Not Saussure

April 24, 2007

Blair on the effects of the invasion

Filed under: Blair, Iraq, War on Terror — notsaussure @ 3:28 pm

The BBC, reporting Mr Blair’s warning that

that terrorism continues to be a “global” threat and needs to be fought whether it is in “Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else”,

a view he concedes, with remarkable candour, is “not popular”:

Mr Blair acknowledged the situation in Iraq was “hugely difficult”.”It’s difficult because you have external elements – al-Qaeda up near Baghdad, and Iranian-backed elements down in Basra – who are deliberately creating the problem.”

He said it was not true that Saddam Hussein “was a kind of lid” on sectarian violence which “poured out” once the dictator was toppled.

“If you talk to ordinary Iraqis – whether they are Sunni or Shia – they want to live together. You have these outside terrorists coming in and linking up with internal extremists and causing this carnage.”

So isn’t he saying, in terms, that the carnage in Iraq wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the invasion? That the invasion was, at least in part, the cause of the current sectarian strife?

Yes, yes, if you’re foolish enough to ignore warnings not to keep your PIN number in your wallet along with your cards and you then leave your wallet lying around in a pub, that doesn’t excuse someone making off with your wallet and emptying your accounts, but you couldn’t thus wholly absolve yourself of your responsibility for the misfortune, could you?

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  1. So isn’t he saying, in terms, that the carnage in Iraq wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the invasion? That the invasion was, at least in part, the cause of the current sectarian strife?

    I think this is very much what it comes down to.

    Comment by jameshigham — April 24, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

  2. I marched against the invasion but when we invaded I hoped that at least we would make a competent job of it. And I still wonder why it was done so badly that it almost looks deliberate. Much of the present carnage and chaos must be down to the fact that the population was alienated as the occupiers didn’t care about their basic needs, and the disbandment of the Iraqi army made weapons available to the disaffected. There also seems to have been no appreciation of the way that a Western invasion would look to some religious groups.
    Blair probably had no influence on any of this but in the UK he must take the blame. That’s what you get when you throw in your lot with a more powerful country in an unpopular war.

    Comment by Tode — April 24, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  3. I was opposed to the war for too many reasons to list, but one of the major ones was the plan for post-invasion Iraq.

    If I recall, it was “We’ll be greeted as liberators,” then the Iraqis would all magically transform into Minnesotans at the possibility of buying a Lexus.

    “That doesn’t make any sense,” I said to myself. “Nobody could be stupid enough to imagine that would work, they must be up to something even more dastardly than I’d previously thought!”

    But no, they actually were that stupid. It took me a long time to admit to myself that the motivation for the invasion wasn’t evil – Dick Cheney excepted, of course – it was raw, unadulterated stupidity.

    They really did think that a fully-formed civil society would emerge desperate for consumer goods and professional sport.

    I still can’t quite believe it, but it’s the truth.

    Comment by Flying Rodent — April 24, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

  4. It was that realisation, FR, that caused me to put up the quote from The Art of Political Lying, since it seems just as relevant today as is was in C18th:

    he Warns the Heads of Parties against Believing their own Lyes, which has prov’d of pernicious Consequence of late

    There’s plenty of other very relevant stuff there; how about (changing the reference to the French, obviously):

    In respect of the People, it [the lie] is divided into two sorts, the tò phoberon, or the tò thymoeides, Terrifying Lye, and Animating or Encouraging Lye, both being extremely useful on their proper Occasions. Concerning the tò phoberon, he gives several Rules; one of which is, that terrible Objects should not be too frequently shewn to the People, lest they grow familiar. He says, it is absolutely necessary that the People of England should be frighted with the French King and the Pretender once a-Year; but that the Bears should be chain’d up again till that time Twelve-month. The want of Observing this so necessary a Precept, in bringing out the Raw-head and Bloody-bones upon every trifling Occasion, has produc’d great Indifference in the Vulgar of late Years. As to the Animating or Encouraging Lyes, he gives the following Rules: That they shall not far exceed the common degrees of Probability, and that there should be variety of them, and the same Lye not obstinately insisted upon: that the Promissory or Prognosticating Lyes should not be upon short Days, for fear the Authors should have the Shame and Confusion to see themselves speedily contradicted. He examines, by these Rules, that well-meant, but unfortunate Lye of the Conquest of France which continued near twenty Years together; but at last, by being too obstinately insisted upon, it was worn threadbare, and became unsuccessful.

    Comment by notsaussure — April 24, 2007 @ 8:36 pm

  5. Isn’t it shorter to say Iran than “anywhere else”? Mmmmm! Prisoners votes is not popular view either. Yes, it is the second time that I have heard him admit that the invasion has made matters worse. It begs the question, if it’s not broken why try to fix it?

    There is something deeply worrying about having a trial for someone accused of leaking a memo about George Bush wanting to bomb Al Jazeera, and yet no trial for the war crimes of Bush and Blair. It is something of a farce when the judge orders the barristers to take off their wigs during the in camera sessions so that the jury are aware that this part is secret!

    Then we have the rather vague terrorist threat as reported in the Sunday Times, from a leaked Security Services document. Then terror chief warns of security leaks…

    Whatever you do, don’t heckle Old Warts An’ All, Lord Protector Reid, or you could find yourself getting arrested on terrorist charges…

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — April 25, 2007 @ 11:09 am

  6. The worst thing is that the example of Bosnia was fresh, how a country that held together through unnatural means had exploded and the sheer amount of hatred which resulted from it.

    How he could not see it happen in Iraq, and even now pretend that it was not our fault is mind boggling.

    Mind you, Bliar has lost all credibility when it comes to “terror” or the Iraq war.

    Come to think, he has lost all credibility about pretty much everything. So has Brown by the way.

    Comment by Pascal — April 25, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  7. Obviously I meant Yugoslavia !

    Comment by Pascal — April 25, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

  8. the motivation for the invasion wasn’t evil – Dick Cheney excepted, of course – it was raw, unadulterated stupidity

    Marching in and triumphantly raising the Stars and Stripes was a particular high-point.

    Comment by Larry Teabag — April 26, 2007 @ 11:49 am

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