Blair blames media

Tony Blair has once again made an eloquent case that I wish President Bush had made. The UK Independent reports:

Warning it would take the West another 20 years to defeat Islamic terrorism, the Prime Minister used a wide-ranging "swansong" lecture on defence to denounce critics and the media who have been a thorn in his side since the invasion of Iraq.

He also dismissed those - including many defence chiefs - who claimed the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath had fuelled insurgents and terrorism.

The Prime Minister rejected as "ludicrous" the notion that removing two dictatorships in Afghanistan and Iraq and replacing them with a UN-backed process to democracy had made Britain a greater target for international terrorism.
Very few people in the United States have the guts to lay out the case that the media in the United States and the UK have acted as de facto allies of the terrorists. Blair, a man of the left himself, does not shrink from the painful truth.
"[Islamic terrorists] have realised two things: the power of terrorism to cause chaos, hinder and displace political progress especially through suicide missions; and the reluctance of Western opinion to countenance long campaigns, especially when the account it receives is via a modern media driven by the impact of pictures.

"They now know that if a suicide bomber kills 100 completely innocent people in Baghdad, in defiance of the wishes of the majority of Iraqis who voted for a non-sectarian government, then the image presented to a Western public is as likely to be, more likely to be, one of a failed Western policy, not another outrage against democracy."
No one can claim that the occupation of Iraq is a slam dunk success. But keep in minds that in 1949 it was far from obvious that the occupation of Japan was a slam dunk, either. When people pronounce Iraq a disaster, I always ask myself "Compared to what?" Earlier military occupations, unencumbered with hostile media and a domestic opposition seeking political gain from failure abroad, have been equally bloody and yet persisted through to victory. Consider the British in Malaya, or the Americans in the Philippines, for example. Both faced long insurgencies and ultimately triumphed.

In the history of warfare, three thousand deaths, however intense the pain of each and every loss, is not a remarkable toll. Many are the battles which have lost more warriors in the space of a few hours.

Islamic terror is not going away if we withdraw too soon from Iraq. The consequences will be far bloodier than most care to contemplate. Those who imagine they are doing the Lord's Work in working to hasten "an end to the blooodshed" are living in a delusional universe.

I have never respected Tony Blair more than I do today. I hope and trust that he will continue to speak out after he leaves office. A predecessor of his in the Prime Ministership played an important role as a prophetic voice when out of office. That is a breathtaking comparison to make, and yet I am increasingly comfortable with daring to contemplate it.

Hat tip: Joe Crowley

Update: And look who cries "foul"

Update: The New York Times publsihes a "news" article full of opinion, by Alan Cowell. Ed Lasky writes:
This "news" piece from the NYT reads like an op-ed.

Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday urged his successors to maintain the warlike foreign policy that he promoted, sending troops into battle in Africa and the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

To retreat in the face of global terrorism, he said, would be "a catastrophe."

The choreography recalled President Bush's "mission accomplished" address aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in May 2003.
Note: "warlike foreign policy that he has promoted" (Blair himself, as noted later in the article, talks of peacekeeping); catastrophe in scare quotes, as if Blair's choice of this word was absurd and alarmist; the lopsided number of critics consulted, as opposed to those who may support Blair.

Seems Cowell has a problem with Blair. So why not write an opinion piece and not a news article?
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