In the wake of last week’s Paris attack and continued terror fears in Europe, former British prime minister Tony Blair rejected the oft-repeated claim that the West is responsible for the rise of Islamic radicalism.
Blair sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday to discuss reaction to the upsurge in violent jihadism sweeping the globe, particularly in Europe. Media outlets such as the New York Times have argued that the violence is due to anti-Islamic sentiment and structural inequalities in European society. U.S. lawmakers like Democratic Connecticut senator Chris Murphy claim that wars like the one waged by Western powers in Iraq precipitated the surge in Islamic radicalism.
Blair dismissed those rationales, saying that ”different programs on unemployment or social regeneration” won’t deal with the problem. He noted that the 2005 London bombers were “not people who are poor, they were people who had all the benefits of the welfare systems and the social support that our countries can give.”
“In the end, this is not something we’ve caused, this is something we’ve been caught up in,” he said.
He explicitly rejected the idea that the Guantanamo Bay prison or the Iraq War helped drive the fundamentalist attacks. “If you look at the justifications given, they’re multiple, and there’s always a justification,” he said. “In respect to France, for example, they were opposed to the war and Iraq. And yet still, this terrorist attack occurs.”The French were also totally onside with the Palestinian narrative and Abbas's bid for statehood at the UN, yet still, this terrorist attack occurs.
Update: Here's Commentary's Seth Mandel (who knew he could be so funny?) on loyal spinner Josh Earnest:
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, as the Washington Times reported (via Hot Air), explained why administration officials will not be using “Islam” when Islam is involved unless the actions meet the administration’s guidelines for Koranic faithfulness:Further to that cave pictures query: maybe instead of answering questions from the White House press corps, Josh and the journalists could play Pictionary. It could prove to be a whole lot more informative--and honest--than the way they're doing things now.“I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m repeating the justification they have cited that I think is illegitimate. They had invoked Islam to justify their attacks,” he told reporters. “I think what I’m trying to do is to describe to you what happened and what they did. These individuals are terrorists. … We have chosen not to use that label [of radical Islam] because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what happened.”From the administration’s perspective, then, here is what happened in Paris: angry, boom, yelling, bang, very bad. Is that a sufficiently clear description? Do the administration’s genius advisors think scribbling pictures on the wall of a cave would be safer? Is there a single adult anywhere in the White House?