And so the Blair book promotion found its way to an appearance on the Daily Show last Tuesday. You can see part of the interview on 4OD HERE, but be warned: it’s towards the end of the programme.
The predictable part was that, as ever, Tone showed the audience that part of his persona that he wanted to show them, and no more. Also, he was right, and continued to stress the terrorist threat. More disturbingly, he has got into the rut of obsession over Iran.
The more interesting part of the interview was Jon Stewart trying to manoeuvre Blair into giving some kind of convincing answer to the ideology that attempts to justify military intervention in a succession of countries on the basis that the local branch of the Al-Qaeda franchise might be in town. Stewart set out his concerns thus:
“I live in New York. We have cockroaches ... I will never, as long as I live in New York City, be totally rid of cockroaches. Now, I could seal my apartment; I could use bug bombs so that it was nearly unlivable and reduce the amount of cockroaches. But what kind of life is that for me? Do you see what I'm saying? Do you see where I'm going here? Our strategy seems idealistic and naïve to some extent.”
He later went on:
“This is what I mean by naive: Omigod, we have cockroaches. We have to get rats to eat them. Omigod, now we have rats! Oh no, we better getter cats! Oh no, we're overrun by cats; let's get dogs! Omigod, we need to get polar bears!
Do you understand what I'm saying? We are chasing our tails around...
Our resources are not limitless. We cannot continue to go into countries, topple whatever regime we find distasteful, occupy that country to the extent that we can rebuild its infrastructure, re-win the hearts and minds because here's my point: Ultimately within that, there could still be a pocket of extremism in that country... So all that effort still would not gain us the advantage and the safety that we need, as evidenced by the attacks in England by homegrown extremists. So don't we need to rethink and be much smarter about the way we're handling this?"
Blair could be excused for not addressing that last question convincingly: none of the other supporters of that policy – “Dick” Cheney, “Wiggy” Bolton and the rest - have done so either.
But of course this wasn’t the point of his appearance: that was the promotion of the Blair book, and the Blair brand. Good for Tone, but not much use to the average Iraqi.