This morning’s Wall Street Journal carries an optimistic assessment of Tony Blair’s standing and re-election chances:
“To read most press accounts, Tony Blair is so battered from the beating he’s taken at home over Iraq that he left a trail of blood all the way to Berlin as he traveled to a summit meeting with his French and German counterparts this weekend. Mr. Blair has had nothing but misery for supporting President Bush on Iraq, the story goes. His party has deserted him, his poll numbers have cratered and then he was caught selling a lie.
“Back on planet Earth, the British Prime Minister is in fact in remarkably good political health. He has withstood a barrage of accusations from the BBC and his own backbenchers over the presentation of his Iraq policy. While his poll ratings, like those of most midterm leaders, have slipped (for reasons we’ll mention later), most Britons believe military action in Iraq was justified.”
For obvious reasons, what the Journal says about Blair applies in considerable measure to President Bush. There is an important difference, however. In England, the left’s scurrilous allegations against Blair, spearheaded by the BBC, gave rise to an inquiry that allowed the facts about Blair’s campaign to gain support for the war to come out. The BBC was decisively discredited. That has yet to happen here. I disagree with the reader (quoted by the Trunk below) who wrote that the weapons of mass destruction are irrelevant. Finding them, or accounting persuasively for their absence, will justify the ongoing loss of American lives, vindicate–even triumphantly vindicate–Bush’s insistence on disarming Iraq, and make his opponents look not only foolish and partisan, but unworthy of the nation’s wartime trust. I think the WMDs are a very big deal indeed.
DEACON adds: I agree with Rocket Man that WMDs are important. The public would have overlooked their apparent absence if both the war and the post-war had gone well. But if American loss of life continues, the absence of WMD will eventually make the war seem like a mistake to many, if not most, Americans. In this regard, I wonder what the level of British casualties is. If it is negligible, this may help explain why Blair is bouncing back.
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