Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We didn't withdraw troops too soon from Iraq - we shouldn't have been there in the first place.

I wasn't alone to be uneasy about the rationale for the Iraq war and for the UK's involvement in it. But a chance encounter with a distinguished British journalist and political commentator back in the Autumn of 2002 was revealing. He was, and is, a man with his ear to the ground and with impeccable contacts and credentials. Politically he could be described of being of the sceptical Right. Not a Party man, but broadly a Conservative. He told me that he had it on good authority that Saddam was a real threat to Britain. I took this information on trust, as he had. I didn't suddenly become pro the War, but I wasn't going to call the British Prime Minister (who of course was propagating the "threat" allegation ) a liar. But, as we now know, Blair was lying.

We go to war on a lie. Our troops are killed without there being any honest justification for the adventure. We were part of an utterly botched exercise militarily, as we now so vividly see, and politically. We threw good troops in increasing numbers into a shambles. Some of them died too. The post war planning was non existent. We failed to understand even the first thing about the religio-political status of the region. We make a bad situation worse and kept on digging.

We didn't withdraw too soon. We shouldn't have been there in the first place. As someone said the one thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. The rhetoric recycles every few years. "Never let it be said that Britain stood idly by..," Eden? Thatcher? Major? Blair? Cameron? - all of them. Glory hunters trying to find Britain's post Imperial role and trying to be Churchill. 


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