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May 14, 2004
Blair's Loyalty

The London Telegraph reports that Tony Blair made it clear in an interview that he has no intention of turning his back on George Bush, despite political trouble at home:

Tony Blair has dismissed calls for him to distance himself from President George W Bush, insisting he will not change course over Iraq. ...

Mr Blair was scathing about "this idea that at the time of maximum difficulty you start messing around your main ally", adding: "I am afraid that is not what we are going to do."

He said: "I know we are going through a difficult time. People should just take a step back and look at the fundamentals. Despite the appalling stuff about prisoner abuse, we are trying with the majority of the Iraqi people to get the country on its feet.

"The people who are attacking coalition forces and assassinating construction and aid workers are trying to stop us. We have just got to make sure we prevail and succeed. It is in the interests of the world that we do. The alternative is not one we should contemplate."

No one doubts that Blair has paid some political price for his embrace of George Bush and the war on terror, especially in Iraq. Recent polling shows that Blair may have reached the lowest points of his extraordinary popularity in Britain, although that also involves his stance on the unpopular EU constitution and its eventual referendum. But Blair, like Bush, recognizes two important truths: that despite the sensationalist press, the work in Iraq has mostly gone well, and that a failure to finish the job would result in a disaster not seen since the domino theory played out in Southeast Asia three decades ago.

I may disagree with Blair on politics and philosophy, but my admiration for his principles continues to grow. Despite having opportunity after opportunity handed to him by the British press to renounce or distance himself from the US and Bush, Blair has steadfastly refused to do so. It may cost him his career as Prime Minister, but he has decided that to do what is right instead of what is popular. We have seen far too few of this type of politician in recent years.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 14, 2004 5:38 AM

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