In his frankest admission about the war to date, Mr Blair admitted that Western forces have been powerless to stop the descent into violence.
The Prime Minister stopped short of accepting the blame for plunging Iraq to the brink of civil war - blaming instead the insurgent uprising that has killed 125 British troops.
But his admission in an interview with the Arab new channel Al Jazeera will be seen as an historic climbdown for Mr Blair, who has always fought to put a positive gloss on often disastrous events.
Pretty bleak, wouldn't you say? Except, if you go and look at the transcript of the David Frost interview on Al-Jazeera, here is what Blair actually said (via Tim Blair)
During the interview, Sir David suggested that the West’s intervention in Iraq had “so far been pretty much of a disaster”.
Blair replied: “It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It’s not difficult because of some accident in planning, it’s difficult because there’s a deliberate strategy - al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other - to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."
Downing Street also has insisted that Blair's views were misrepresented and that it was "disingenuous" to portray it as some sort of admission. Those opposed to the war have taken the newspaper headlines like the one in the Daily Mail (and echoed everywhere) as evidence that Blair has "accepted that his strategy in the Middle Eastern state had failed."
Read what Blair actually said. He said that the enemy has had a deliberate strategy to continue to war, despite the will of the majority to have peace.
How this can be construed as an admission that Iraq is a hopeless disaster that Blair and presumably Bush and Co. should apologize for is beyond me.
I am continually amazed at the distortion of the media when it comes to reporting this war. Though journalists bristle at accusations that they are biased, one wonders how such deliberate manipulation of information can be thought of as anything else?
Victor Davis Hanson offers some clues as to what might be going on:
...what does unbalanced reporting really mean? We all harp that the media — specifically, the wire services, network television, and the international stations like the BBC and CNN — all focused on Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, the carnage left by IEDs and suicide bombers, and the allegations against the Marines at Haditha, and neglected entirely the damage we did to the terrorists and Islamic fascists, or the singularity of seeing parliaments in places like Kabul and Baghdad.
But the important question left unspoken is Why? Was the unbalanced converge, in the case of leftwing elites in the American media, a simple effort to embarrass Republican policy, allowing more sympathetic Democrats to regain power? In the case of the envious European media, was it to take down the Americans a notch or two to remind us that we are not as powerful as we think?
Or is the bias a more general result of a Western elite so deeply conflicted about its own culture, and so fundamentally unable to define its own civilization, that it either doesn’t care whether it wins, or in fact wishes that the West lose in Iraq?
The one common denominator? Whatever the United States does is suspect; and journalists without responsibility for governance, either for setting policy or for its implementation, are always brighter than generals, politicians, and policy planners saddled with it.
The truth is that wealthy Western elites in the media have evolved beyond worry over the basics of their civilization. They are so insulated, even after September 11, that they don’t believe there is much connection between liberty, freedom, consensual government, freedom of expression, and the everyday mundane things they depend on — whether excellent medical care, clean water, nice cars, neat electronic gadgets, eating out, or safety in their streets. A nuclear Iran, a missile-laden North Korea, a theocracy in oil-rich Iraq, an unleashed terrorist-sponsoring Syria, and an emboldened Hezbollah — all these could still never quite take away their good life, so strong is the assurance of their never-ending comfort zone that they could not conceive of ever losing it.
And thus the most vehement and angry critics find it possible, even desirable, to nibble away at their own civilization’s efforts, on the understanding that a loss in Iraq would be only an apparent loss. That defeat would not entail any material detriment to themselves, but surely would enhance their own sense of contrarian self-righteousness and self-worth, as they boldly caricature the very culture that so empowered them.
From a psychiatric perspective we once again get back to the essentially narcississtic and grandiose motivations of the leftist media. It is all about THEM. Their feelings about themselves; their fantasies of self-worth and speaking "truth to power". ShrinkWrapped has ferreted out their "dirty little secret", however, and it is:
Defensive rationalizations and intellectualizations are used to keep us from knowing uncomfortable things about ourselves. In the 1960s, in order to avoid any feelings of fear and attendant anxiety over masculinity, the war effort needed to be demonized. The original idea of "speaking truth to power" required minimal bravery. The level of danger the anti-war protesters faced was a tiny fraction of the real danger truly brave people living under brutal governments faced in Eastern Europe, or that our military men faced in Southeast Asia. Yet in order to avoid feeling scared, the war protesters needed to see themselves as bravely facing a quasi-fascist regime (LBJ and then Nixon); our protests were heroic efforts to establish and support peace and justice. In reality , the protests were nothing of the sort and millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians paid the price of our rationalizations. By demonizing the war as based on lies, immoral, imperialistic, etc (which all had a grain of truth but were clearly exaggerations and hardly the exclusive reasons for our involvement in Vietnam) the logic of our defensive edifice required the eventual cut-off of funds to the South Vietnamese, who until the military aid cut-off were more than holding their own.
We see the same need to rationalize today in Iraq. The anti-war movement, as if to re-confirm their essential morality and bravery, continue to "speak truth to power" at no real risk to themselves. In order to avoid the deeply hidden questions, maintain consistency in their rationalizations, and continue to retroactively justify their anti-Vietnam War beliefs, the anti-War campaigners are willing to once again abandon people who trusted us. Millions of Iraqis will be killed but they will feel morally superior and will continue to support the edifice of rationalizations that have sustained their image of themselves as brave rebels since the glory days of the 1960s.
The media enhance their own moral superiority by their distortions and manage to portray themselves as "brave rebels" who stand up against evil. But the truth is that it is far too risky to stand up against the real evil. Their courage only extends far enough to allow them to criticize people like Tony Blair and George Bush. Why, it would be far too dangerous for them personally to confront the real threat--those who are determined--no matter how much carnage it takes--to destroy the lives of millions in Iraq.
This psychological defense mechanism is referred to as "displacement", and it is the psycholgical basis of Bush Derangement Syndrome, as well as the tendency of many to conveniently blame America (and Britain) and Israel for every problem in the world.
One way you can usually tell that psychological displacement is being used is that the emotion being displaced (e.g., anger or fear) is all out of proportion to the reality of the situation. The purpose of displacement is to avoid having to cope with the actual reality. Instead, by using displacement, an individual is able to still experience his or her anger, but it is directed at a less threatening target than the real cause. In this way, the individual does not have to be responsible for the consequences of his/her anger and feels more safe--even thought that is not the case.
And, in the case of the MSM, the side effect of the displacement is that they can safely denounce "evil" and be the "brave rebels" without having to risk anything! From their perspective, their courage and daring knows no bounds! Why, at any minute, the fascist, torturing, despicable regimes of Bush, Blair etc. etc. might come for them and put them in death camps! Yeah, right.
In order for them to be brave, they must, of course, play up the evil of the forces they are "speaking truth" to. Hence all the exaggeration of mistakes that Bush and Blair have made. Exaggeration all out of proportion to reality--while almost completely ignoring the real atrocities that are committed on a daily basis by those we fight against in Iraq.
Psychological displacement explains the remarkable and sometimes lunatic appeasement of the Islamofascists--not just by the media, but by so many governments and around the world, while they trash the US and particularly Bush. It explains why there is more emphasis on protecting the "rights" of terrorists, rather than holding them accountable for their actions. U.S. and British soldiers in Iraq are being killed--not by the enemy--but by Bush and Blair; not because of the terrorist's agenda and their barbaric behavior. All terrorist activity, in fact, can be blithely dismissed because it is only a re-action to the evil actions of....you guessed it.
Thus, it isn't even a stretch of the imagination to blame 9/11 on Bush or the British subway plot on Blair. This is the insane "logic" of most psychological defense mechanisms. They temporarily spare you from dealing with the really painful reality around you and give the illusion that you are still in control. You can even keep that "brave, courageous rebel speaking truth to power" persona that is so important to your sense of self-worth.
So we come full circle. The media's deliberate distortion of a headline (which could have been, BLAIR BLAMES RAQ SITUATION ON THE DESIRE FOR WAR BY ALQAEDA AND IRAN) you can take and magnify it by hundreds of headlines that deliberately mislead, distort and undermine all efforts in the war on terror, and serve a twofold purpose:
First, carefully displace the threat from the actual perpetrators and originators of evil onto some relatively benign sources (i.e., those who won't actually persecute or behead you) and simultaneously magnify the benign source's supposed evil.
Second, enhance and massage the ego and self-image of thousands of journalists/editors/and others in the media who want to be viewed as the courageous tellers of truth, standing up to evil in the world.
But, just as Pat Conroy finally realized in a moment of blinding insight, the media (along with their psychologically dysfunctional pals, the antiwar crowd) are really only cowards, nibbling away at civilization; who just happen to share the same planet with genuine heroes fighting in Iraq and elsewhere for freedom, human dignity, and justice.
UPDATE: Speaking truth to Jihad- a perfect example of how the media are under the delusion that they are championing the "civil rights" of radical Islam. This is truly a disgusting example of almost psychotic proportions of how the MSM is completely unable to recognize their role in enabling and supporting the enemies of civilization.