Skip to main content

Blood Money

The legacy of the Bush-Blair years, and the post-9/11 madness, is never far from the surface of things - as much as Cameron or Obama might wish.  This weekend there were calls for an inquiry into the death of Dr Kelly, the weapons expert whose whistle blowing cast doubt on some of the dodgy dossier claims pre-war - conspiracy theory has it he was not a suicide.  The ongoing debate about the situating of a mosque proximate to the hallowed ground zero is another open sore - and a sign of the intolerance levels in America, a place barely healed by the election of its first African-American president.  Now, Tony Blair - the man second-most-responsible for what deputy PM Nick Clegg has called an illegal war - is to donate all the money from his memoirs to a rehabilitation gym for wounded soldiers.  This is admirable.  A pity it is much too little too late.  However, we must forgive Mr Blair, insofar as he seems to be seeking penance.  I am not sure we need forget what he has done so easily.


Anonymous said…
To be fair, the intelligence and military establishments of the United Kingdom and United States were so intertwined as to constitute a single entity -- I'm not sure that in 2003 a British PM would have been able to resist involvement in the war.

Also, while the war might have been bone-headed and a strategic misallocation of resources, it was no more or less illegal than other recent conflicts. The artifice of whether a war is legal or not can never be determined in any definitive way as there is no legal entity above the sovereign nation-state. The United Nations, for all its charms, is pretty much as President Bush once described it: an elegant debating society with excellent snacks. And while we're at it the UN did provide a resolution that arguably covered the war.

I'm not endorsing the war but I do object to a revisionist pile-on where people use inflammatory terms like "illegal war" as a way of turning up the rhetorical heat.
Alan Baker said…
"a strategic misallocation of resources"

So that's how you describe a war in which countless thousands of innocent civilians perished? No wonder you choose to remain anonymous.

Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.