UPDATE: Brown immediately elevates a few Iraq War critics to cabinet.
What a typically stupid thing for Bush to say:
"I’ve heard he’s been called ‘Bush’s poodle’. He’s bigger than that.”A golden retriever, perhaps? But wait, there's more:
"Somehow our relationship has been seen as Bush saying to Blair 'Jump' and Blair saying, 'How high?' But that's just not the way it works. It's a relationship where we say we're both going to jump together."What an idiot. Those comments came in a Murdoch Sun exclusive interview with Bush, by the way. And it was recorded a month ago. I am curious that Bush doesn't have more to say today. Maybe the "special relationship" is not what it once was?
Bush also said: "Tony's great skill, and I wish I had it, is that he's very articulate.
"I wish I was a better speaker. This guy can really . . . he can talk."
And what a strange thing for Blair to say:
For the first time, he used the word "sorry" in relation to Iraq. While he still believed the war was right, "I am truly sorry about the dangers they [British soldiers] face today in Iraq and Afghanistan."Why should he be sorry, if (as he still insists) he has done nothing wrong? Are we finally going to start hearing the truth from Bush's poodle? If so, where will that leave Howard?
Gordon Brown is already promising some major changes. In fact, he uses the word "change" at every opportunity. Is that just spin, or will we be seeing some real change? His comments to readers of The Independent don't seem to signal a radical shift:
In an answer of one word, and with the benefit of hindsight, was it wrong to invade Iraq?So there is still a "mission" for the troops, and the only mistakes being acknowledged are related to the post-invasion planning, not the manipulated intelligence used to justify the invasion. Still, any new revelations or shifts in policy could pose major problems for Howard.
You were the one person who could have stopped Blair signing up to the invasion of Iraq, either by threatening to quit or publicly opposing it. How do you feel about putting your career ahead of the lives of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of British soldiers?
I don't doubt that you hold your views about the war sincerely. We know it has been a divisive issue for our party and our country, but I hope you'll accept that I hold my views sincerely too. There's no doubt that mistakes were made in our planning for what happened after the removal of Saddam, and I think it's important to learn the lessons and to go forward knowing that proper procedures are going to be in place that will command the confidence not just of Parliament but the confidence of the public. We will learn all the lessons that need to be learnt.
Do you ever wake in the night and think of all those dead Iraqi children?
Any such loss of life is a tragedy. As Prime Minister, I will work tirelessly for peace and security for all the children in Iraq, and for the safe return of our armed forces once their job is done.
As for Blair's farcical new role as Mid-east envoy, this post from Antony Loewenstein tells you all you need to know. Little wonder Arabs are not impressed. If Blair is looking for redemption, he has a very, very long road to hoe.