This will not be a happy Thanksgiving for President George Bush, but he need just look across the Atlantic to know it could be worse. His only reliable ally, Britain's Tony Blair, now seems to be facing the full-scale parliamentary inquiry into the Iraq war -- its justification, conduct and aftermath -- that Bush has been able to avoid.
Leading opposition figures from the Conservative, Liberal-Democratic, Scottish National and Plaid Cymru (Welsh) parties have banded together to back the cross-party motion titled "Conduct of Government policy in relation to the war against Iraq" to demand that the case for an inquiry be debated in the House of Commons. They seem assured of the 200 signatures required to get such a debate -- and then the loyalty of Blair's dismayed and disillusioned Labor members of Parliament will be sorely tested.
"This apparently modest motion may be the iceberg toward which Blair's Titanic is sailing," said Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond.
Labor Party rebels have already inflicted one unprecedented defeat on Blair in this parliamentary session, and on the issue of Iraq, he commands little confidence. One leading Labor rebel, Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham, has already signed on to the motion.
It reads: "This House believes there should be a select committee of seven Members, being Members of Her Majesty's Privy Council, to review the way in which the responsibilities of government were discharged in relation to Iraq and all matters relevant thereto in the period leading up to military action in that country in March, 2003 and in its aftermath."
There's an interesting piece of information in this article that has been completely ignored by the gutless American press. This is certainly the first I've heard of this.
It also comes amid a hoist of other embarrassments for the government, including a bizarrely ham-handed attempt to use the Official Secrets Act to squash press reporting of a leaked five-page memo, stamped Top Secret. It records a conversation last year between Bush and Blair in which the British prime minister supposedly dissuaded the American president from bombing Al Jazeera TV in Qatar. The White House has dismissed the suggestion as "outlandish" after the report first appeared in the Daily Mirror, but the decision to invoke the Official Secrets Act has given the tale new prominence.
If true, this is quite a story, not liking the way Al Jazeera reports is one thing, but the suggestion of bombing them is outlandish. If Bush did indeed suggest this it only shows the extreme lengths Bush will go to silence dissent. If Bush can bomb Al Jazeera, I demand that FOX News be bombed as well, as I understand it the two stations are really nothing more than opposite sides of the same coin.