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Mark Steyn: The British wrest defeat from the jaws of victory
The Sunday Telegraph (U.K.) ^ | 06/08/03 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 06/07/2003 6:31:49 PM PDT by Pokey78

I had a weird experience a few days ago. I flew from the Middle East to North America. In Iraq, 95 per cent of the people I met told me they were happy to be liberated and regretted only that various disappeared loved ones weren't around to see it. In the US, the great victory has been digested and folks have moved on to newer distractions, like the travails of the indicted style guru Martha Stewart. In their different ways, these are both rational reactions.

But, en route from east to west, I briefly touched down in the strange area known as "Europe", where possibly due to a freak electrical storm or some other phenomenon the people of Britain appeared to be in the fevered grip of some mass psychosis, perhaps a variant of Sars (Sudden Alternative Reality Syndrome). Peter Worthington, the Canadian columnist and veteran of the Second World War and Korea, likes to say that there is no such thing as an unpopular won war. Tell it to Downing Street. If I understand correctly, the British, having won the war, are now demanding a recount. Across the length and breadth of the realm, the people are as one: now that the war's out of the way we can go back to bitching and whining that Blair hasn't made the case for it.

This is all very odd. In Kirkuk the other day, they found another mass grave, this time with the bodies of 200 children who had been buried alive. Yawn. Doesn't count. Wake me if they find a toxic warhead among the teeny skulls. The naysayers were wrong on so much - millions of refugees, Vietnam quagmire, Stalingrad, etc - you can't blame them for clinging to the one little straw that hasn't shrivelled up and slipped between their fingers: Come on, Tony, where's the WMD?

Or as Iain Duncan Smith put it in the House of Commons: "The truth is nobody believes a word you say now." Well, I do. Because what Mr Blair said is not only in line with what American officials told me, it is in line with what Continental officials told me - as recently as two weeks ago, when a big-time Euro paused midway through his harangue about the illegality of the war to assure me that "of course" Saddam had been up to WMD monkey business.

That's why, if you notice, the axis of weasels (France, Germany, Russia) and its short-pants league (Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada), while undoubtedly enjoying Mr Blair's discomfort, have nevertheless declined to join in the show-us-the-sarin taunts. They know what their intelligence services say (assuming, for the purposes of argument, Luxembourg has an intelligence service), and it's the same as the British and Americans. The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is presumably privy to more high-level briefings than I am, so his tawdry opportunism is especially contemptible.

What IDS merely implied, Max Hastings spelt out in these pages last week: "The Prime Minister committed British troops and sacrificed British lives on the basis of a deceit." Sir Max, the liberator of Port Stanley, has somehow morphed for this war into Belgrano bore Tam Dalyell: his thesis is that Blair and his American masters lied to the world about Saddam's arsenal in order to justify an invasion that would prove no such arsenal existed and that they were a bunch of liars.

Insofar as this is a serious argument, let's rebut it in terms the armchair accusers can understand: Liberty. Not the liberty George W Bush has brought to Iraq, which Eurosophisticates are so sniffy about, but the Liberty on Regent Street. I once ordered a sofa from Liberty and, as is the way, I had to wait till they made it. They didn't have the sofa itself, but they had sofa capability. That's what counts: capability, not inventory. It would obviously be easier to wait and pick the evidence of WMD out of the rubble of Birmingham, but for the Americans it is capability that's the determining criterion.

In that sense, the contrasting post-war fates of Bush and Blair are instructive. The President has always been so straightforward that, in an interview with ITV 15 months ago, Trevor McDonald seemed to have difficulty taking yes for an answer. "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go," Bush told him.

"And, of course, if the logic of the war on terror means anything," Sir Trevor responded, "then Saddam must go?"
"That's what I just said," said the President. "The policy of my government is that he goes."

"So you're going to go after him?" pressed Sir Trevor, determined not to let Bush get away with these evasions.

"As I told you, the policy of my government is that Saddam Hussein not be in power."

And now he's not. Mr Blair could never put it like that. And the moment he prevailed upon Bush to go the extra mile with the UN, it was inevitable that there would be a fair amount of what I believe the British call "total bollocks". That is, by definition, the official language of multilateralism, and one reason why I have little time for it. For 18 months, my position on Iraq was consistent: I was in favour of whacking Saddam because the price of leaving him non-whacked was too high for America's broader interests. But once you get into auditioning justifications in front of a panel comprising France, China and Guinea, you're in for quite a tap dance. In the end, Britain officially went to war on a technicality, and given that that technicality - Saddam's technical non-compliance with Resolution 1441 - still holds, the WMD song and dance is irrelevant, both de facto and de jure. And as politics, two months after victory, it's pathetically immature.

In America, Mr Blair is still Churchill. In Britain, Mr Blair has fast-forwarded to the Churchill of 1945: his own party never liked him, his wartime coalition with Clement Duncan Attlee has broken up, and the ingrate voters have had enough of wartime austerity - the wretched hospitals, the broken trains - and would like a domestic panderer rather than a global colossus.

Fair enough. Settle your differences with Blair at the next election. But on this issue he was right, and there's nothing to be gained for British Conservatism in subscribing to theories of deliberate deceit that in America are exclusively the province of paranoid cranks. Some of those besmirching British victory in a noble cause should be ashamed of themselves.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: blair; britain; bushdoctrineunfold; iraq; marksteyn; marksteynlist; warlist; wmd
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1 posted on 06/07/2003 6:31:50 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

2 posted on 06/07/2003 6:32:54 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
Yippee! Another Mark Steyn.

Interesting slip(?) here: I was in favour of whacking Saddam because the price of leaving him non-whacked was too high for America's broader interests.

Does Mark really think of himself as an American? He'd be welcome to move into my swell new spare room in NC while he sorts out his citizenship ...

3 posted on 06/07/2003 6:39:17 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Visualize using your turn signal!)
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To: Pokey78
Commonsense from Steyn. They are having a feeding frenzy in Britain .
4 posted on 06/07/2003 6:40:34 PM PDT by MEG33
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To: Pokey78
Allright, that's it, I've had it!

Tomorrow I'm flying over to Iraq with whatever WMDs I can dig up around here and I'll toss them down and old well and point the boys in the right direction.

Let's see, I can spare a few cans of Sarin, a half a bottle of Anthrax (don't ask), and a few pictures of Maureen Down (REALLY don't ask). That should be enough for starters.

Anybody else spare some WMDs?

5 posted on 06/07/2003 6:44:35 PM PDT by TomB
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To: Pokey78
Good stuff from Steyn.
6 posted on 06/07/2003 6:46:12 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Pokey78
But on this issue he was right, and there's nothing to be gained for British Conservatism in subscribing to theories of deliberate deceit that in America are exclusively the province of paranoid cranks.

Some of those paranoid cranks have chimed in on Free Republic.

7 posted on 06/07/2003 6:46:22 PM PDT by WarrenC
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To: Tax-chick
Does Mark really think of himself as an American? He'd be welcome to move into my swell new spare room in NC while he sorts out his citizenship ...

He lives in New Hampshire.

8 posted on 06/07/2003 6:46:40 PM PDT by TomB
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To: Tax-chick
He already lives in the US -- in northern New England, I believe.
9 posted on 06/07/2003 6:51:19 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: TomB
I thought he was Canadian. Was I drunk when I read that? :-)
10 posted on 06/07/2003 6:51:36 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Visualize using your turn signal!)
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To: Pokey78

In Kirkuk the other day, they found another mass grave, this time with the bodies of 200 children who had been buried alive.

Yawn. Doesn't count.

Wake me if they find a toxic warhead among the teeny skulls.


11 posted on 06/07/2003 6:55:18 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: WarrenC
I've noticed.
12 posted on 06/07/2003 6:57:24 PM PDT by MEG33
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To: Tax-chick
He was born in Canada.
13 posted on 06/07/2003 6:58:25 PM PDT by MEG33
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To: Pokey78
Sir Max, the liberator of Port Stanley, has somehow morphed for this war into Belgrano bore Tam Dalyell: his thesis is that Blair and his American masters lied to the world about Saddam's arsenal in order to justify an invasion that would prove no such arsenal existed and that they were a bunch of liars.

An excellent point, which only further underscores how ridiculous this entire whacky left tin-foil mad hat conspiracy theory is.

14 posted on 06/07/2003 7:02:50 PM PDT by kesg
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To: TomB
Anybody else spare some WMDs?

I could donate some Barbra Streisand CDs.

15 posted on 06/07/2003 7:04:11 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Darwin had a good month.)
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To: Allan
bump
16 posted on 06/07/2003 7:04:41 PM PDT by Allan
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To: Pokey78; Travis McGee
You know, this is one of those Steyn columns where I highlight a great sentence to comment on it, and then along comes a better one, and then a better...BTT.

And yeah, Travis...that one took this out of the "funny" category.

17 posted on 06/07/2003 7:05:23 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Pokey78
It is hard to believe that Great Britain once ruled an empire. Of course it is hard to believe that this country had the courage and the tenacity to fight two powerful foes in the 1940's and then elect Clinton less than 50 years later
18 posted on 06/07/2003 7:07:40 PM PDT by eeman
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To: MEG33
He was born in Canada.

I see. I was born in California. Sometimes bad things happen to good people ...

19 posted on 06/07/2003 7:09:22 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Visualize using your turn signal!)
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To: Pokey78
... the axis of weasels (France, Germany, Russia) and its short-pants league (Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada) ...

LOL!

Steyn is the king of quips!

20 posted on 06/07/2003 7:10:33 PM PDT by forsnax5
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To: Pokey78
One minute Steyn's writing makes me laugh, the next I am crying ... but ALWAYS, Steyn makes me think, and I like that.
21 posted on 06/07/2003 7:15:01 PM PDT by patricia
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To: TomB
Call amazon.com. I'm sure they could spare a few copies of Hillary's book.
22 posted on 06/07/2003 7:22:27 PM PDT by JusPasenThru (We're through being cool (you can say that again, Dad))
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To: Pokey78
I'm pretty disgusted with Ian Duncan Smith. I thought the reason he was't considered "charismatic" was the reason the Torys had not won. Actually, it's because the guy is an immoral boob. He KNOWS there were WMDs, and for him to jump on the bandwagon bashing Blair for political purposes, is just disgraceful. A man without principles is a man without principles whether he's charismatic or not.
23 posted on 06/07/2003 7:26:34 PM PDT by McGavin999
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To: JusPasenThru
Mark is a Canadian, living in New England, writing for US, British, and Canadian newspapers.
24 posted on 06/07/2003 7:34:40 PM PDT by FreedomFlyer
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To: Pokey78
Hot diggity dog! I really love the way Mark Steyn expresses himself via the written word!
25 posted on 06/07/2003 7:36:34 PM PDT by arasina (Thank God the White House now has plenty of CLEAN laundry!)
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To: Pokey78
"It would obviously be easier to wait and pick the evidence of WMD out of the rubble of Birmingham"

Yes. Or Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington.

The invasion of Iraq was obviously wise and in the best interest of Britain and America and their allies. Those who criticize Bush and Blair know this (unless they are stupid).

Once again, Mark hits it out of the ballpark.

26 posted on 06/07/2003 8:17:56 PM PDT by Savage Beast (Vote Democrat! Vote for national--and personal--suicide! It's like being a suicide bomber!)
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To: Pokey78
WOOHOO!!!

Mark Steyn is now my journalistic hero! (OK, I admit that he already was, but this is one of his best ever.)

27 posted on 06/07/2003 8:21:44 PM PDT by SunStar (Democrats piss me off!)
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To: Pokey78
Bumpola!
28 posted on 06/07/2003 8:27:30 PM PDT by aculeus
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To: Pokey78
his thesis is that Blair and his American masters lied to the world about Saddam's arsenal in order to justify an invasion that would prove no such arsenal existed and that they were a bunch of liars.

He makes me so jealous sometimes - how does he come up with lines like this? So simple, so succinct, so good.

29 posted on 06/07/2003 8:29:18 PM PDT by garbanzo (Free people will set the course of history)
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To: Pokey78
Steyn hits another one out of the ballpark. He's been on quite a roll since he returned from the Mideast, hasn't he?
30 posted on 06/07/2003 8:34:07 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: Pokey78
I don't care if weapons are not found, our solders banished an EVIL regime to hell.
31 posted on 06/07/2003 8:59:42 PM PDT by John Will
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To: Pokey78
Steyn bump!
32 posted on 06/07/2003 9:02:46 PM PDT by RedWhiteBlue
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To: McGavin999
And he is supposed to be the successor to Lady Thatcher?? PUHlease !!!
33 posted on 06/07/2003 9:03:46 PM PDT by baseballmom
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To: Pokey78; All; *Bush Doctrine Unfold; *war_list; W.O.T.; Dog Gone; Grampa Dave; blam; Sabertooth; ...
That's what counts: capability, not inventory. It would obviously be easier to wait and pick the evidence of WMD out of the rubble of Birmingham, but for the Americans it is capability that's the determining criterion.

Great line!

_____________________________________________________________

Be sure and scan the list of links put together by backhoe:

Weapons of Mass Destruction ( or Distorsion or Deception? You decide...)

_________________________________________________

Bush Doctrine Unfolds :

To find all articles tagged or indexed using Bush Doctrine Unfold , click below:
  click here >>> Bush Doctrine Unfold <<< click here  
(To view all FR Bump Lists, click here)



34 posted on 06/07/2003 10:15:31 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and his Weapons of Mass Destruction?)
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To: Pokey78
Man, this article is just chocked full of one-liners, each of which could carry a whole article by itself. How does he come up with this stuff at this frequency? This is a masterpiece of satire and hyperbole.
35 posted on 06/07/2003 10:32:56 PM PDT by MCH
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To: baseballmom
"And he is supposed to be the successor to Lady Thatcher?? PUHlease !!!"

Here's the Iron Lady had to say on the subject recently.

" For years many governments played down the threats of Islamic revolution, turned a blind eye to international terrorism, and accepted the development of weapons of mass destruction. Indeed,some politicians were happy to go further, collaborating with the self-proclaimed enemies of the West for their own short-term gain - but enough about the French." Margaret Thatcher.

36 posted on 06/07/2003 10:49:28 PM PDT by blam
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To: Pokey78
“Some of those besmirching British victory in a noble cause should be ashamed of themselves”


How true, but the BBC knows no shame.

37 posted on 06/07/2003 11:15:48 PM PDT by LiberationIT (Listen to the BBC. Rarely correct, but never in doubt.)
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To: Billthedrill
Steyn is the Michael Jordan of columnists. He continues to amaze with his laser wit.
38 posted on 06/07/2003 11:16:19 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: MEG33; Tax-chick; JohnHuang2; MeeknMing; shaggy eel; Byron_the_Aussie
<< He was born in Canada. >>

Yair.

Poor bastard.

But then I was born in New Zealand and have recovered from that pretty darn well.

And some of my very favorite other typical Americans: Bob Hope; [England -- "Left the moment they told me I couldn't be king!"] Henry Kissinger [Germany] and; John and Rosie Derbyshire; [England and China] Miguel Estrada; [Honduras] Karen Yogurtcugil; [Iran] Asim Al Tamimi [Iraq] -- and Victor Boyadzhyan; [Armenia] were born some place else, too -- and are doing US as fabulous proud!
39 posted on 06/07/2003 11:53:43 PM PDT by Brian Allen ( Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Travis McGee; Billthedrill; Pokey78; MEG33; Tax-chick; JohnHuang2; MeeknMing; shaggy eel; ...

<< Steyn is the Michael Jordan of columnists. >>

What a brilliant analogy.

What a compliment.

What economy.

What Truth.

Hear! Hear!
40 posted on 06/07/2003 11:57:23 PM PDT by Brian Allen ( Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Tax-chick
No, he is Canadian, but he may live in the US. I don't know about that.


In his native Canada, Mark is a columnist for The National Post, the country's leading national newspaper. In the United Kingdom, Mark appears in The Daily Telegraph, Britain's biggest-selling broadsheet daily, and The Sunday Telegraph, winner of this year's Newspaper of the Year Award.

He also writes on current events and movies for The Spectator, the oldest continuously-published magazine in the English language. In the United States, he is a columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times , America's fifth most-read daily paper, and for The New York Sun, the city's first new broadsheet daily in a quarter of a century.

Mark is also theatre critic for The New Criterion in New York. In addition, he appears in The Jerusalem Post and The Richmond Times-Dispatch of Virginia, and more occasionally in other publications, too, including The Wall Street Journal and National Review , but even when he's not in them he thinks they're worth reading, which is why we link to them here.

Mark's book on musical theatre, Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, was published to critical acclaim in the United Kingdom, and somewhat sniffier notices in the United States.


http://www.steynonline.com/index2.cfm?edit_id=32


41 posted on 06/08/2003 1:06:35 AM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: Brian Allen; wardaddy
I always strive for economy of words. The fewer words used to express a thought, the more powerfully the thought is conveyed to the reader.

If you can wrap a complex thought into a few powerful phrases, that thought will have far greater impact than if it is buried and diluted in many paragraphs. People will also remember the concisely expressed idea more easily.

Free Republic has been the greatest writing seminar I could have ever hoped for. I am ten times better a writer than I was three years ago.

42 posted on 06/08/2003 1:34:36 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Brian Allen
The world's loss is America's gain.
43 posted on 06/08/2003 1:36:54 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Travis McGee
<< The world's loss is America's gain. >>

The world pondering of the source of its hesperophobically-pathological envy, hatred and rage-engined anti-Americanism aught rest right there!

Not that we, any longer, much care.
44 posted on 06/08/2003 1:50:51 AM PDT by Brian Allen ( Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Brian Allen
I have major problems with the ease of walking across the borders, but generally we are receiving thousands of the most intelligent and motivated people from the rest of the world.

Excluding the illiterate peasants who merely trudge across the border.

45 posted on 06/08/2003 1:56:02 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Travis McGee
<< Excluding the illiterate peasants who merely trudge across the border -- ... >>

.... -- and the invading unassimilable hostiles who hide among them -- aught be the first responsibility of those of our humble servants, beginning with the executive, we entrust with Guardianship of our heart and soul: [And Civilization's last three standing pillars] America's Founding Law.
46 posted on 06/08/2003 2:12:56 AM PDT by Brian Allen ( Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Pokey78; Alamo-Girl; onyx; SpookBrat; Republican Wildcat; Howlin; Fred Mertz; dixiechick2000; ...
Good article, thanks ! Ping for those who may have missed it.

Mark Steyn: The British wrest defeat from the jaws of victory

Excerpt:

In America, Mr Blair is still Churchill. In Britain, Mr Blair has fast-forwarded to the Churchill of 1945: his own party never liked him, his wartime coalition with Clement Duncan Attlee has broken up, and the ingrate voters have had enough of wartime austerity - the wretched hospitals, the broken trains - and would like a domestic panderer rather than a global colossus.

Fair enough. Settle your differences with Blair at the next election. But on this issue he was right, and there's nothing to be gained for British Conservatism in subscribing to theories of deliberate deceit that in America are exclusively the province of paranoid cranks. Some of those besmirching British victory in a noble cause should be ashamed of themselves.



Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest orUnited Kingdom ping list!. . .don't be shy.

47 posted on 06/08/2003 2:48:17 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Dixie Chimps! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Pokey78
That's why, if you notice, the axis of weasels (France, Germany, Russia) and its short-pants league (Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada), while undoubtedly enjoying Mr Blair's discomfort, have nevertheless declined to join in the show-us-the-sarin taunts.


48 posted on 06/08/2003 3:02:05 AM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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To: Pokey78
Or as Iain Duncan Smith put it in the House of Commons: "The truth is nobody believes a word you say now."

Sonofabitch. Republicans should do everything they can to get Labour re-elected and undermine the bastard Tories. Tories are the enemy of free people everywhere, if they will turn on Blair over Iraq. They should support him on this, even if it is not very popular. They should do the right thing--they might get a few votes that way. Thatcher was right; the current Tory leadership is wrong. Bastards. Tony might be wrong on some economic issues, but on the important stuff, he's with Bush and IDS isn't. So f--- the Tories. Let's do what we can to keep them out of office for the next twenty years. A betrayal by the Tories is worse than a betrayal by pretty much anyone else, because they're supposed to be our friends. Bastards.

49 posted on 06/08/2003 3:23:09 AM PDT by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear
Ping
50 posted on 06/08/2003 3:35:28 AM PDT by knighthawk (Full of power I'm spreading my wings, facing the storm that is gathering near)
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