STRAIGHT TALK­ING Cam hasn’t learnt from Blair’s folly


Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

TONY Blair went on U.S. tele­vi­sion last week to give what some have sug­gested was a cyn­i­cal apol­ogy for the Iraq war.

Many claim he knows that the never-end­ing Chilcot Re­port – first com­mis­sioned in 2009 – is fi­nally com­ing to a con­clu­sion and he wants to get his side of the story in first.

Blair apol­o­gised for the mis­read­ing of the in­tel­li­gence which sug­gested the en­emy had weapons of mass de­struc­tion, and also ad­mit­ted he had not suf­fi­ciently planned for a postSad­dam Hus­sein Iraq.

But he re­fused to apol­o­gise for the re­moval of Sad­dam. And on the face of it that sounds plau­si­ble as Hus­sein was an evil and cruel dic­ta­tor.

Yet if we used the fact he was a nasty man as a rea­son to in­vade Iraq, why did we do noth­ing about Robert Mu­gabe in Zim­babwe who was also treat­ing his own peo­ple in an ap­palling fash­ion?

I was op­posed to the war in Iraq at the time. Not be­cause peo­ple were say­ing it was an il­le­gal war or be­cause I’m a paci­fist – I was op­posed be­cause it didn’t make any sense.

The only per­son Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda hated more than Ge­orge W. Bush was Sad­dam Hus­sein. That was be­cause he dealt with al-Qaeda ruth­lessly and kept a lid on the ex­trem­ists.

So I thought, why re­move a sec­u­lar dic­ta­tor when it was clear that once he was re­moved al-Qaeda would move in?

And as we now know, that’s pre­cisely what hap­pened.

I ar­gued then and I still ar­gue now that Is­lamic ex­trem­ism was and is a greater threat to us and the rest of the globe than dic­ta­tors like Sad­dam. I think I have been proven right, but amaz­ingly our politi­cians don’t seem to have learnt the lessons of his­tory.

Fast for­ward to 2011 and David Cameron re­peats Blair’s folly by help­ing to re­move Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.

Guess what? The same thing hap­pened again. The dic­ta­tor was re­moved and the ex­trem­ists moved in. And as a re­sult of our col­lec­tive mad­ness in Libya, we en­cour­aged an up­ris­ing in Syria.

Not con­tent to ad­mit we had got things wrong twice be­fore, we tried the same thing again when Cameron at­tempted to get per­mis­sion to bomb Syria to re­move Bashar Al As­sad.

It’s like we’re bang­ing our heads against a brick wall.

The Arab Spring was a con job and Cameron and Pres­i­dent Obama fell for it hook, line and sinker. And amaz­ingly, they’re still fall­ing for it now.

I said it on na­tional tele­vi­sion in 2012 that we didn’t know who the so-called rebels ac­tu­ally were in places like Libya and Syria.

And judg­ing by the fact that Tripoli is now over­run with Is­lamists, and half of Syria is con­trolled by Is­lamic State, then I was right to air my con­cerns.

So it’s time for some grown up pol­i­tics. This isn’t the col­lege de­bat­ing so­ci­ety – this is real geo-pol­i­tics. There’s no black and white or good and evil, just grey ar­eas and lesser evils.

And as far as I can see, in com­par­i­son to Is­lamic State, the strong­men were and are the lesser of those two evils.

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