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Wednesday, February 07, 2007



Thanks for this short, snappy and clear-headed piece, Stan.

Now go away and read Patrick Cockburn's 'The Occupation' and bring some reality into your life.

el tom

I can think of 655,000 why it was not.


You guys are still on another planet. You may still hold out, like a beleagured Stalinist, or some weird Branch Davidian, but history will not judge the war against Iraq kindly.

Explaining Iraq to some people is very much like being in 'Goodbye Lenin'.

Furthermore, I don't understand how having some lawyers opine that something is legal can show that it is not definitely illegal; surely you are confusing legal opinion with legal fact?

dave heasman

"Instead of over-throwing Saddam at that time, the allies gave way to liberal sentiment..."

I thought they gave way to a realpolitik summary by Dick Cheney saying overthrowing Saddam would lead to civil war and greater influence of Iran. Oh well.

dave heasman

"That government wants our troops to stay as long as it takes to do the job."

The people don't.

stephen ryan

I think at this point it is worth re-reading the resignation speech by Robin Cook


There are not 22 reasons here. In fact, if you tried to turn this piece into a set of reasons you probably would not get to 10. This is not 22 reasons why it was right. It is a 22 paragraph defence of the war. Slightly different. I am afraid I also do not find it particularly convincing.


Thank you so much for this article. I was directed here from a Guardian Cif page of Michael White's - It's Not Blair's Fault - open at the moment.

You should contribute Stan. It's the "illegal war" and "war crimes" issues they labour on about. They seriously need de-bunking.

As you'll see from my url I support Tony Blair. So, although it'd be great to be added here to your site, I obviously understand that that would just confuse people at the present time. Anyway you are welcome to comment at my blog; all except the anti-Blairites. Sorry. I've had enough of their crazy abuse of the PM. I refuse to indulge their rantings on my own blog - Keep Tony Blair For PM.

I'll paste your link on my own blog anyway.

Good luck to you. Hope you survive Blair's departure.

Bill Gnade

Dear Sir,

I very much appreciate your efforts here. Your objective is very unpopular; I am surprised that you have received only a handful of comments. Usually this sort of analysis is greeted with much umbrage.

I landed here nearly by accident, but I am glad that I did. I do not know at all what your ultimate political beliefs may be; for all I know, you and I may be interminably at odds with each other socially, politically, and philosophically.

But I must say I am glad to see someone take the time to make sense of the invasion of Iraq. I have tried to make similar sense; though I am opposed to war in general and thought the invasion a bad idea, I find myself irresistably opposed to the revision of history the war's critics seem to enjoy without compunction.

My American perspective is no doubt skewed, but I should like to point out a couple of other critical reasons for the war you have overlooked. Perhaps you will find them helpful.

First, it is worth saying that, at least in American foreign policy, the US has been in military conflict with Iraq since 1991. No one can name the dates when America was NOT in conflict between 1991 and 2003, when the current Iraq invasion began (four years ago today). Hence, it is demonstrably false that President Bush rushed to war or that this is his war. The war is 16 years old.

Second, as a result of agreeing not to depose the Hussein regime in 1991 so the US could use Saudi Arabia as a base (an important part of forging the Saudi-US alliance at the time was to leave Baghdad alone), the US and its western allies merely delayed the inevitable: Hussein would need to be deposed at some later date.

Third, from 1992-2000, the Clinton administration, enforcing the UN's Iraq sanctions and the no-fly zone in that country, flew more sorties against Mr. Hussein than were flown during the entirety of the First Gulf War. Some estimates show that the US bombed Iraq nearly every other day. (Clinton led two major assaults against Iraq, Operation Desert Strike [1996] and Operation Desert Fox [1998]).

Fourth, in February 1998 Osama bin Laden issued his fatwa against the US, calling for the killing of Americans everywhere. As you know, this fatwa was issued during the height of the Clinton presidency. But what is most important about the OBL fatwa is this: his biggest complaint was the continued oppression of Iraq and its people. In short, the OBL fatwa, the very call to war that led to 9/11, declared Iraq a central front in Islam's conflict with America.

Fifth, also in 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act which called for "regime change" in Iraq. George W. Bush would inherit this Act and its attendant language.

These five things, combined with what you have written above, show that the front which is Iraq has not only been known to be consequential well before the Bush/Blair governments, but it is the central front in the mind of OBL. It is even defensible that America's "oppression" of Iraq during the Clinton years -- the very years that gave us the OBL fatwa -- is the very cause of 9/11 and, by extension, the very cause of this current conflict.

What stymies me the most, what leaves me shaking with incredulity, is the suggestion that Iraq is somehow tangential or irrelevant to the War on Terror. Surely OBL did/does not think it irrelevant.

Blessings to you, dear sir. May peace prevail.


PS. You may also find interesting the recent comments of former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter re: regime change. You can find them at

Have a good life!


Stan - what an excellent comment from Mr Gnade. I'd like him to contact me either through my site or here - if he checks back to read this again.

Still musing heatedly over the press. We are really badly treated here in the UK by them.

I don't get time to read the American press to any extent, though I think their liberal lefties are just as bad as ours. I used to consider myself a kind of liberal thinker. Not any more. I love my country and value freedom too much for that.

In our papers we seldom see thoughtful, historically based or balanced argument around the whole issue of Iraq. Not in our dailies anyway, which most people read.

The arguments are always black and white - whereas the truth is usually pretty grey (sounds like Blair in his retirement speech) ... wasn't intentional, honestly!

I've been thinking about how this dreadful period for our PM has affected me as a supporter of his.

ANGER at his colleagues who were forcing him to state he'd leave within a year. (He must have been under SOME duress to agree to that!)

Then IRRITATION that so many people were taking the press's opinions as the stark and honest truth. I comforted myself with the fact that most of them didn't know any better. They read the Daily Mail and other rags, written for a 13 year old reading age, so what should I expect?

Then I noticed the Guardian and the Independent taking the editorial lines that Blair has taken us into an 'illegal war' and is therefore a 'war criminal'. We'd hang him if we weren't such peace-loving, fair-minded, civilized individuals, unlike HIM.

So then I began to BOIL SLOWLY.

I boiled even faster when I realised the press was re-writing history and claiming that Blair took us into Iraq WITHOUT Parliament's say-so. Patently untrue. He COULD have done so, but he put it to the vote and won with Tory help.

They were also bending the truth by saying that the invasion was against the wishes of the British people. It WAS NOT. Over 60% approved according to all polls at the time. It's not an in and out game - oh, this week they're OK so we'll stay there - next week if they're a bit off, we'll bring the troops home!

So now I was BOILING over.

At the same time the press attacked Blair on two fronts. They pursued every nook and cranny of the 'honours' nonsense. Leaks and innuendo, going for the jugular at every opportunity in a shameless way. (They might just come unstuck in the end as in the Bob Woolmer case.)

But on Iraq, from Bush to the Attorney General, from
'gullible' cabinet ministers to 'compliant' civil servants, and from gun-happy security services to the military - EVERYONE who had come into contact with Blair and agreed with anything he said was automatically branded a liar.

There was NO, repeat NO possibility that the WMD evidence could have been believed at the time by our 'evil' leader. Oh, yes, some of them thought - well, maybe - but that would mean he had been incompetent or negligent - so that was just as bad as lying!

String him up, say they!

So in the end the press in this country have tried Tony Blair by public opinion and through the prism of press perception while skewing the evidence their way only. Surprise, surprise - they've found him guilty as charged.

And at the same time they SCREAM about our having lost our civil rights and freedom to rant and rave, while they rant and rave!

I think it has been unforgivable behaviour.

Where was the counter argument? I suppose it's been in The Sun, strange as it may seem, since you might have expected them to have jumped ship by now like half the population.

But I'm still on BOILING point!

Through no fault of mine or his I'm about to lose the Prime Minister I trust to protect my country.

And WHO are we going to blame if there are further atrocities in the short term after Blair has warned us, but has already gone? Who's going to sort it out? Brown? I'll believe that when he stops climbing all over the unions' backs!!!

I'm not the blaming sort - but if Blair's worst predictions come true, and Brown shows no signs of tackling the growing terrorist threat at home - SOMEBODY is going to get the flak and this time it WON'T be Blair.

Maybe I'll start up a campaign to hold the press to account. Yeah, right - I'll get the Indie to print it.

Cooled down a bit now, Stan. It helps to tap it out now and again.

All the best to you.

Rhoderick Gates

Recently Tony Blair said: "You are the future now". Ok, so we can't withdraw because Cohen says so? One man?

Seems more like HE'S lost HIS way.


To Mr Gates,

Too facile - as often by the anti-brigade.

Mr Rosenthal has referred to Mr Cohen, because he has put his thoughts into words. Words which some think make sense.

And since the anti-war press are so voluble on this, it's useful to see the other side's case put. Or, as a free thinker, don't you agree?

Cohen is not the only one who thinks we should NOT pull out of Iraq because we've got the jitters. He never was the only one, and never will be.

If someone believed it was the right thing to do at the time, why on earth would the right thing become wrong because of outside factors like Iran and insurgents?

Unforeseen circumstances (insurgents - which arguably might have been foreseen) are giving the public the frighteners. But we should remember that most people supported the invasion at the beginning until the press and the insurgent killers got to work on them. Also, people voted for Labour under Blair's leadership a third time on the back of Iraq.

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