Bush & Blair's Last Love-In

This post originally appeared on Informed Comment

I just caught some of the Bush/Blair news conference on the adult version of CNN at noon.

At one point, a reporter asked Bush point blank if he was the cause of Tony Blair having to step down as prime minister.

Now, when you get a question like that as a politician, surely you have a lot of options for answering. You could reply with a self-deprecating joke. Or you could insist that Blair is a statesman in his own right whose record stands on its own. Or something.

What you wouldn't want to do is to grant the premise of the reporter's question.

Bush, with his deer in the headlight gaze, actually answered the question.

In the affirmative.

BBC says:
' Appearing at a joint press conference at the White House, Mr Bush was asked if he was responsible for the end of Mr Blair's premiership.
He said: "I could be" '

Bush later became angry that a reporter was, as he put it, "dancing on Blair's political grave," insisting that he would work with Blair until he stepped down. I.e. until mid June!

Why he was so angry with the reporter for jumping the gun a few weeks when he had just admitted that he may well have been the one who sent Blair to his political grave is not clear.

Blair deserved the whole sorry circus. He went on about the need to spread democracy and Western values among the benighted Middle Easterners. If he thinks that is what has happened in Iraq, he really is hopeless.

Blair always went on about how it would have been horrible if the UK had broken with Washington over Iraq. But France and Germany did, and nothing bad happened to them. Except that Paul Wolfowitz promised that they would pay.

As for Wolfowitz, Bush declined to support him as World Bank president any further and said he was sorry "it has come to this."

And, I think Bush's admission today would be reason enough for any future PMs of the UK to think twice before signing on to Washington's foreign boondoggles.

So, anyway, since Bush admits he may have derailed the career of the longest serving Labour prime minister in decades, let's ask him something else.

Are you responsible, Mr. President, for sending the Middle East up in flames?

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