Tony Blair, the invasion of Iraq and John the Baptist

From Alistair Campbell’s diaries on Blair at the time of the invasion of Iraq:

Wednesday 16 December [first day of bombing] TB was clearly having a bit of a wobble. He said he had been reading the Bible last night, as he often did when the really big decisions were on, and he had read something about John the Baptist and Herod which had caused him to rethink, albeit not change his mind.

[Campbell noteJohn the Baptist denounced the marriage of Herod Antipas, Herod ordered him to be imprisoned and later beheaded.]

Was it the head on the platter? The dancing daughter? The marital misbehaviour?




One response to “Tony Blair, the invasion of Iraq and John the Baptist

  1. This might perhaps be explained by an expurgated passage from Tony Blair’s autobiography which has recently come into my hands:

    … As I was completing my devotional bible reading on the night of 15 December, just before prayer and bedtime, I was suddenly struck by the wording of Mark chapter 6, verse 22:

    “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.”

    Golly! Weren’t those the exact words I had employed when talking to those brave American military advisers – who are truly God’s mighty right hand in fashioning a brave new world, and with whom Britain stands firm? Bill had asked me if I would do exactly what his intelligence people said was required for long-term peace in the Middle East. Almost instinctively, I reached out to the President, extended an arm of comradeship around one of his broad and square shoulders, and confirmed, ‘Of course, Bill. Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ I can still remember the look Bill gave me at that moment. It is in moments like these that I believe, if we are bold enough to grasp them, destinies are created and a new world is forged. And now, if these weren’t the exact same inspired words before me in my devotional reading! Now, could there be any more assured sign that the work of a divine hand was behind my decision?

    It is no coincidence that, in the Gospel of Mark, these were the words uttered by the King, the leader of God’s own people. Yet, when I read on, I was at first perturbed that King Herod’s generous offer should be so hideously abused by that manipulative girl in requesting the death of St. John the Baptist. In my confusion I asked the Lord, What can be the application of this passage to me, here and now? Is this a warning that naive and open trust in others can lead to our downfall? Nay, the divine voice told my innermost soul – such thoughts are those of the Tempter! The opinon of the United States is indeed trustworthy, for their heart of hearts is pure!

    Still, I did not sleep at all well that night…”

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