Max Hastings takes issue with George Bush:
“In his regular radio address to the American people on Saturday he linked the British alleged aircraft plotters with Hizbullah in Lebanon, and these in turn with the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. All, said the president of the world’s most powerful nation, share a ‘totalitarian ideology’, and a desire to ‘establish a safe haven from which to attack free nations’…. In the United States a disturbingly large minority of people – polls suggest around 40% – remain willing to accept Bush’s assertions that Americans and their allies, which chiefly means the British, are faced with a single global conspiracy by Islamic fundamentalists to destroy our societies….
“Bush has chosen to lump together all violent Muslim opposition to what he perceives as western interests everywhere in the world, as part of a single conspiracy. He is indifferent to the huge variance of interests that drives the Taliban in Afghanistan, insurgents in Iraq, Hamas and Hizbullah fighting the Israelis. He simply identifies them as common enemies of the United States….
“Far from acknowledging that any successful strategy for addressing Muslim radicalism must include a just outcome for the Palestinians, he endorses Israel’s attempt to crush them and their supporters by force of arms alone, together with Israeli expansion on the West Bank….
“There is no chance that the west will get anywhere with the Muslim world until the US government is willing to disassemble a spread of grievances in widely diverse societies, examine them as separate components, and treat each on its merits…. The madness of Bush’s policy is that he has made a wilful choice to amalgamate the grossly irrational, totalitarian and homicidal objectives of al-Qaida with the just claims of Palestinians and grievances of Iraqis.
“Tony Blair … clings to a messianic conviction that he must continue to endorse American statements and policies to maintain his restraining influence on George Bush. This invites speculation about what the president might do if Tony was not at his elbow. Seize Mecca?”