Good "guys and gals" falling into bad company is not new. The police are only too aware of this problem. In juvenile gangs, among sons and daughters of thieves, drug addicts and prostitutes who grew up "in the street", one finds children of doctors, lawyers and senior police officers, who were sucked in into the life of crime and depravity by falling into bad company.
But what happens, if the "scene" is not a "run down neighborhood", but the "world stage", and the actors are not "juvenile delinquents", but "heads of states", and some inwardly good heads of states fall into bad company?
The answer is in front of our eyes. It is "wars and terror".
Looking at George Bush and Tony Blair, one cannot help seeing that they are basically good people.
They both proved their ability to give up a bad habit. George Bush has succeeded in overcoming his alcohol addiction. Tony Blair rejected socialism, which was the philosophy of the Old Labour Party.
They both proved that they can stick to a policy which they believe to be right, even, if their views arouse strong opposition.
Thus, George Bush is promoting his Abstinence Initiative and even wants to enshrine the Sanctity of the Family in the American Constitution, both of which are unpopular with the "liberal" establishment, who believe in "sexual freedom". Similarly, Tony Blair had to face strong opposition among his own party members over his Students Loans proposal.
In both the cases they were not motivated by a desire to achieve cheap popularity by pandering to a popular, but mistaken view. Their sole motivation was to do what they believed to be right. This is a rare and valuable quality among politicians. It has even the potential of turning politicians into world class statesmen and honest and competent administrators.
So, how these two basically good people have plunged the world into an orgy of slaughter, which they justified by propaganda techniques borrowed from the likes of Goebbels and Stalin?
The answer is - bad company.
At the very start of the presidency of George Bush an event happened that had a profound effect on him and the rest of the world - the terrorist attacks of the 9/11.
The initial reaction of George Bush to these events in understandable. Many people would have reacted in a similar way: "Catch'em all and kill'em!".
But George Bush was in a position which laid on him responsibility for the fate of the world. He had at his disposal resources to plunge the world into decades of destruction and bloodshed, or to turn the world from the world order based on constant rivalry between sovereign warlord nation states to a world order based on rule of law.
So, at a time when George Bush was burning with overpowering desire to hit back at the terrorists, he found himself surrounded by a company of people who appeared to be eager to offer him enthusiastic support. And unlike the rest of the world, whose reaction to the events of the 9/11 were of surprise and shock, these people happened to be well versed in the problems of terrorism and could offer immediate guidance and advice.
These people were a group of Israeli politicians and political theorists and like-minded American politicians and theorists, some of whom were within, or close to, the American administration.
Israel had the problem of terrorism since its creation in 1948. The origin of this problem was the expulsion of some million Arabs from the coastal Palestine, which became the present day Israel. The attempts of the Palestinians to reclaim their properties and the Israeli efforts to resist these attempts become known as the Middle East Conflict.
So using the 9/11 hysteria, the Israeli politicians and their American associates had no difficulty to persuade George Bush that the way to "defeat terrorism" was to reshape the Middle East in a way that would favor the Israelis - the idea that Benjamin Netanyahu was promoting in his books and speeches for the past few decades.
George Bush liked the idea, as it put the Americans in a position of the World Ruler. And from that time on all his speeches became full of ideas and concepts borrowed from Netanyahu's books and speeches.
This lead to the US war against Iraq, and the Americans in Iraq facing the same problems that the Israelis have been facing in Palestine.
The other effect of George Bush's having fallen under the Israeli influence is the inability by the Americans to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself. Whenever the Americans try to resolve that conflict, the Israelis are saying that they are "fighting terror". The phrase "fighting terror" has a magic effect on George Bush - it makes him justify any action by the Israelis by saying, "Israel has right to defend herself".
Tony Blair wanted to be a friend of George Bush. When George Bush declared his War on Terror, Tony thought it was a good idea. Wars always strengthen positions of the politicians in power. They can appeal to patriotism, vilify enemies, threaten their own people with imminent dangers. So he joined George Bush in his war, and thus fell under the influence of the same bad company as George.
The first sign that a good child has fallen into a bad company is lying.
Mother: "You smell of alcohol, son! Have you been drinking?"
Son: "We had some chemistry lessons at school, and I spilt some methilated spirit on my clothes."
Mother: "But it's Sunday today. You did not go to school, and I gave you new clothes in the morning!"
Son: "Well, I was ..."
George Bush and Tony Blair were no exception. Having fallen into a bad company, they began saying things that people found difficult to believe. The Iraq WMD stories were as difficult to justify as the smell of alcohol by the above teenager. And telling "stories" does no good for one's credibility.
Today George Bush and Tony Blair have credibility problems, and they still have to sort out the mess they created in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But, they are still "basically good guys".
They both face elections. And those who oppose them do not look better then them.
George Bush's opponent wants to be elected, because he was in active service in Vietnam. Does this make him fit to be President of the USA? Can he not come up with a better reason?
By contrast George Bush was elected to replace a discredited president. - Remember the Monica Lewinsky Affair? - A better reason than being in active service in Vietnam.
Tony Blair's opponent wants to be elected because his parents used to run a coffee shop. Is this all that is required to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom?
By contrast Tony Blair was elected to replace a discredited government. - Remember the "sleazy, slimy Tories" of 1997? - A better reason, than the parents having run a coffee shop.
Even the mess George and Tony have made in Afghanistan and Iraq is due to ignorance, deception and self-deception, rather than to premeditated "evil designs". They wanted to "liberate", "democratize", establish "peace and security in the world", not to destroy cities, kill and maim people, and create chaos, which they still do not know how to sort out.
And they did want to resolve the Middle East Conflict.
Tony Blair went there himself, to see it all with his own eyes. George Bush was sending emissary after emissary to turn his vision of the "two states living in peace side by side" into reality. He even had a "roadmap" drawn up. So, it was not lack of trying! Again, it was ignorance, deception and self-deception that prevented them from resolving the conflict.
And, while ignorance is the natural state, from which all people start off, and tendency to self-deception is part of "Human Nature", or, to put it more vividly, "work of the Devil", the deception came in the form of "advice" given by "friends", that is, influence of the bad company.
So, now that it is becoming increasingly obvious that George and Tony had no idea where their War on Terror will lead them to, is it not time for them to abandon their bad company and to start sorting out the mess they have created?
And the way to do that is to abandon politics and to start governing their own countries and the world.