Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Five years on (3)

The Iraqi security forces, backed by the US, are making strong headway. I'd say that the "tough love" approach by the US rapidly advanced the conditions for stability.

The indecision and woolly British approach, underlined by a complete lack of political direction, stand in stark contrast.
The UK for once has a lesson to learn from the US. That's what the Iraqis tell me. (Tim Collins in the Radio Times , 8 Mar 2008)
In these 5 years, a convenient and simple narrative has been constructed, with a few lumpy bits left out.

First, "there was no connection between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda". No doubt there were many exaggerated claims. One standard rebuttal I have heard on the BBC is that Saddam Hussein was indisputably connected with the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993, but I have not recently heard anybody mention Ansar al-Islam. There is considerable dispute about this: their base was in Iraq, but in a part, up close against the de facto Kurdish area and Iran, not really under the control of the former regime. However, it remains that the Peshmerga, with the support of the US, drove them from their stronghold in April 2003, though some of them may have escaped to Iran and subsequently infiltrated back into Iraq.

Second, weapons of mass destruction: even Tim Collins says, "I think it's a matter of historical fact now that the nation was  misled." It's as well, though, to remember who was the chief misleader: to repeat myself yet again, up until December 2002, Saddam Hussein led his generals to believe Iraq had chemical and biological weapons to fight with.

I did hear one BBC reporter say that the Iraq war has lasted almost as long as the Second World War. Well, only 8 months to go, or 11 if you don't forget the war in Japan (small details like Hiroshima). It has certainly lasted longer than the Spanish Civil War. Actually, I think it is correct to regard that 1936-9 conflict, together with the Second World War, as an almost continuous struggle against fascism.


Blogger Ikez said...

Read the recent IDA report, not the media's lazy reading of the summary, on Saddam and terrorism. You can find the links at my site.

I've read them all. Saddam supported Ansar al Islam with money and collaboration as well as armed, funded, trained and encouraged numerous other Islamic jihadist groups, including al Qaeda proxies.

You guys in the antiwar camp do not need to overreach on opposing the war and overlooking what Saddam was actually doing. You have a good case against the war by citing its cost and its lethality.

Why go too far?

12:45 pm, April 09, 2008  
Anonymous DavidP said...

I'm not in "the antiwar camp". Especially by British standards, quite the opposite.

10:08 pm, April 09, 2008  

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