Tony Blair Justifies Imperial Forever Wars against ‘Islamist Extremist Enemy,’ a ‘Battle of Values’
Sept. 9, 2021 (EIRNS)— In special Washington Post Live webinar interview as a commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, entitled “9/11: Twenty Years Later,” Post columnist David Ignatius and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair instead presented a lying picture of what was behind the events of that day—someone in a cave in Afghanistan was to blame—and on Blair’s role in particular in promoting endless imperial warfare to defeat what he said was, even today, the Western world’s most dangerous enemy, Islamist extremism. The oh-so-polite and slavish Ignatius encouraged Blair to elaborate on the myth that he was just the loyal friend of President George W. Bush, who stood by Bush when he made the difficult decisions to go to war on Afghanistan, lying about his own role in promoting the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq with his “responsibility to protect” maxim. Blair also stuck to the story that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, repeating multiple times the word “protect” to explain years of interventionist wars he defended.
More broadly, Blair couldn’t stress enough that the strategic goal now must be to defeat radical Islamism; this is the enemy. He asserted that even if Western military forces had succeeded in killing Osama bin Laden early on, it wouldn’t have “altered the basic problem that we had with this movement.” Today, it will be required to build a strong alliance against Islamism. He made no mention of economic development or reconstruction, but only the need to defeat radical Islamic movements. The West will have to deal with Afghanistan the best way it can, he said, but he emphasized that it can’t lose its will to fight. Why? Because “the people we’re up against ... not just the proponents of radical Islam, but China, Russia, others. We should be concerned, because they take a long-term view, and this is my worry.” If the West believes it faces a terrorist threat, and a “battle of values, not just interests but values, with the rising powers of the world who are outside of our alliance, if we take a purely short-term view, we’re going to lose.” The West will also need patience, consistency and purpose to “stay with it. We can’t defend our values if we have a short-term view against those who have a long-term view.”
Ignatius reminded Blair of two centuries of British Imperial “misadventures” in Afghanistan, “the graveyard of empires,” and asked whether he considered that getting involved in Afghanistan again, in 2001, would have meant getting stuck as in the past. Blair replied that, naturally, there were concerns, but cautioned that those misadventures took place in the context of the British Empire—and, of course, in 2001, the situation was very different: no British Empire. It was a difficult situation, there were tribal tensions, but understand, he said, “this was not a colonial adventure or an attempt to suppress the country but, on the contrary, an attempt to liberate it....”
Regarding the invasion of Iraq, WMDs, etc. Blair stuck to his story that Saddam had biological weapons and WMDs, and then went back to his claim that really Iran was operating inside Iraq, as were extremist Islamist forces, so the question was “what would the consequences be if we failed to act?” (No mention of the Saudi Wahhabists, such as bin Laden, and the majority of 9/11 hijackers.) Of course, 20 years later, he said, we now have a “more nuanced” evaluation. He couched his hysterical attack against U.S. President Joe Biden for what Blair called his “imbecilic” troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as just one area of disagreement with the U.S. President, whom he said he otherwise admires and respects. But the issue is “fear for the future—what is the future of our policy, and of extremism?”