The real traitor is Blair, not me
WELL, my debut column last week certainly stirred up the pondlife.What I said, in a nutshell, was that killing people is wrong. No one, surely, could disagree with that. Could they?
WELL, my debut column last week certainly stirred up the pondlife.
What I said, in a nutshell, was that killing people is wrong. No one, surely, could disagree with that.
But then I went on to point out that the real reason for America's imminent attack on Iraq was to boost George W Bush's popularity in advance of next year's presidential election.
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The online version came with a teaser showing Bush and Tony Blair linked by the words "The real axis of evil".
This was all too much for Larry Hawes of Ellenton, Florida, which a little internet research tells me is a retirement-home suburb by the sea.
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Larry wrote me a friendly little email note that began: "You and your crap concerning our President Bush is nothing but Trash. You sound like a Muslim and look like one too."
Going straight to the heart of the argument there, then.
Actually, Larry, I'm part-Jewish by race and have no religion, though my moral code is essentially Judeo-Christian in origin. I have no idea what you look like, and frankly I don't care.
He goes on: "You in my opinion are a traitor and should be looked into by the UK government. You border on Treason."
You're entitled to your opinion, Larry. Mine is that Blair is the traitor.
He is guilty of:
subsuming his country's interests to those of a foreign power (the US);
leading it into a war that four-fifths of its people don't want;
massively increasing our risk of being hit by a major terrorist attack.
That all sounds to me like a sounder case for impeachment than, say, having oral sex with a political supporter and leaving stains on a little blue dress.
As to whether the UK government should look into me, they're probably doing it right now. Or is that just my paranoia – and an exaggerated sense of my own importance?
Building himself up to a finale of wrath, Larry concludes: "Do you really believe after my wife and I have made 12 trips to the UK over the past 14 years, that we will ever bother doing same again and spending our good money in a country that has thinkers like you? NO WAY."
Fair enough, mate. Can't say you'll be missed.
Nice of you to recognise, though, that I am a thinker.
Unlike all those fellow-residents of your home state who found it so hard to fill in a voting slip they caused a constitutional crisis and let the most dangerous man in the world slip into the White House.
AN APPARENTLY more reasoned response came from someone who signs himself "Your Friend Brian Dunn". (Sorry, Brian, I don't remember you.)
One or two of the points he makes I agree with.
He reminds me, for instance, that "Britain is no longer the empire it used to be". Well, thank goodness for that.
He also offers this insight: "I have a sneaky feeling that the people in Iraq are looking forward to getting rid of Hussein because they are terrified of him."
That is undoubtedly true of some. Just as there are a significant number of thinking Americans who would be glad to be rid of Bush.
America and the world would be safer and better off if there were a regime change in Washington.
But you can't improve anyone's lot in the world by bombing them out of it.
Mr Dunn really reveals himself, however, when he says: "I expect an opinion like yours from the French back-stabbers and the Germans but not from an Englishman."
No shallow stereotypes there, then.
(Actually, it is very bizarre to find myself agreeing with Jacques Chirac – no doubt my French friends feel the same. I suspect the French president's opposition to war with Iraq may come from questionable motives, but it is a good thing all the same.)
Mr Dunn also asks: "Are you from the middle east originally because if so that would explain your view on world matters."
Well no, as it happens I'm not (see above). But why, if I were, would it explain anything?
It would be too easy to retort: "Are you from the Southern States? If so that would explain your rabid racism."
But that won't do, because I have do friends in the red-neck territories and they are not racists.
My fear of Bush does not make me hate all Americans – and my dislike of Saddam Hussein does not make me think killing his people is a good idea.
Fortunately, millions of decent Americans don't think much of that idea either.
Unfortunately, the blinkered, shallow, racist Americans like Brian Dunn and Larry Hawes are the ones currently represented in the seat of power.
And, sadly, what I think will make no difference.
America – and probably Britain too – will begin blitzing Iraq in the second week of March.
Not because of anything that will happen in the United Nations or the weapons inspections. Simply because that is when the jets will have moon-less nights to deliver their payloads of death.