war criminals on the free publicity parade: tony blair's book tour makes me sick

Way to go, Ireland! In Dublin over the weekend, protesters pelted former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair with eggs and shoes, causing Blair to cancel planned book signings in London. In London. Gee Tony, what are you afraid of?

If there's anything I hate more than war criminals, it's watching those criminals run around on book tours, grinning their way through the self-promotion circuit, as if they have something useful to say, as if we should waste the fruit of our labours on their celebrity gossip disguised as memoirs.

Proceeds from the sale of Blair's book are being donated to a charity that supports wounded vets. Are we supposed to be impressed? Bring your country into a US invasion, rain death and destruction on people who have done your country no harm, cause the death of 180 young Britons and who knows how many wounded, then donate some money to charity. And claim you have cried for the war's victims. Mission accomplished.

This man makes me sick. Imagine the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom becoming the sycophantic lap dog of the one of the worst presidents in United States history. Is it any wonder that a chapter in his book described as "an encomium to the United States" [I would use another euphemism and it involves knee pads] was omitted from the UK version? In the book, Blair reportedly refers to the Resident of the White House from 2000-2008 a "visionary" and a "highly intelligent friend".

Millions of USians opposed the invasion of Iraq, but many millions more will march off to any war on any president's any Republican president's order. Not necessarily so for the British. They understand war in a way Americans have never known, and they opposed their country's participation in the invasion of Iraq even more strongly than USians did. Tony Blair didn't care.

Of course it's all come out. Blair knew the invasion was based on lies. He knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, knew the invasion was an illegal war of aggression.

Now to watch this man shuffling and grinning through the publicity circuit - free to live another day, and another, and another - turns my stomach. And what does he care. His country wasn't destroyed. He's not missing any limbs. No PTSD for Tony Blair, although he should be having nightmares over what he did.

There's a movement on asking people to go into bookstores and surreptitiously move Blair's book to the crime section. (They don't seem to have a website, but the Facebook group is here. It's a great idea, and normally I love activism with a sense of humour. But this book tour is so nauseating that I'd be more inclined towards a pile of books, a gas can and a match.


johngoldfine said...

One night back in the Bush years I was in a pub in Wales, and a local asked me what I thought of their PM. I had to tell him that I was far too respectful of poodles to describe Blair as Mr. Bush's.

johngoldfine said...

"I'd be more inclined towards a pile of books, a gas can and a match."

Ow, your librarian-transgressive moment for the day....

johngoldfine said...

I keep thinking about Blair's book and why it's important. You no doubt are absolutely right that it's celebrity gossip tricked out as something more serious.

And that's the point, that's why it's important that it exist: to show us and people in the future what evil little lightweights TB and GWB were. The book is valuable evidence, however despicable it is (or perhaps because of its despicableness.)

I did my MA thesis on English penology in the 1840s and 50s and had to read many silly and revolting things--but their revoltingness was my teacher, and I couldn't have understood the minds of the penologists as I did if I hadn't read their preening pamphlets and self-aggrandizing memoirs.

laura k said...

I had to tell him that I was far too respectful of poodles to describe Blair as Mr. Bush's.

Perfect! I always use that kind of comment when people are called pit-bulls or wolves, but I hadn't thought of poodles. Good reminder.

laura k said...

Re the significance of Blair's book, that's true as long as there is commentary making that clear. On its own with no context, I don't know if it can signify those things.

I don't dispute its right to exist, of course (despite my gas-can comment). If it weren't for the grinning book tour, I'd be paying no attention. All that smiling and hand-shaking got to me!