently waiting husband and horses.

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By diamond, September 20, 2008 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

I could never understand Blair. I looked at Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the neo cons and thought ‘Well, these people are just not very bright and don’t understand history and have no conscience’ but Blair? I couldn’t understand why he was taken in, but then I found out he was religious and everything fell into place. To him the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are religious crusades, just as some Muslim extremists have claimed. He was and is completely taken in by the ‘clash of civilizations’, ‘clash of religions’ garbage that Bush spouted quite a lot just after 9/11. Religion switches reason off and for some people that’s such a relief they’re grateful. If Blair has used his intelligence (and he IS intelligent)and not his religious bias he would have figured out that the official story of 9/11 was bullshit and could never have taken place in the real world or anywhere outside of a CIA cover story. His retreat into the arms of Mother Church is completely predictable. I wouldn’t like to be inside his head in the wee small dark hours just before the sun rises. He is a tragic figure of Shakespearean proportions: a man who had greatness in him brought down by a tragic flaw - religious bigotry. His achievement in Northern Ireland stands in stark contrast to his continuation of the Bush Line on Iraq and Afghanistan and his defence of the indefensible.

Just on the subject of Ziad Jarrah. In fact, most of the hijackers seem to have had stolen identities so it’s virtually impossible to know who was actually on the planes and what their nationalities were. There is no evidence, for example, that Mohammed Atta was ever aboard any of the hijacked flights. But the most intriguing and baffling case of all is that of Ziad Jarrah. Jarrah went to Christian private schools all his school life even though he was a Muslim. He was about to move in with a common law wife and phoned a cousin a few days before 9/11 to tell him he was coming to his wedding and had bought a suit for the occasion. There is a photo of him with his parents in February 2001 where he is clean shaven and wearing a neat conservative suit and tie. He looks like a typical, moderate westernized Muslim. He is nowhere to be seen on surveillance camera footage in the airport on or before 9/11 and his name is not on the passenger list of United 93.His parents say the voice on the tape played to them by the FAA is not their son. The FBI has his Lebanese passport and his US visa even though the plane he was on was completely destroyed so that only tiny pieces of it have been found.

To confuse matters even more, there were at least two Ziad Jarrahs.

At 20, Jarrah was boarding at a Catholic school in Beirut and was often in touch with his family. He was picked up and driven home to his parents’ house almost every weekend. In April 1996, he left Lebanon for the first time to study in Germany.  Jarrah number two leased a flat in a three family house in Brooklyn, N.Y. on East 3rd Street. He leased the apartment from March 1995 until February 1996. The lease carried his name and landlords there identified his photograph as being identical to that of the alleged 9/11 hijacker. Jarrah one studied at the Florida Flight Training Centre until the 15th January 2001. He had studied there for the previous six months. His family reported that he arrived in Lebanon to visit on the 26th January 2001, five days before Jarrah number two passed through the United Arab Emirates and was questioned by security at the airport. Jarrah number one’s father had just undergone open heart surgery and his son visited him every day in hospital for over a week. Ziad’s uncle Jamal Jarrah asked, ‘How could he be in two places at once?’ An investigation of the other ‘hijackers’ would turn up similar mysteries and inconsistencies.

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By Tony Wicher, September 20, 2008 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

I must admit that I did not realize before seeing him on the Daily Show what an evil piece of imperialist-Zionist shit Blair is. I think Jon Stewart did a good job of letting him stand there in all his reptilian repulsiveness for all to see.  You could tell that Stewart could barely stand to shake his hand at the end. If possible, he’s even more disgusting than Cheney.

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By MC, September 20, 2008 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Hopefully, by then England will be…  so sick of Blair’s arrogant naive persona farce, that he won’t be safe from prosecution anywhere.”

This happened a long time ago. We despise him. He can’t go anywhere without big noisy protests and maximum security. If it was up to us, his backside would have been locked up and the key tossed away, long ago. Trust me.

For some reason Jon Stewart wants to help in the rehabilitation of a war criminal - why Jon?

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By Leu, September 20, 2008 at 5:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a German writer commented when seeing the Nazis march under the Brandenburg Gate: “It’s impossible to eat as much as one would like to puke up”.  Rather sad to see “The Daily Show” give this much time and credit to a war criminal.

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By DM, September 20, 2008 at 4:58 am Link to this comment

re: Larry Piltz

Once there is a change of government in the U.S. Blair should be particularly careful about travelling there.  I believe there is no habeus corpus for people not connected with the current president.

... unless, of course, Obama does something to turn back the clock on the Cheney/Addington “additions” to the U.S. Constitution. 

That would be nice wouldn’t it?

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By BlueEagle, September 20, 2008 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

Where did Stewart get 19 hijackers?

At Least 7 of the 9/11 Hijackers are Still Alive

Flight 11

Mohamed Atta
Waleed M. Alshehri - Alive
Wail M. Alshehri - Alive
Abdulaziz Alomari - Alive
Satam M.A. Al Suqami

Flight 175

Marwan Al-Shehhi
Fayez Rashid Ahmed Hassan Al Qadi Banihammad
Ahmed Alghamdi
Hamza Alghamdi
Mohand Alshehri - Alive

Flight 77

Khalid Almihdhar - Alive?
Majed Moqed
Salem Alhazmi - Alive
Nawaf Alhazmi
Hani Hanjour

Flight 93

Saeed Alghamdi - Alive
Ahmed Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi
Ahmed Alnami - Alive
Ziad Samir Jarrah

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By Larry Piltz, September 20, 2008 at 12:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tony Blair someday may be marooned on his native island unable to travel anywhere else in the world lest he be apprehended and brought to The Hague for trial and sentencing (due to his undeniable guilt for war crimes).

Hopefully, by then England will be so disaffected by their bankrupt war partner U.S., and so sick of Blair’s arrogant naive persona farce, that he won’t be safe from prosecution anywhere.

Blair and Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney and Wolfowitz and Powell (yes, he knew better too), et al, are the New Pinochets, the New Milosevics.

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By Luca, September 20, 2008 at 12:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Only the Church of Rome could indulge Blair with the promise of redemption. Only a deluded tosser would take the deal.

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By Maria, September 19, 2008 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This incredible couple - Mr. and Mrs. Blair - are always on high alert to show their Christian side. Is there anybody to explain them that they both are so fat with sins that there is no cross in this world they are able to hide behind?
The most amazing think about these people is how irresponsible they are to their own progeny. They still believe that they live in a pre-Internet era when it was much easier to bury the truth. Not any more. To any normal person, the Blairs are covered with pieces of human flesh and limbs of babies killed on the orders of the weapon-producing oligarchs. The Blairs are soaked in human blood and in tears of those, whose lives were forever destroyed. But for the Tony’s obedience to the moneyed interests, the couple has a very nice golden parachute that allows them to pretend that they are just “normal people”
And by the way, it was painful to observe how Tony, an intelligent person by will of God, was tormenting his soul with impossible acrobatics to give the openly idiotic justification to war crimes committed by the UK and US in Iraq

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By Mayponce, September 19, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

Me thinks Tony was smitten by GW’s rugged good looks.

He looks like a schoolboy with boner whenever GW’s name is mentioned. Hope all those lost lives were worth it….

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By itsthemedication, September 19, 2008 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay, did anyone else notice the melding of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah?  I mean, apples and oranges, Sunni and Shite!  How could someone with the current portfolio of middle east peace, make so blatant of a mistake?  Plus, did he miss the bloody invasion of Lebanon by Israel?  Of course he did, and that sums it up.  Britain, the US, and now France are the lapdogs of Israel while also managing the imperialistic assault on the ME oil fields for Exxon, BP, and Total.  Oil and Israel.  Problem is, once Wall Street falls, Israel will no longer have the leverage.  Kinda looks like Bin Laden (who is probably dead) is winning this one, as America falls into a depression.  Bush should hang for his crimes and incompetence, and they should make his lapdog dig his grave.

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 19, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Thanks but no thanks Comedy Central and Truthdig for bringing us back this odious face with his odious rotten thinking! This evil face along with the evil face of his companion in evil, G. Bush, make me like throwing up every time I see them. Those two criminals with so much innocent blood on their hands, don’t deserve to be given a podium, even a comedy one, for this is adding insult to injury for the thousands they killed and their surviving family members. If there was justice in this world, the right place for such evil people is a dungeon to rot till death while eaten by hungry rats.

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By Juba, September 19, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment
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Tony Blair-the man who single handedly destroyed the Labor party for a generation.

Remember to thank Mr. Blair when the right wing mangles the UK over the next ten years or so.

What a smug-foreign policy illiterate, Israel fallating piece of shit.

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By Jim Yell, September 19, 2008 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Blair in English English is defined as Bush Lapdog and political whore.

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