Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Don't forget that Clare Short backed Iraq War.

How sick are you of hand wringing Labour cabinet ministers appearing before the Chilcott Enquiry and saying, um, well, we really weren't happy at the time, but, well, um? Clare Short is the worst and most annoying example so far, but Jack Straw doesn't come out of it covered in glory either. Geoff Hoon feared that the Army wouldn't be able to cope.

I'm probably more annoyed with Clare Short than anyone else. I thought better of her than to say this on 10 March but to capitulate to Blair's wishes a week later on the eve of the Parliamentary debate. I'll tell you what, there's no way I'd have sat around in the Cabinet if I felt that the leadership were going to do something wrong and reckless, especially if they'd made the decision in the derisory and dismissive way Clare Short described. You wouldn't think from the way she spoke today that her decision to back the war helped reinforce the Government's position.

There had already been one resignation from the Cabinet - Robin Cook was prepared to put his principles into action. One of two more would have seriously undermined the case for war.

Of course, as Alistair Carmichael pointed out, Blair was aided and abetted by Iain Duncan Smith's Tories who voted virtually unquestioningly for the war, even though now they're pretending that they were critical all along. This is the same IDS who's so out of step with Tory thinking that he's being touted for a job in a David Cameron cabinet.

All in all, I'm just fed up of people who should have known better at the time trying to extricate themselves from any blame for the consequences of their actions. Clare Short needs to wake up to her collusion in a war that killed 179 of our soldiers and heaven knows how many Iraqi civilians, that made us less safe, and reduced our standing in the world.


Tom King said...

Very harsh on Clare Short, who is a (ex) Labour politician of principle and integrity - a very rare thing these days. It simply won't do to compare her with Straw or Blair.

She clearly regrets voting for the war. I can't see what else she could have done to show that today, or indeed before today in her book, her resignation after the war or any other of her many public pronouncements.


Unknown said...

Tom, if she had such serious doubts at the time, she shouldn't have agreed to support the war.

It may well have made a difference, and it certainly would not have done any harm to the anti war cause.

There are no words to describe how much I think Blair let the country down by pursuing the dangerous and unwise course of action he did. He obviously bears most responsibility, but the people who backed him against their better judgment have to take their share of the blame too.

I remember the shock I felt when Clare Short decided to vote for the war. I simply couldn't believe it - and then when she resigned 2 months later, I wanted to scream at her that it was a bit late for that.

neil craig said...

Absolutely. It is purest hypocrisy to back a murderous & criminal war & then blame Blair for making criminal wars. Short was happy to support bombing people when it suited & indeed to denounce "not socialist" anybody opposed.

Tom King said...

I agree with you that she should have voted against the war and resigned from the Cabinet, along with Robin Cook. She does, too, quite obviously. And I said as much in my own blog post.

But I fail to see what more she could have done since that mistake to atone for it. Any suggestions?


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