March 17, 2004 | Peter

Victims of the Iraq War

My prediction made earlier in this blog that all three major leaders of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ – George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard – would lose office by the end of this year is looking good. I did not predict Spain’s Aznar’s fall (because I didn’t think about him), but he is the harbinger for the others. His government lost office it seems because he took his country into an unpopular war and was then less than honest about certain outcomes of that action.
President Bush is looking very fragile against the stolid John Kerry in an election in which the usual introspection of the American electorate will most likely decide the outcome. Bush’s economic program, one of the most rapacious in decades in its impact on the less wealthy and the environment, has made the US extremely vulnerable to global forces, as indicated by the downright frailty of the US dollar.
So for Bush, who planned the war before 911, the Iraq war has turned into mostly a negative thing.
Blair will be undone by his own sanctimonious posturing. The increasingly Churchillian British PM set himself up as that rare thing, an honest political leader, but has uttered an unending stream of lies and quarter-truths since before the Iraq war started. Now even his personal life is under scrutiny as his self-conferred sainthood wears ever thinner.
And Howard’s main problem is his innate conservatism and lack of imagination. He is in the end very much a one trick pony, banging the fear drum whenever things get tricky. His limitations got him and his country into the Iraq war and now when the fear card loses its effect, as it eventually had to, he looks like the tired old hack he always was.
The complete enervation of Howard’s always shabby cabinet was shown yet again by the pathetic effort by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, surely one of the most incompetent senior government ministers in recent decades, to explain the differences of opinion over the link between Iraq and the bombings in Madrid. He is totally out of his depth when it comes to anything that requires even minimal use of the old grey matter, reverting to snide slag offs at the opposition or at the inconsiderate journo asking questions he can’t answer. The only thing that bothers me about the idea of Downer disappearing from the screen is the prospect of even more didactic discourse from Professor Rudd.
As for the rest of Howard’s ministerial mob, aside from Abbot and Costello they come across as well and truly passed their use by date. And the problem with the two bovver boys is that they were always toxic. They only ever smile when someone else is getting hurt
Maybe there is another Tampa out there somewhere, but Howard is not facing the likeable, conservative and ultimately mediocre Kim Beazley this time.
The Iraq war is historically important. It may go down in history as the end of an era when military force was considered a serious option for resolving deep-seated socio-economic problems. If it also brings about the political demise of possibly the most inept US president ever, the most slimy British PM in ages and the most limited Oz PM since Menzies systematically decimated the potential leadership of the Liberal party, well that’s a bonus.

Posted by Peter at 11:30 am | Comments Off on Victims of the Iraq War |
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