9 October 2003

Clare Short: The U.S. needs the world's help -- now

Salon: Given that he didn't believe Iraq was an imminent threat, why did Blair go to war, anyway?

[Former UK Secretary of International Development] Clare Short: There are six points that he supposedly wrote down and was working with throughout the crisis. He never shared them with the Parliament or his cabinet. But one of them, apparently, was that after Sept. 11 it was inevitable that America would go to war in Iraq. It would be better if they went through the U.N., but it would be very dangerous if they went alone, so Britain would have to go with them. I don't understand this logic. I don't understand why if America makes a mistake Britain doing it with them would make it any better.

He has said that the danger of America is that it becomes isolationist, so we have to remain engaged with America. But then his logic fails completely, because by that logic, to stop America from being isolationist, Britain will always do whatever America says.

Britain's role should have been to say that if you do this right and go with the United Nations and keep the international community involved, we will be your strong supporter, and this time we will deal with Iraq and not let pass another 12 years of sanctions and suffering for the Iraqi people.

If America had had no allies, the American people would have had more doubt, and they might have taken more time and done it right. We didn't have any leverage to correct mistakes. That was Blair's error, and he lost the support of his country. It's a tragedy for everybody.

Blair's position fascinates me. John Howard's decision was clearly based in beliefs about Australia as the hyperally. You'd expect Blair to know better. Despite his various prose rhapsodies and his channeling Margaret Thatcher's 'The lady's not for turning' I still don't understand why he joined Bush, far his intellectual inferior, in this madness.

The aftermath has been a disaster and Britain stands in danger of becoming as isolationist as the US.

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