Not the Faith of Their FathersIssue: Summer 2004
On Thursday, March 20, 2003, when the American stealth bombers launched the war a trifle ahead of schedule with the decapitation attempt on Saddam Hussein, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair told his staff that he wanted to end his televised address to the nation with the words "God bless you." The staff erupted in protest until Blair grumbled, through brushes and sponges as his make-up was applied, "You are the most ungodly lot I have everâ€¦." His speechwriter, Peter Hyman, who is Jewish (and less than fully employed since Blair writes his important speeches himself), objected "Ungodly?--count me out." Somebody else on the staff suggested it was not quite the same God. "It is the same God", said Blair firmly. In the end, Blair closed his speech with a tame "Thank you."