It is hard to believe that it all happened 15 years ago. For that evening, sitting at my cousin Ninaís house in the English countryside, was the night that I came to truly understand that hate can also make the world go round. Yet as we all huddled round the television set, none of us had any idea that we were watching history come undone.

The deadline loomed large. Then came and went. And all the while, those images on that idiot box breathed the fire of a puffing yet un-magical dragon. It might have been rather beautiful, the way the burning orange lit up the black sky. A sort of belated bonfire night; all flamboyant compensation for having joined the party so late in the day. Except that this wasnít November, but March. Though the gunpowder plot had been more than successful this time around.

For Tony Blair, wily old fox that he was, had set a parliamentary precedent. As a one last Hooray Henry reminder that he was still the man about London Town. It was during those remaining heady days of cocaine socialism that had rather swiftly gripped the country as the lushness of Cool Britannia faded to grey. And he alone had the gumption to scoff at the royal prerogative. The one providing that elected representatives really donít have to bother themselves with the messy details of deciding that war is good for nothing. This was what he would hoodwink everyone into believing that he stood for. Power to the people. And freedom for Tooting, perhaps. How shocking, therefore, to think there are those who still insist that he has never been one to share the blame.

Fast-forward to today and the poor soul must feel terribly miffed at being out of the scene and out of business; unable to bask in the refracted glory that the Iraq war of aggression has unleashed in the Middle East. Yet all is not lost. The Blair Witch legacy lives on. Though itís becoming more refined with each successive government.

The chlorine gas attack becomes almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, given that such deliberations rarely impact the decision to go to war. Consider, Iraq had no WMDs and was bombed. As was Libya, even after surrendering its chemical programme. Syria, which appears fully loaded, has now been hit. No UNSC resolution required

Prime Minister Theresa May, after pondering whether the juice would be worth the political squeeze in terms of taking to Parliament the motion to bomb the Syrian regime clearly thought better of it. After all, just think of all the trouble poor old Canapť Charlie brought upon himself when, having secured the democratic go-ahead to commit the 21st centuryís first war of aggression, he had to convincingly maintain the charade that he had not lied to the peoplesí representatives about Saddamís WMDs. And truth be told, Ms May has already had her fill of playing with parliamentary fire; back when she called a snap election that she had no need to and in the process lost her partyís majority. Upsidaisy.

The beauty of this self-serving baton of un-democracy that Blair has graciously passed on is how it effortlessly deflects from the bigger picture. Presently, the battle cry has been reduced to mere technicalities surrounding outdated notions of British good governance and the question of a sovereign Parliament. Thus leaving unanswered the question of a contrived moral posturing that advocates the bombing of yet another people in a far-off land who have already suffered seven years of uncivil warfare.

Those playing to the cheap seats may well argue that Damascus is not Baghdad since a chlorine gas attack did take place. Yet this becomes almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things given that such deliberations rarely impact the decision to go to war. Consider, Iraq had no WMDs and was bombed. As was Libya, even after surrendering its programme. Syria, which appears fully loaded ó regardless of whether or not these are regime supplies or those that have been bought and sold on the Baghdad chemical weapons market before making their way to the country via Tripoli ó has now been hit. No UNSC resolution required.



Thus this is still very much Blairís Britain. And it is broken. For it is a nation now synonymous with bypassing domestic and international institutions meant to keep checks-and-balances on those who would wage war. From Hutton to Butler to Chilcot ó so much tax payer cash was splashed on whitewashing the countryís war crimes record in Iraq. All in a bid to silence the anti-combat lobby. Today, the government has little stomach for similar popular dissent. Which is why it is now peddling the current verdict of humanitarian intervention in Syria as a done deal. With no room for debate.

Nice one, Tony. Not.

The writer is the Deputy Managing Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at mirandahusain@me.com and tweets @humeiwei

Published in Daily Times, April 15th 2018.