With Tony Blair putting a date-specific on his slow-bleed resignation, we can expect the floodgates to open on stories analyzing his ten year run as prime minister and the impact he had on America.
"Hand on heart," he said in announcing he will leave office at the end of June, "I did what I thought was right. I may have been wrong. That's your call. But believe one thing: I did what I thought was right for our country."
Maybe so, but his hand-on-heartfelt convictions had dire consequences for U.S. foreign policy. Blair was exactly what George W. Bush needed to sell his fraudulent and immoral war in Iraq to the American public: a seemingly reasonable and non-partisan stamp of international approval (after all, he'd been bosom buddies with Bill Clinton, hadn't he?). Blair enabled the Bush myth that the invasion of Iraq was a coalition effort, that it wasn't just Mongolia, Moldova, Singapore, Poland, and Tonga making up the Coalition of the Willing to Go Along. It was Britain. Great Britain.
More than being just Bush and Cheney's cheery wingman, Blair was one of their top salesmen, pitching sexed up dossiers, Nigeran yellowcake, and the specter of chemical weapons "ready within 45 minutes" raining down on Europe. Although Blair was far from the only enabler to Bush's Iraq fantasies -- spineless Congressional Democrats and a wildly compliant press certainly did their part -- the impact of his unwavering support was enormous.
Iraq is George Bush's war, but Tony Blair's legacy will be forever tainted by the part of it he claimed for his own.
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