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May 27, 2009
Religious beliefs guided both Bush and Blair on Iraq war

Tony Blair in 2008.

It’s two years since Tony Blair left 10 Downing Street for good, but he hasn’t been able to win the praise and credit he yearns for after a decade of accomplishments as the Labor Party’s longest-serving prime minister, from British economic growth to peace in Northern Ireland. 

Blair and his friends have been arguing that the former prime minister should be better treated. One thing gets in the way: His friendship with George W. Bush and his decision to join the United States in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The latest: The London Telegraph reports that Blair’s decision-making in office — including the decision to invade Iraq — was based on his religious beliefs. It’s reminiscent of Bush’s description of the war on terrorism as a “crusade.”

The Telegraph quotes a book, “We Don’t Do God,” by John Burton, Blair’s political associate and sometimes mentor. The book says Blair played down his religious fervor while in office, but it was always at the forefront:

Tony’s Christian faith is part of him, down to his cotton socks. He believed strongly at the time, that intervention in Kosovo, Sierra Leone — Iraq too — was all part of the Christian battle; good should triumph over evil, making lives better.

He applied that same principle in everything he did — from establishing the Social Exclusion Unit to ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and ridding Iraq of the evils of Saddam Hussein’s rule.

Bush’s religion-dominated worldview has also been in the news recently. GQ reported this month that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld mixed memos to Bush on Iraq with quotations from the Scriptures.

This week, Clive Hamilton, a visiting professor at Yale University, reports on a new book about former French President Jacques Chirac, written by journalist Jean Claude Maurice. The book says Bush spoke of Satan and the need to cleanse the world to prepare for Armageddon.

Chirac is said to have been stupefied and disturbed by Bush’s invocation of Biblical prophesy to justify the war in Iraq and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

Prediction, not prophesy — Blair and Bush will long be the focus of armchair psychoanalysis: Bush for why he did what he did, Blair for why he didn’t know better.

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user World Economic Forum under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments

4 comments

#4

Tony Blair, the new leadership of the UN, Crazy Man, this is Crazy??? Wake up People! ABBI our Father would never approve of this appt. but God leaves it up to U 2 act, together we can change the system to work for us(the people), not the Corporations and Banks who bring us to war and demonizing one side or another. We are all brothers and sisters, let work together and get better people than Blair, this is Crazy man. USA.

#3

[…] Ezeket a vitákat a vallásokban is megtaláljuk. A keresztények között is a Katolikus egyház szigorú rezsimjére jött válaszként a sok protestáns vallás, ahol a tagoknak már nem volt megszabva, hogy “ebben kell hinni, külömben a pokol vár rád”. Lehetett vitázni, értelmezni, a legjobb megoldást keresni.Igaz ennek végül egy teljesen váratlan mellékhatása is lett, éspedig hogy a legtöbb protestáns egyházból származó személy, napjainkban egyszerűen nem hisz semmiben (másszóval ateista). Mikor az emberek ellenáltak a rideg szabályoknak, nem csak egy lépést tettek a szabadság felé, hanem egy folytonos folyamatot indítottak el a személyes fejlődés felé. A mai “erkölcstelen” és “hitetlen” világban érdekes módon a többség háborúellenes, erőszakellenes, a technológiai fejlődéseknek köszönhetően egyre több életet menthetünk meg, életünk egyre könnyeb. Sőt a legerőszakosabb, legagresszívebb, legbetegebb társadalmak napjainkban pontosan a vallás által “felvilágosított”, muzulmán fundamentalista államokban vannak, mint Irán, Pakisztán vagy George Bush Amerikája (aki azt nyilatkozta, hogy Isten szólitotta fel a gonosz elleni harcra,Irak megtámadására) […]

#2

The three main causes of human suffering:
1. Microbes
2. War
3. Religion

#1

[…] unrest from the new all-powerful UN, now under the leadership of the only surviving world leader Tony Blair, was to the […]

Peter Eisner is an editorial consultant with Worldfocus and a 30-year veteran of international news. He has been an editor and foreign correspondent at The Washington Post, Newsday and The Associated Press. He co-authored “The Italian Letter,” which details fraudulent intelligence leading up to the Iraq War. He was founder and president of Newscom, an international online news service, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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