Friday, January 29, 2010

It was the war itself that was wrong

(Click on photo to enlarge)

The truth is that Blair and Brown went to war because they thought it was easy

By Adrian Hamilton
The Independent

"Putting Tony Blair in the dock before the Chilcot Committee was not the idea when the enquiry was set up. Just the opposite. Blame was very precisely not supposed to be the game. Yet in the dock he is today, having to explain away a tide of revelations about how Britain went to war and why it did so.

Quite right too. The invasion of Iraq was always a war Blair made very much his own. And to give him his due he has never pretended otherwise, preferring to declare it a project he personally always believed in rather than tamely followed in an effort to please the new Republican administration of President Bush.......

The truth is that Blair, Gordon Brown and all the colleagues who acceded, went to war because they thought it was easy. After all the experience of the first Gulf War, Sierra Leone and Kosovo, the choice seemed a simple one. You sent in the troops, they overwhelmed the opposition and a grateful civilian population threw flowers on the tanks and kisses on the soldiery.

And, let's face it, if that is what had happened, you wouldn't have heard all the sophistry and doubts that have come from the officials and ministers before Chilcot....

But there is no real sign that the fundamental lesson, that war can only be an instrument of last resort tried when all else has failed and then only under the most precise circumstances, has been learned, as Britain desperately tries to earn favour with Washington by backing with forced enthusiasm every US move in Afghanistan. Gordon Brown talks of what he demands of the Afghans in the way of anti-corruption and deals with the Taliban for all the world as if he was a Victorian viceroy. And David Miliband lectures the Yemenis on what they must do to earn our aid. Chilcot certainly isn't going to teach our political class otherwise......"

No comments: