blair's war
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Who's to blame for the failure of diplomacy in the months leading up to the war on Iraq? Can the U.S. and Europe repair the damage?


Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for another informative, balanced presentation. I rely on PBS for this type of programming. "Blair's War" and "The Long Road To War" have helped me understand why we are now fighting in Iraq. If the idea that was presented, that France and our other allies are actually more concerned about the US taking it upon itself to decide and enforce how other countries should be governed/resolve conflicts, rather than dealing with the actual details of each situation, then we have huge communication problems with these allies. I think that the outcome of the war and the rebuilding will have a great impact on how it is all viewed and the ultimate mending of our diplomatic fences. Unfortunately I fear that we are going to be drawn deeper into other areas of trouble, North Korea and Iran are just two examples. We will need a larger coalition.

Finally, I am grateful to Tony Blair for speaking and acting with such integrity. I hope our leaders will behave in the same manner. Their decision to use a secret bidding process and award contracts to administration donors rather than including our allies in the process seems arrogant, shortsighted and does not bode well for future relations.

fairfield, oh


Dear FRONTLINE,

I support what we're doing in Iraq, though I feel we will come to regret the way George Bush got us there.

I believe that in the post-9-11 world, an unbalanced man like Saddam Hussein might well give weapons or aid to lunatic terrorists. I don't believe he did it with Al Qaeda. But I believe he could and might some day, and so we needed to confront the threat now.

Still, or perhaps because I believe that, I don't believe we can stand alone, do what we wish to whomever we wish to do it. For in the end it will jeopardize our ability to deal with these security issues as they come up. We must be multi-lateralists, internationalists. We need to constnatly be cultivating these relationships, showing the world we are interested, sowing consensus, showing we are committed to a globalized world, but also demanding the world not blink when it has a job to do -- as Europe did, for example, in Kosovo.

Above all, we need to understand the world and George Bush does not, nor does he want to.

He doesn't understand the necessity of consulting allies and others around the world. Had he done that, had he convinced the world that he was indeed multi-lateralist, he might well have convinced more countries to back us in dealing with Saddam and Saddam, who respects only force, might well have disarmed. Had Saddam not disarmed, we might well have a much larger, truer "coalition" in Iraq today and Iraq might have a brighter future ahead of it than it does with simply George Bush and his limited attention span. How long will it take for him to forget Iraq? I'm betting 9 mos to a year at the outside.

George Bush doesn't understand that in this world everything is connected. So when he disavowed the Kyoto accords, he made it more difficult to get anyone to go along with us in confronting Iraq two years later. He did the same when he repudiated international criminal courts. He does the same when he displays ignorance of the world.

All this eventually comes together and creates, abroad, resentment, suspicion of our motives and that will do us nothing but harm.

chicago, illinois


Dear FRONTLINE,

Perhaps the "Martian" leaders in the US Administration might benefit from a crash course in Diplomacy 101. Otherwise, one shudders to think what is next on this "Cold Warrior" agenda. As for repairing the damage with Europe, it is doubtful that an imperial presidency which views the UN as irrelevant and France & Germany as "old Europe" will take serious steps to reconcile with any nation that does not fully support the US position on international issues.

Joan Conroy
saco, maine


Dear FRONTLINE,

I just watched your program on Blair's War. I was so outraged at your bias towards Tony Blair and George W. Bush that I had to email my complaint before attending to bed. Your slant towards the EU (France) was obvious. A war waged by the USA and Brits only? You did not even mention the coalition of the willing, which represents over 45 countries including the eastern bloc, which understands what it is like to live under dictators and dictorial goverments and or regimes. Foreign relations? Since when do we make decisions in America concerning right and wrong based on the response or feelings of France. Can anyone say WWII or more recently Kosovo? Frontline, your reporting on this particular subject was clearly one-sided, the side of France, not the side of justice in removing a modern day Hitler in Saddam!

chris smith
waverly, ohio


Dear FRONTLINE,

The usual exterior look at the French, funny people who speak a comic language whilst gesticulating.

Only English-speaking stalwarts who agree with the American world-view need be taken seriously, their opinions analysed. Only Anglo-Saxons are idealists with coherent political opinions, after all. People who labour under the heavy burden of speaking a language other than English, and are thus not easily interviewed in American pop-sci TV, are by definition circus performers who get in the way of the real movers and shakers, i.e., those people whose rhetoric is familiar and easily accessible to the American reporter.

This programme failed to educate its viewers about the very thing that put Tony Blair in hot water in the first place: the mysterious reason that makes MOST OF THE WORLD (including most British voters) agree with France, not Blair, not Bush. Unless that thinking can be analysed seriously and decorously, American viewers will never understand why 9 simple votes could not be found in the Security Council, notwithstanding the bullying bluster, threats, bribes and tantrums of US "diplomacy".

Perhaps FRONTLINE can get poor victim Blair to explain it to them. Not that he seems to understand it either.

Edward Tello
new york, new york


Dear FRONTLINE,

From this documentary one could deduce that Mr. Blair has bitten off more than he could chew in trying to be the power broker between the US and the EU.

I am fairly certain that the problems posed by the Bush regime will pass and that geopolitics will be based on peace and multilateralism. The unfortunate side-effect will be the eventual and ungraceful demise of the Blair government.

miami, fl


Dear FRONTLINE,

I was disappointed that not one view took the stance that maybe Blair might truly have discovered moral and logical reasons for standing for a new policy for a new world threatened by new weapons.

Chris Lyman
albany, new york


Dear FRONTLINE,

I think it is rare in the course of human endeavors to have a chance to free a people from a tyrannical leader. I am proud to be part of a country with the courage to do so. I am also proud of Tony Blair for putting his political future on the line to stand with the United States. I think he will be rewarded politically for his position.

Philip Weglein
baltimore, md


Dear FRONTLINE,

Disappointingly superficial. You closed your eyes to commercial interests underlying the political stance and moral posture of each government involved.

It was like describing a dying patient without mentioning the lethal infection involved.

Behrooz Bassim
potsdam, ny


Dear FRONTLINE,

Bush is entirely to blame for the failure of diplomacy. Everything he says is 'undiplomatic' and is interpreted as such by the rest of the world. His every utterance is tainted by bellicosity and arrogance - hardly characteristics that help build trust and cooperation. Under his leadership, I am pessimistic about the prospects for improved relations between the U.S. and Europe.

jane carpineto
somerville, ma


Dear FRONTLINE,

I believe the failure of diplomacy is primarily due to the Bush administration's early decision that war was imminent. Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush never showed Europe that the U.S. was seriously considering any other course of action. I think that after the regime change is complete, I believe that it will not be a long war, the rebuilding effort will repair some of the damage. However, I am of the opinion that even though the U.S. is seen as a rouge nation in many countries, our soldiers and our people (not necessarily our leaders) will be seen as true champions of freedom and liberty. My hope is that this freedom and liberty will continue to flourish in other parts of the world as well as evolve in this country and create a more pure form of DEMOCRACY here at home.

Patrick Craner
syracuse, new york


Dear FRONTLINE,

Most who were against a second resolution at the UN knew that the USA was all along following a "preemptive" philosophy drawn up by a bunch of free-mason american hawks over a decade ago.

9/11 was actually a favour to these hawks because it permitted them to use the American public psychosis that followed in order to put their preemptive draft in action. France had better common sense than the UK in discerning this. Iraq was never a threat to the US as is evidenced by the progress of this non-sanctioned war.

To most of the World, the US is seen as a grade eight bully in a schoolyard beating up on a kid in grade one (As Israel is seen towards Palestine by the way). There was no principal around to stop it, all the others could do is stick to their principles called the United Nations and watch.

The US coalition is nothing more than the UK, a slavic country, a baltic country, and a few Micronesian islands, each seeking to gain somthing other than national security.... Is this moral?

Josh Pierre Gaudet
dieppe, nb, canada


Dear FRONTLINE,

Perhaps the title of tonight's Frontline episode would have been more suited had it been inclusive of the major political leaders from France, Germany, and the United States. Tony Blair's difficult position was certainly outlined in the program, but he is but one voice in the debate and in tonight's documentary.

The documentary tonight was well done and one of the few (along with Bill Moyers) voices in journalism that continues to uphold the critical role of a truly free press in a democracy. I hope that Frontline journalism continues to present the "behind the scenes" actions as clearly and as truthfully as it seemed to do so in tonight's program.

I also hope Frontline will give voice and camera time to the many United States citizens, like myself, who are absolutely sickened by the role our representatives had in giving this administration a free hand, a blank check, and the lives of our young people to wage this war. Listening to tonight's show, the irony that it was the French prime minister and the French UN representative who spoke more fervently to the basic values of of human life, which I have always envisioned naively to be ours, added to the sting of the betrayal that I feel our representatives committed last Fall.

Please keep this sting of betrayal, this heart-wrenching reality of what our government and our policies have become, in front of the PBS viewers of the United States. We have to be informed; we have to be disturbed to the very core of our souls about what is going on if there is to be any hope at all.

Patty Kean
arlington, ma


Dear FRONTLINE,

I don't know how the rest of the people feel but, I feel that Bush, although with a mind set of a decision already made, exhausted all efforts to resolve this issue diplomatically. He seemed to have tried pleeding his case with the UN. I think that the other nations (scared by our country's firm stance) shied away from anything more than political run around and excessive paper work delays. I stand behind my president and my country.

newton, ks


Dear FRONTLINE,

Just thought that this program leaned too much toward those who were internationalists. There appeared to be no balance and precious few comments by anyone who could see that the internationalist route was not in the best interest of the United States and/or the world community.

Charles Yongue
staten island, ny

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