The news today that Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s former deputy Prime Minister, is to hang brought to mind one yet-to-be convicted mass murderer responsible for his downfall – Tony Blair, the world’s most famous christian after Jesus.
As I surfed the web later, the haunted face of the man kept popping up at almost every click, adorning the cover of his new book, “A Journey.” I chuckled at the title, having just come back from one – though mine didn’t take me through the scenic route of mass murder.
Architects of Slaughter
Aziz, a yes-man at the court of Saddam Hussein, may have been responsible for loads of deaths, but I would reckon they weren’t as many as those who died during the so-called war of 2003. Yet the architects of the slaughter, including Blair, have never been called to account for their crimes against humanity.
It is somewhat painful, almost physically so, to see a man like Blair hawking his latest tome in broad daylight, doing the circuit of television studios and book-signings, without fear of even being tapped on the shoulder by the supposedly-long arm of the law.
Imagine Hitler or Pol Pot in his place and it may make you want to throw up both your hands and scream.
Paycheques for Genocide
Among other things, he occupies himself these days picking up his paycheques for genocide on the U.S. lecture circuit, earning a bomb for his speeches.
The man is now a multi-millionaire, thanks to such payments. It’s a bit like paying a hitman by hiring him to give a speech at your golf club about chocolate-chip cookies. That way you have a good answer if anyone asks why you’re paying a murderer. Money launderers of the Cosa Nostra please take note.
I have a pet theory as to how this garden-variety mass murderer keeps from breaking up as he flaunts himself and speechifies about chocolate-chip cookies. In one word word: Religion.
Remember his much-vaunted conversion to Catholicism? The way I see it, he was so beat-up about Iraq that he ran to God for salvation and cover. His very public conversion served two purposes.
First, it allowed him to deal on a personal and “spiritual” level with the tragedy of his role in the Iraq. You may counter that he already belonged to the Anglican Church and could have still communed with his maker without the fanfare of a public conversion to the Catholic faith.
The man hated himself after Iraq
And I would say that the move to Catholicism was central to his personal and public “rehabilitation.” The man hated himself after Iraq. Wouldn’t you? Catholicism, because of its tenets regarding contrition and redemption, is a god-send to the sinner who wants to be able to look in the mirror again.
Second, remaining in the Anglican faith wouldn’t have signified to his public, some of whom were horrified by Iraq, that he had moved on (or changed) from the man who willingly provided cover for mass murder. The operative concepts here are “movement” and “change.”
Therefore, the conversion had to be a public one, with as much publicity as possible. This has since been followed up by the setting up of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
He gave the finger to those who told him to apologise. This was because he realised the symbolism of a conversion of faith. His audience would perceive that as signifying change, a movement away from the man who became one of the Butchers of Baghdad.
In fact I would contend his religious conversion was more effective than an apology would have been; it signified to those already disposed to “forgiving” him that he had repented. A public apology would have been seen by his so-called “detractors”, as a cynical ploy by a desperate man. (How do you forgive a mass murderer?)
Just like his speeches on chocolate-chip cookies, his very public profession of religious faith provided another kind of cover. It allowed the squeamish among his public, if asked why they were dealing with a man whose hands were soaked with blood, to say he was now a man of God, the blood on whose hands was that of the Lord Himself.
A theory needs to be grounded in facts. Without them, this post is mere speculation and psycho-babble. So what have I based this so-called theory on?
First, take the haunted look he now wears, something which has been much-remarked-on. It may be he’s being troubled by something unrelated to mass murder, but I don’t think so. This man is in serious trouble with demons inside his head. That’s why he’s sought spiritual help. God help him!
Mrs Blair’s Fandangle
My next bit of evidence comes from his wife, Cherie Blair (right). I would like to say that I wouldn’t, for instance, mention the several wives of Idi Amin (left) were I writing about their man’s murderous excesses. But in this case I have to cite their British counterpart – who happens to be a judge.
Earlier this year she acquitted a man who broke another’s jaw. The reason Mrs Blair gave for releasing him was that the accused was “a religious man.” A woman of her education and social position would have known the story would get traction in all the news media. That, I would say, was the point of the whole fandangle.
On that day she was actually standing on Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square with a megaphone, imploring people to follow her example and forgive her husband for mass murder as he too was a religious man.
But methinks the honourable lady was trying too hard. Blair is already forgiven – by God and by the people who matter. In fact the people who matter don’t give a rat's hindquarters about Iraq.