Recently I read on a blog post that British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said something that seem utterly foolish, even for him. After a little research I’ve found that the quote is indeed falsely attributed to the troubled PM.

The author of the post was, I think, just re-printing an email that I’ve since learned has been doing the rounds recently. Emails like these are not uncommon, in August I was sent one entitled ‘Scary’ that was made up of incorrect and hateful material about Muslims in the UK.

In the email about Blair it’s claimed he was asked by one of his Parliament members why he believes in America so much, to which he allegedly responded;

“A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in… And how many want out. Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
1. Jesus Christ
2. The American G. I.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.”

As I read the quote I found myself thinking that it was highly unlikely that Blair would have said such an outrageously stupid thing. His popularity in the UK would best be described as being in the toilet, and if he had said anything even mildly similar to this quote recently, he would effectively be politically flushing that toilet.

For the British Prime Minister to suggest that only the American soldier has been willing to put their life on the line in the execution of their duty would be wholey insulting, not just to the many British soldiers that have lost their lives in the line of duty, but also to the soldiers of any country you care to name. It would hardly be something a man of Tony Blairs’ international experience would ever say.

A little research online reveals that Blair didn’t say the quote the email attributes to him. But given his support of President Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and war in Iraq, it’s not entirely surprising that making people believe he did say such a thing isn’t exactly a hard sell. However, unlike President Bush, Prime Minister Blair has an impressive handle on the English language and therefore it’s a stretch to believe he would muddle together such an ugly statement made up of saccharin American flag waving garbage.

As with all believable tales there is at least a tiny element of truth to the email. On January 7th in a speech at the Foreign Office conference, Prime Minster Blair spoke in far more eloquent terms about the UK’s position as an ally to the United States. He said;

First, we should remain the closest ally of the US, and as allies influence them to continue broadening their agenda. We are the ally of the US not because they are powerful, but because we share their values. I am not surprised by anti-Americanism; but it is a foolish indulgence. For all their faults and all nations have them, the US are a force for good; they have liberal and democratic traditions of which any nation can be proud. I sometimes think it is a good rule of thumb to ask of a country: are people trying to get into it or out of it? It’s not a bad guide to what sort of country it is.

However, for all his eloquence on the subject of being an ally to the United States, a recent report by a leading UK think tank stated that despite the military, political and financial sacrifices Tony Blair had shown an “inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way.” It went on to state that the invasion of Iraq and the post-war “debacle” have damaged the UK’s global influence.

The Chatham House report speculated that the reason Blair had failed to influence Bush was down to two explanations: “either the accumulated political capital was not spent wisely or the capital was never as great as was supposed.”

Tony Blair will be stepping down as Britain’s Prime Minister next in 2007 after ten years in that office.

Tony Blair’s 2003 speech at the Foreign Office conference
Blair failed to influence Bush
The Chatham House report
Blair stands by US relationship
British Prime Minister’s website
Blair quote email is false –