Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Italian Job

Like rats abandoning a sinking, flaming ship, George Bush's strongest allies in the Coalition of the Willing are beginning to back away from the wreckage that is the White House administration today. The willing seem a little less so after Fitzgerald's investigation started digging into corners previously left dusty.

Clearly seeing the grand jury writing on the White House walls, it took less then a day after Libby's indictment in the Plame affair for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to come forward and declare that he had "tried many times to convince the American president not to go to war." All to no avail, of course. For someone who has been a strong Bush/Blair ally, indeed, someone who brought Italy into the disaster in Iraq against the wishes of a majority of Italians, Berlusconi's "revalation" is rather amusing, the timing impeccably maladroit. Also of note is how George Bush has now become "the American president" as opposed to a dear "friend," something Berlusconi has called Bush many times. The backpeddling is furious.

Of course, Berlusconi's expression of reservations about invading Iraq had not been widely known though he claims to have made efforts to avoid the war. Just a few months ago and after the death of Italian intelligence offiicer, Nicola Calipari, in a much-publicised checkpoint shooting incident, Berlusconi was trumpeting his country's commitment to the Iraq escapade and that America and Italy
remain solid in their work in favor of the people and the Iraqi government, for the reconstruction of a stable, free and democratic Iraq.
With the White House in turmoil and the whole "intelligence failure" being exposed apace, it will be interesting to see how "solid" Berlusconi remains toward the work in Iraq. In fact, I fully expected that the "solid" is sublimating into rhetorical vapours with every syllable uttered by Berlusconi.

Not that this should surprise. Like all such friends, when things go awry, it's everyone for themselves and Berlusconi is merely demonstrating that quality that sets his ilk apart. Facing an upcoming election and behind in the polls and with eyes and ears looking toward Rome and Berlusconi's intelligence agency, SISMI, having some not entirely known hand in the Niger document forgeries, Berlusconi knows he's got his own hide to protect first, so it is time to start bailing out White House affiliation as quickly as possible.


Blogger The Misanthrope said...

I agree with you except on the fact about friends abandoning one during a crisis. If they cannot stand by you during a time of need then they were not friends to begin with. What hurts then is the fact that you accepted them as friends.

9:21 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Agreed. I probably should have made more explicit the notion that such people don't actually cultivate friendships, other than ones of convenience.

1:00 AM  

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