Make no mistake about it: the blood of Aleppo, along with that of thousands of Anglo-American servicemen and hundreds of thousands of others is on Blair’s hands.
He lied to the people, Parliament and even his cabinet colleagues to draw the country into a criminal war initiated by a hare-brained US president.
“I am with you, whatever,” Blair wrote to George W. Bush, a blanket commitment he had no constitutional right to make without prior parliamentary endorsement. A government official who cynically violates the constitution must be legally culpable. But what interests me is the criminal stupidity of it all.
At a fundamental moral level, flattening cities full of civilians is always criminal. But it’s not always stupid.
This barbaric action may be vindicated by strategic need. Hence it’s possible to argue, as Americans often do, that dropping atom bombs on Japanese cities obviated the need for taking those islands one by one, thereby saving thousands of American lives.
For the record, sensible arguments to the contrary are also possible, but at least Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated in pursuit of an intelligible strategic objective. One may argue about the morality of it, but not its effectiveness. The danger Japan presented to the US disappeared.
On the other hand, rather than eliminating or even reducing danger, the criminal attack on Iraq in 2003 increased it no end – as predicted, false modesty aside, by every sensible commentator.
The operation was tactically successful, initially at any rate, but strategically inane. For the successful tactics were employed in pursuit of a false objective.
9/11 was a memento mori for Americans. That came as a shock. A nation congenitally committed to the idea of its own greatness can’t stand intimations of mortality.
Moreover, the Americans were deprived of their all-pervasive delusion that the whole world wishes to be just like them. Flying those planes into the twin towers was more than just an aggression committed. It was a myth debunked.
A response was called for. Shrieks of “We must do something!!!” resonated throughout the 50 states, and one of the voices belonged to the intellectually challenged US president George W. Bush.
Rather than formulating an intelligent and achievable strategic objective, Bush and his men were unable to rise above the din of vox populi. They were thinking not as statesmen but as American exceptionalists with injured pride.
Rather than seeing the crime in the context of 1,400 years of Muslim aggression against the West, they looked through the wrong end of the binoculars and decided that the problem was caused by a deficit of democracy in the Middle East.
It didn’t occur to them that a region where most people relieved themselves through every orifice where they stood was perhaps not quite ready for baseball, apple pie and a bicameral legislature. Hence Dubya girded his loins and rode out to eliminate those undemocratic folks who wouldn’t let the Muslims join the PTAs and the Little Leagues.
He didn’t realise that all those beastly Saddams, Mubaraks and Gaddafis were safety valves in the bubbling cauldron of barely contained violence. Eliminate the safety valves, and the whole world will be burnt in the ensuing eruption.
Blair responded to Bush’s “Yo, Blair” with canine devotion, lying and cheating all the way to a full-blown British involvement. A blood-soaked chaos followed.
The danger wasn’t eliminated; it was enhanced by many degrees of magnitude. Not just America but the whole world became imperilled as a direct result.
What would have been the proper response? First, real statesmen must be prepared to deal with life as it is, not as they wish it to be. As it is, there exists a 1.6-billion-strong Islamic world ideologically committed to conquering the world. This ambition has only ever been kept in check when the West was sufficiently strong and resolute.
When the West was vacillating and weak, the Muslims would conquer half of Europe. When their ears were pinned back by the likes of Charles Martel and Jan Sobieski, their passion would ebb for some time, until another chastisement was needed. It was Muslim passions, red-hot at the moment, that singed America in 2001.
The first strategic objective in dealing with aggression should be downgrading the enemy’s capability to escalate or indeed continue hostile action. That means depriving the enemy of its source of strength, whatever it is. Hence attacks on airfields, armament factories, command centres etc. are logical tactics in conventional modern wars.
But Islam’s strength doesn’t come from airfields and armament factories. Today’s Islam is like Antaeus – its strength comes from the earth, specifically the part of it housing oilfields. Take them away, and Islamic power will dissipate.
That should have led Bush, Blair et al. to formulating a strategic response centred on the takeover of Middle Eastern oilfields, including those of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Effectively that would have amounted to the recolonisation of the Middle East and keeping it in that state until Muslim passions died out.
No talk of regime changes, democracy, apple pie and the PTA. Just the Raj all over again, a realpolitik dish served with the sauce of liberal interventionism.
There might have been other sensible options to be considered. There were only two utterly stupid, and therefore criminal, things to do: nothing and what Bush-Blair actually did.
Now US and UK government spokesmen shed crocodile tears at the sight of all those mangled bodies in Aleppo. Who could have done such an awful thing?
The answer is that the bombs were dropped by Assad and Putin, the immediate culprits and unapologetic barbarians.
But the ultimate fault lies with the supposedly civilised Bush and Blair, prevented from thinking strategically by their corrupt morals, weak minds and wholehearted commitment to PC populism with its defunct, if vote-getting, democratic slogans.
They started it, and the scary thing is that there’s no end in sight.