The revelations by ex PM Blair last week in the US tempts me to ask why he has chosen this moment to 'confess' to improperly invading Iraq along with his old buddy President Bush. Indeed, why did he feel it necessary to make this announcement away from British shores ? Why now ? Well, probably nothing to do with the results of The Chilcot Enquiry due out next year which will look pretty bleak for Blair. To me, the whole escapade was a waste of time, money and lives and Blair, like Bush is nothing but a war criminal who should face justice.
Public opinion was against the sheeplike PM as he made no apology for sucking up to his boss in the Oval Office. The invasion took place in the hopeful rather than certain event of finding chemical weapons hidden away by that nasty Saddam Hussein. Saddam, the despot who was given the full backing of Mrs T and the CIA only 20 years earlier. How times change...
Blair reckons ousting Saddam prompted the creation of ISIS, say no more...
At the time many Brits and well as Americans probably had very little good to say about the then French leader Jacques Chirac branding him and his country as 'cowards' and 'typical french' in time of conflict. UN Secretary Kofi Annan actually called the non UN sanctioned invasion as illegal and French Foreign Minister Dom de Villepin's iconic speech to the UN was laughed down by many war mongers across the Channel.
Does this mean that Chirac who has been proved right deserves an apology from the UK government ? I'm very grateful to him and his government for sticking to their guns.
Of course i'm not that naiive to believe the French didn't benefit from the conflict. The orders to rebuild parts of the Iraqi infrastructure flooded in and French companies haven't looked back but hey, that's war !
OK Andrew. I read it that Margaret didn't remember the details of Chirac's speech, over twenty years ago. That doesn't mean she can't remember the gist of it. Blimey -- sometimes I can hardly remember what was said on yesterday's news!
Do lighten up. I've only been a member for a few months, but I find most of these discussions interesting and friendly. Let's try to keep it that way.
Where is the notion of CIA presence from? Have they not refined the art of seeing all within from without.
Campbell, Blair's pet poodle. Both Scots names, neither tending to show much favour to Scotland, indeed much the opposite last year in the lead up to the referendum. What is very well known to observers of parliament is Blair's lack of metaphorical genitalia, which one of his admirers who also has a Scots name but disdain for us, has become specialised in since 2010. PMQs is the mark of a politician's strength, two such cowardly creatures. There I must say Thatcher comes across, excuse the cross-gendering, as a real man compared to these gelatinous creatures.
The pumpkin lamps are alight, perhaps when the last Ryanair flight goes over in a few minutes we might just scare them all off. If you hear of a flight diverted to Bordeaux two girls and an aged father might be behind it. Here's tae a fine All Hallows tae ye tae! Slàinte!
It seems your enmity towards Blair is a little excessive. You hardly really know the condition of his genetalia.
I do not agree that the CIA presence on the ground in Iraq was extensive. Rather the opposite.
Do we, relying on the media for our information, actually know the story of the invasion.
We certainly can not depend on ludicrous stories from Joe Walsh(?) and his more deceptive wife Valerie Plaine, who was a functionaire well-known around town, and never an
That Sadam poisoned Shia in the wetlands and gassed Kurds is not in dispute. The victims were trea
ted by French guys.
So, do we know. I have analysed Blair’s recent talk and do not think he told us anything. Have you read the
memoirs of his spokesman at the time, Alastair??? Fascinating manipulation of our language. You may recognize some of his shenanigans, being Scots. From where do you hail?
Interesting that your American colleagues in Afghanistan recognized your '50s opinions too.
By the way, your comment on Reagans policies and the need to cover up made me wonder about the correlation with Hillary Clintons current behavior. Is there a cover up of arms trafficking in Lybia
Exactly Peter, it was the last ditch and the whole WMD issue was in doubt because the weapons inspections were not meeting serious opposition. It was becoming clear that it was highly likely Saddam was all mouth and little substance. There again, at the time of Reagan who was supporting and arming him? Whoops, what did somebody want/need to cover up, thus the haste?
The CIA intelligence was said to be reliable, Iraq was so closely watched they could hardly have pushed a wheelbarrow out of the country, let alone what they might have had. There is a nagging lack of weapons facilities any kind of WMDs would require. Biochemical weapons in one form or another have been used since the Dark Ages, probably earlier, for instance the corpses of highly infectious human beings and other creatures. They tend to be taken for granted then denied, as if we are all fools. Poison gas tends to be of limited potential subject to atmospheric conditions, it also depends on the type whether they were classifiable as WMDs, albeit they could have been extensively used. The Iran theory holds a lot of credit though and Netanyahu has sometimes pushed the USA in a way that makes it credible however no resolution from the UN in the present age makes it come what may an illegal war. Since it was done in much haste as well puts paid to the getting rid of WMDs theory, but what would really be interesting is to find out what the real reason was. The ace to play in this game is that Blair is all front but no balls and come the crunch he shows what a coward he is. If the going gets to tough, he is confronted with retribution with a let off if he talks then the other thing about him is that he is one of those politicians who never knows when to stop. My nominal 'boss' just a few years earlier was his intellectual influence, now in the House of Lords and normally quiet. However, one of his rare, recent utterances has been probably the first public anti-Blair ever heard. If he is turning on Blair then the man is losing friends en masse and so we may cross our fingers that once Chilcot is available and given the recent hint, he may just spill the beans.
France, Germany and a few other European countries played out no charade, they were genuinely opposed to war and pretty well insulted that as NATO members they were given no real say in anything. Also public opinion, bearing in mind that the UK press is largely right wing to centre supporting and rarely truly criticises governments so gave an image of support, did not want war. There were not just demonstrations and petitions but also hundreds of thousand letters written to MPs of all parties. That is not usual in a sometimes apathetic UK.
The French line from the then government was encouragement at the success of the weapons inspection teams. Progress was being made (according to the French) so there was no reason to invade at that moment, especially as the UN was in disagreement. Invasion wasn't ruled out by the French simply the timing due to the efficiency of the inspectors.
I enjoyed the work of William Shirer too, especially on audio.
I thought expats used the term Brit because the big island of the British Ilses is Britain. It seems a silly term to me, but it is so often used that I adopted it, hoping the northern Irelanders would not object.
1950s referred to when I guessed you were a political newbie, dare I say novice. So, were you born in 1940s?
Socialist economics belong to a much softer form of government than those you listed, and were necessarily desirable in postwar Europe.
About Iraq, where this conversation began, I re-read the posting referred to and I have read it before. I remain unconvinced that the intervention in Iraq was unnecessary. There are many layers of this history yet to be revealed. Did Saddam boast about his weapons or did he have time to ship them out to another enemy. Will we ever know? Will we understand why there is so much fuss about Iranian nuclear development while accepting other nations having weapons already.
Why is it taking Iran so long to develop their nuclear capability, when India, Pakistan, Israel already have done so. I believe the entire Iran contretemps to be a huge fraud and USA presence in Iraq had more to do with Iran than nasty old Saddam.
Chirac had his proscribed role in the charade and he played it well. French troops in Iraq did a great job dismantling poison gas facilities.
Colin Powell did not lie. Biochemical contaminants are a weapon of mass destruction too. We need to be terrified of the tiny vials of virus schelepped around the Middle East
Brit socialist eh? 1950s? Then you had better get new glasses. I am 1940s and an internationalist, nothing like what the so-called Brits (what are they? I am a Scot personally) call(ed) socialists, certainly not a communist, Stalinist or any other version/variant or modification of what socialism actually means. I think if you recheck I used nothing incorrect although what I said mockingly may make it appear so. However, the topic is Iraq, the accusative tone of betrayal of the poor little Frenchies the big tough USA rescued is my reference, and that type of tone especially. Reading the US and European press at the time was day and night. One would have thought Chirac should have had the same treatment as Saddam for what de Villepin said.
Anyway, most of my information sources on the USA are US produced. I think William Shirer was one of the best documentalists of WW2 from knowing Germany and being an informed US citizen. I must say you lost me. I was sardonically referring to both US and French modified versions of history used by people who are not well informed by reliable sources, hence the mention of the USA, UK and so on turning left in Belgium in a French school text book. I certainly did not say, but know I most certainly know that the USA Army landed on Omaha and Utah beaches, whereas the UK and Canada landed on Gold, Sword and Juno. That was taught in school in the 1950s, certainly where I was educated, unless somebody has changed it since. Of course I 'remember' the liberty ships and also the thousands of mariners who lost their lives in the Atlantic. I sardonically referred to the tone that was used when the French spoke out against the Iraq invasion. As for Henry Kissinger, where does he fit in? I never mentioned him at all and why would I?
Yes, posting lists of factually incorrect information is very disappointing as I had starts to trust our Brain Brian.
I had not realized Brian was au fait with all Americans, but I do recognizes a 1950s Brit socialist when I meet one.
And, why should Kissinger know about the post conflict plans of a government he did not represent.
Hmm, ho hum.
When Hitler invaded Poland USA had only 17,000 men under arms and virtually no ships. nevertheless their merchant marines transported masses of arms and supplies to starving Brits, who had nowhere to go, like the refugees of today. Remember the Liberty ships, Brian.
In USA the landing in Normandy is always celebrated in Washington along with the Canadian,s etc.
They joined the war late but actually arrived in France with the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc, etc, rather than being alone as the USA tends to wish the world to remember it. In order to keep the French under their thumbs only a small expeditionary force was allowed to embark early, although later they did get Paris first. They were mostly shipped over with Polish troops five or six days after the invasion, not justifiable but that was the dirty politics at the time.
Incidentally, I looked at one of my daughter's history books with amusement. It showed the UK and USA crossing the Channel, turning left and going straight into Belgium but not into France, as for Normandy it actually only mentioned the French landing there. My father was one of the sappers who assembled Mulberry Harbour and was then wounded clearing mines on the landing areas who would have quite clearly stated UK and US troops did land there in large numbers, knew the numbers of casualties and began to be a campaigner against warfare on the back of experiencing that.
Anyway, the point is that they had a share in it and their nasty little accusation of France turning against their liberators was totally immoral as well as dishonest the way they went about it.
When it comes to the liberation of France the US didn't arrive late in the game - There were 83000 British/Canadian/Australian/French/Norwegian/Polish/Dutch etc troops and 73000 US troops on D day for the Normandy landings (plus the units dropped on 15th August in the SE of France (where I come from) under General Patch who were followed on the 16th by French troops). It is perfectly fair to say US troops didn't engage in the European theatre until later in the war but then they weren't involved until 1941 and even then it started for them in the Pacific. At least starting in 1941 meant they were able to build what was needed for effective action in Europe before sending troops (as well as supporting Britain in indirectly military ways).
Hmmmm. To me (an American) and, believe it or not, many of my fellow US citizens, the fact that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al are war criminals is old hat. Obama chose not to pursue that avenue, sadly, though it is true he had a ridiculous amount on his plate to clean up in the wake of the GW tsunami. But certain things in the world are crucial - naming war criminals and prosecuting them being one such thing. I despair of my home country in many ways but the Bush/Blair blunder was our worst hour. The fact that we have done nothing about the people who perpetrated the crimes is nearly as bad. A concerted effort by the American citizenry demanding prosecution of the above named criminals did not happen, as we all know, and these evil men will go to their graves unburdened by the true price they should have paid.