Clearing through my desk today, I came across The Spectator for 6 October 2001.
Admist all the post 9/11 tears and fears, was an article by Peter Oborne entitled "One wishes Blair the best of luck, but has he gone ever so slightly mad?" Commenting on the Prime Minister's speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Oborne closes by stating:
Missing from Blair's speech was any warning that the war might be long, that British soldiers might die and that we face the prospect of retaliation. Entirely lacking was any sense of the bleak, remorseless intractability of events, or that man is a shameful, fallen, miserable creature. Politicians with generous natures and expansive schemes for the betterment of mankind crop up from time to time. Usually they are American: invariably they fail. Tony Blair's ambition is the broadest in reach of any world statesman since Woodrow Wilson or perhaps J.F. Kennedy. Wilson's scheme was rejected by the world while Kennedy's legacy was Vietnam. Nevertheless, one wishes Mr Blair all the luck in the world.
Given what we now know about Blair's intentions with regards to Iraq, Oborne perhaps appears a tad generous. Even so, as crystal balls go - Oborne has been proved pretty much on the money.