Although it can easily be argued that George W Bush and Tony Blair face a far lesser challenge than Roosevelt and Churchill did - that the war on terror is not a third world war - they may well, with the passage of time and the opening of the archives, join the ranks of Roosevelt and Churchill. Their societies are too divided today to deliver a calm judgment, and many of their achievements may be in the future: when Iraq has a stable democracy, with al-Qaeda neutralised, and when Israel and the Palestinian Authority are independent democracies, living side by side in constructive economic cooperation.He got some flak for that even from a former friend, but did I say sycophant? I meant to say, sycophant and idiot. But it gets worse and more cynical.
If they can move this latter aim, to which Bush and Blair pledged themselves on 12 November, it will be a leadership achievement of historic proportions.
Apparently just yesterday or the day before, the BBC reported that Gilbert was complaining that there are people objecting to his role as an Iraq war "inquiry" panellist because he is Jewish. Not because he supports Jewish supremacy or because he is a pro-establishment sycophant, but because he is Jewish. But did I say it gets worse? Cop this in The Times newspaper in an article headed Chilcot inquiry member Sir Martin Gilbert praises Gordon Brown:
A member of the official inquiry into the Iraq war has praised Gordon Brown just weeks before the Prime Minister gives evidence about his role in the conflict."Get it right"? Yeah right, just the man to appear on a panel to establish the rights and wrongs of the war on Iraq.
Sir Martin Gilbert said he was aware of the hard work undertaken by Mr Brown when he was asked to accompany him on an official visit to Israel last year.
The distinguished historian made the comments in an interview in which he condemned “anti-Semitic” criticism that two of the five Chilcot committee members are Jews.
He said more senior people should speak out against the “terrifying” rise anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli opinion in Britain.Sir Martin praised Mr Brown - who agreed last week to give evidence to the inquiry before the general election - for his support for Israel and Jews.
“One of the curious things about Britain today is that we have had this terrifying sort of rise in crude anti-Israel anti-Semitic feeling on the one hand, often fuelled by one or two newspapers,” he said.
“On the other hand we have a Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who is totally committed to Israel and feels very close to Jewish people.
“He asked me to come with him last year when he came to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) and I watched in the period before his visit just how carefully he worked on the visit... I was impressed he was spending so much time and effort to get it right.”