London Blasts: Media Review
60: 5 September 2005
Today's Top Realists -
Tories Once Again!
Norman Lamont Calls For
TODAY'S TOP REALISTS -
TORIES ONCE AGAIN!
editorial today is entitled, 'Cracks in the edifice of denial',
but it's not about the connection between the 7/7 bombings
and Iraq (it's about electoral reform). The cracks in the
edifice of denial are being made at the moment by Conservatives,
led by Ken Clarke, leadership challenger.
For example, former Tory
health secretary Stephen Dorrell has
'warned that the Iraq
war had made Britain more vulnerable to terrorist attack.
"Of course that is
true," he said. "Who
do they think they are kidding?" ' (Independent,
Lamont, former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer
backs this up, and takes it further:
'When Mr Clarke launched
his leadership campaign, he said that he wanted to raise
the level of debate that had declined during his lifetime.
He certainly did that on Thursday with a heavyweight speech.
Typically, he said things that will not be popular in
the Conservative Party, which is in a state of complete
denial about Iraq. But even Conservative MPs may notice
the attention that his views attracted.'
'... Mr Clarke was right to call the war “a
disastrous decision”. It is remarkable that this
needs to be said at all.'
'Iraq has been this
country’s biggest foreign policy disaster since
Suez, has made Britain
and the world a more dangerous place, and yet has
hardly been criticised at all by the Conservative Party.'
'There has been a detached
indifference to the massive loss of life: 2,000 Americans,
probably ten times that number of Iraqis killed, and perhaps
100,000 injured or maimed for life — for what purpose?
It may be difficult to see how the US can lose in Iraq,
but it is also not easy to see how it can win in an acceptable
timeframe. There may be civil war, Iraq may split. You
would have to be an extreme optimist to believe that Iraq
will be a united, stable Western-style democracy in ten
of the points that Mr Clarke made are blindingly obvious
but have barely been whispered by Conservatives. “The
reasons given to Parliament for joining the invasion were
bogus.” He might have added that they also keep
changing. The latest reason
given by President Bush days before the London bombings
is that we are fighting in Iraq so as not to be attacked
in our own country. To open today the Government’s
White Paper, published before the war, with the Prime
Minister’s foreword warning us of “the current
and serious threat to the UK” and its maps with
concentric circles reaching Europe is a reminder of how
Tony Blair at least deceived
himself and thus the country.'
'The Government’s arguments
about the connection between terrorism and the war also
keep changing. At first it said that there was no connection,
now it says that Iraq does not justify terrorism. No one
ever said that it did. Mr
Blair is a master at rejecting points no one has made.'
NORMAN LAMONT CALLS FOR WITHDRAWAL
Norman Lamont takes the case further
than Ken Clarke, calling for withdrawal from Iraq, first
commending Clarke for 'bluntly pin[ning] the responsibility
on US military tactics for alienating many moderate Iraqis':
'It is difficult to see how you can
win hearts and minds when military strategy initially
made so little attempt to distinguish between combatant
Here is Lamont on withdrawal:
'Mr Clarke hit the most sensitive
point for the Tories when he said that a true friend of
the United States is a candid friend. Here he echoes the
criticisms of Mr Blair made by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President
Carter’s National Security Adviser. “US presidents
are not always right.” '
'On one point however, Mr Clarke
may be wrong, and may find himself outflanked even by
the Americans. He believes it would be “immoral
to walk away”, and that we should not pull the troops
out. Much the same was
said about Vietnam. The time has to come when the
Iraqis assume responsibility for their own destiny. As
Senator Chuck Hagel has said: “Staying the course
is not a policy.” Without a stated intention to
withdraw, Iraqis may never be ready or willing to take
control of their country.'
is a profoundly un-Conservative war. It might have
appealed to Gladstone, but even he, I suspect, might have
had his doubts. Of course it is true that more democracy
would make the Middle East more stable. But democracy
cannot be rolled out like Astroturf, and imposing it on
backward countries carries huge risks.'
'Britain and America would have done
well to remember the words of a former US president. “The
time has passed when America will make every other nation’s
conflict our own, or make other nations’ failure
our responsibility, or presume to tell the people of other
nations how to manage their own affairs. Just as
we respect the right of each nation to determine its own
future, we also recognise the responsibility of each nation
to secure its own future.” That was Richard Nixon
in his second inaugural address. He understood better
than President Bush both the world and the limits of American
Nixon was of course being
entirely deceitful in this address, but what is interesting
is that this sentiment is being voiced so strongly by a
leading Conservative (who supported the war until the Hutton
Report was published, he tells us).
More on Ken Clarke later.
SNIPPET - LETTERS
Another crack in the edifice
in this letter
in the Telegraph by Christopher
Leadbetter, making some points we made here a few days ago.
(His letter is followed by an equally relevant warning of
the counter-productive nature of Khan's atrocity.)
JNV welcomes feedback.
This page last updated 5 September 2005