Friday, July 01, 2005
Christopher Hitchens and I agree
Perhaps I was a little rash in saying that I "used to like" Hitchens. Mostly I'm just frustrated with him because I hold him to a higher standard of moral and intellectual clarity, based on his willingness to call out rigid old lefties like Noam Chomsky or Katha Pollitt. But here is Hitchens explaining why it makes no sense to call Blair a poodle:
The commonest liberal and Tory jeer against Tony Blair—that he is George Bush's "poodle"—is self-evidently false. Far from being a ditto to Washington, it was Blair who leaned on Clinton and Albright to intervene in the Balkans, putting an end to the long and disgusting Tory appeasement of Slobodan Milosevic. Without asking for any American approval, Blair also decided to stand by Britain's treaty with Sierra Leone and to send troops to put down the barbaric invasion of the hand-loppers and diamond-dealers, based in Charles Taylor's Liberia, who were among other things the regional allies of al-Qaida. In 1999, when Bush was still an isolationist governor of Texas, Blair made a speech in Chicago pointing out that Saddam Hussein's defiance of international law made a future confrontation with him inevitable. After Sept. 11, 2001, Blair told Bush that he would send ground troops to Afghanistan even if the United States would not.