04/10/2006 03:13 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Killer "B" Swatted in Italy

Another one bites the dust. The third of the "Killer B's" (Bush, Blair, Berlusconi) has apparently been defeated (again!) by Romano Prodi & the Union coalition. Good riddance.
Oh--and could all the civil servants in Italy please quickly make hard copies of any public document that has the name Bush or Cheney in it? Seriously. Make copies before Berlusconi--a la Aznar in Spain--gets the shredders and hard-drive-erasers out? Thanks. Some new memoranda from Rome should go nicely next to the Downing Street Memos...
This Italian election victory for the center-left coalition was close--only 25,000 votes difference out of 38 million cast. But this victory is much more impressive than it seems--first of all, Berlusconi, the richest man in Italy, spent as much money as Mayor Bloomberg to try to win. Second, Silvio constantly circumvented (i.e., cheated) the election rules by running his own stuff on the TV stations that he owns. And third, his coalition recently changed the election rules in a way that they thought favored them--though, as so often happens, unintended consequences may have helped the Union coalition, at least in the Assembly, where the winning coalition is guaranteed 55% of the seats, no matter how small the margin of victory.
This result also means one of the few remaining countries in Bush's "coalition of the willing" (or as my colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies call it, "the coalition of the coerced") will be pulling out of Iraq soon--since Prodi campaigned by saying he would pull out of Iraq "as soon as possible."
Is it possible that future world leaders will learn from the painful experiences of Aznar, Blair & Berlusconi? They jumped at the chance to be big tough warriors, to join with Bush & Cheney in the lies, the propaganda, on behalf of an illegal war of Empire. Their own legacies now lie in tatters as a result.
Tony Blair could have been known primarily as the man who ended the mean-spirited Thatcherism period. Instead, he will go down in history as a shamed liar and a "poodle", a man who for reasons we still can't completely comprehend, "enabled" a war-monger with half his intelligence and charm--but apparently a shared capacity for immoral foreign policy.
If I were Mr. Blair, I wouldn't do any foreign traveling after leaving office--if he has any doubts, he should ring up Augusto Pinochet for advice. Or better yet, he could just ask Condi's new buddy, Jack Straw, who made an important decision that Pinochet had to face the music for his human rights crimes. (Ah, the ironies of history...)
Aznar, of course, was defeated after lying about who blew up the trains in Madrid, trying to pin the bombs on the Basques. His successor, Zapatero, to his credit, pulled Spain out of Bush's coalition, and later succeeded in negotiating with the Basques and reaching a ceasefire.
Now there's Berlusconi. Instead of a second term to try to erase his image as a flashy, ego-driven, big-mouthed clown, Silvio Berlusconi will be lucky if subsequent investigations don't send him to the slammer.
Ciao, Silvio. That's what you get for sending your country to war against the almost-unanimous opposition of your own people.