THE AUSSIES RALLY

A majority now support the war.

BLAIR’S NEW CONFIDENCE: Good piece in the Times of London about Blair’s new self-confidence and maturity. Is it what happens when a man loses his father? Money quote:

The other man who is feeling the force of Mr Blair’s new-found assurance is Gordon Brown. The Chancellor used to rely on his ability to squish his kid brother, the Prime Minister. He dominated Mr Blair intellectually and played psychological games with him, such as avoiding meetings or refusing to tell him the contents of his Budgets until the last minute. This dynamic is changing. When the Prime Minister wanted to fix a meeting with the Chancellor some weeks ago, Mr Brown tried to make him come to the Treasury (where the Chancellor sits on a chair much higher than that of his guest, who is immediately cast in the role of supplicant). “No, you come over here,” barked Mr Blair down the phone. “I’m the f***ing Prime Minister!”

Yes, he f***ing well is.

MY CHAGRIN: An emailer writes:

Thursday you said: “I’m chagrined at my own optimism in this regard.” Don’t be. You’re immersed in the war and you’re going through the same changes as the soldiers. Everyone has to be optimistic at the outset. If a soldier ever saw a vision of what lay ahead of him, he’d never get off the boat. And then learn that war is not title bout that ends with a knockout or a bell at 15 rounds. It is an endurance contest in which the healthiest attitude is to prepare for everything but expect nothing. It ends when it ends. That’s what Mr. Bush was trying to tell us this morning. If you have time, you might read Gleaves Whitney’s piece in today’s National Review Online. In his e-mail, Ms. Whitney’s son in Kuwait writes: “Everyone finds ways to deal with the fear, pain, and suffering. I too have found a way. My life is not back in Michigan. It is here, now.” I had that same moment during the 1968 Tet Offensive. My father described having it sometime after St. Lo, as he recovered from his wounds; my grandfather, somewhere on the Mexican border chasing Pancho Villa, with World War I still ahead of him. What counts is the moment: This is what happened today; these things are likely to happen tomorrow. (And if they don’t happen, something else will.) That’s not much of a philosophy to live by, but then war isn’t life. Quite the opposite. Hope this helps.

Yes, it does.