Families of War Dead Criticize Blair

We don’t yet have much indication of the impact that David Kay’s preliminary report will have in the U.S., but the failure to find WMDs in Iraq is causing problems for Tony Blair. A memorial service on behalf of England’s 51 war dead is scheduled to take place at St. Paul’s on Friday, and Blair has said that he intends to attend. Yesterday a number of relatives of the war dead denounced Blair and said he should not come:
“[T]he event is at risk of being overshadowed by deepening unhappiness among the relatives about the justification for invading, particularly after the US-led inspection team admitted on Thursday it could find no weapons of mass destruction.”
Relatives are quoted calling Blair a “war criminal” who “killed 51 of our men unnecessarily,” and so on. Some threatened to confront him if he attends the service on Friday, a threat which, if carried out, could generate horrible publiciy for Blair.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a notorious leftist, voiced concern that the ceremony might “become triumphalist.” For those not versed in left-speak, “triumphalist” means “patriotic.” The Archbishop presuably will prevent that from happening, as he will be giving the sermon. As further assurance that any possible “triumphalism” will be nipped in the bud, prayers at the service will be for “penitence and reconciliation.” Apparently it is Blair who is supposed to be penitent.
I’ve often been struck, when in England, by the ubiquitous presence of military memorials in Anglican churches. Of course those days are long gone. Still, it’s hard to see the point of an established church that opposes patriotism.

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