The Brown inheritance
British troops dying for nothing,
On the early morning of 29 June
2007, Gordon Brown’s premiership was marked with two abortive car bombs in
“The Government, the police and the security services are doing everything possible to protect the public.” 
That is a lie. The Government is not doing everything possible to protect the British public. Until British forces are withdrawn from
After all, no less a person than former Prime Minister Blair stated recently that invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq had produced what he called “blowback” in the form of “global terrorism”. He made this remark in his resignation speech in his Sedgefield constituency on 10 May 2007 , when he said:
“Removing Saddam and his sons from power, as with removing the Taliban, was over with relative ease.
“But the blowback since, from global terrorism and those elements that support it, has been fierce and unrelenting and costly.”
Iraq has exacerbated the threat to Britain, says JIC
In saying that, Blair was merely repeating what the British intelligence services have been saying for years, for example, in a Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessment drawn up in March 2005, entitled International Terrorism: Impact of Iraq. Extracts of this were published in The Sunday Times on 2 April 2006 . Amongst its conclusions were:
“We judge that the
“Some jihadists who leave
In October 2001, there was no threat
“some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1600 identified individuals (and there will be many we don’t know) who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas”. 
In October 2001, there were none.
The crowning achievement of Blair’s premiership is that, by engaging in military action against Afghanistan and Iraq, he has provoked a threat to Britain from the Muslim world – and, in the process, caused the deaths of around 200 British soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis (see my pamphlet The Blair legacy: Hundreds of thousands dead, Britain less safe ).
It is a tribute to the hopelessness
of British politics, and of British journalism, that during Blair’s premiership
he was never challenged publicly about this extraordinary achievement. For a brief moment on 22 June 2007, when
Martha Kearney and other BBC journalists interviewed the Prime Minister
designate on Newsnight, I thought
that the next Prime Minister was not going to get off so lightly. Martha Kearney dared to ask Gordon Brown re
British intervention in
“Do you think it’s made
Not surprisingly, he didn’t answer the question, and she didn’t insist on a reply. But she then asked him if he agreed with the JIC analysis that
Again, he didn’t answer the question, but gibbered on about “winning the hearts and minds” of British Muslims – and she didn’t insist on an answer. What is the point of asking questions if you don’t insist on answers?
Brown said on the morning after the abortive car bombs were discovered that “the first duty of the government is the security of the people” . While he continues to engage in military intervention in the Muslim world, then he isn’t fulfilling “the first duty of government” – and he is getting British servicemen killed to no purpose as well.
Dying in vain?
fitting that, at the start of his last Prime Minister’s Questions, on 27 June
Blair had, yet again, to go through the empty ritual of expressing condolences
to the family and friends of servicemen killed in
Blair went on to praise “our armed forces” in general, saying:
“I have never come across people of such sustained
dedication, courage and commitment. I am truly sorry about the dangers that
they face today in
It is worth pointing out that, as
“get ourselves out [of
Could there be a clearer statement
that British troops are dying for nothing in
It has been obvious for a couple of years that British troops are making no difference on the ground in southern Iraq, that the various Shia elements that control the area would be in control whether British troops are there or not. British troops are merely providing targets, being mortared and rocketed in camp and risking being blown up by IEDs outside camp.
But, in a sense, Blair is right when
he says they are not dying in vain. There
is no military rationale for the continued presence of British troops in
Their presence has, and will
continue to have, the limited political purpose of acting as a symbol that we
are standing by the
Military rationale dictated that
British troops that were no longer necessary around
British troops are also dying for
The then Defence Secretary, John
Reid, constantly said that British troops would not be engaged in offensive
operations: for example, he told the House of Commons on 27 February 2006 that
“our troops are not there to seek out and destroy the terrorists” . Launching the mission in
“We would be perfectly happy to leave in three years time without firing a shot because our job is to protect the reconstruction.” 
A year and a bit later, British
troops have fired hundreds of thousands of shots and 56 of them are dead. And the recently appointed British ambassador
“The task of standing up a government of
So, a mission that was supposed to take 3 years has, a year and a bit later, been extended to “decades”. Or until the 12th of never, perhaps. Meanwhile, British troops die for nothing.
Out to destroy our way of life?
In his last Prime Minister’s Questions, Blair continued his tribute to “our armed forces” by saying:
“I believe that they are fighting for the security of this country and the wider world against people who would destroy our way of life.”
Like it or like it not, their
It was fitting that, at his last Prime Minister’s Questions, Blair should trot out the hoary old chestnut that al-Qaida and associated groups are out to “destroy our way of life”. They don’t like us voting or reading The Guardian?. Or is it binge-drinking, they object to?
The plain truth is that al-Qaida is
not concerned with changing Western society.
Its objective is to change Western, and particularly US, foreign policy
towards the Muslim world. That is why it
This is crystal clear from the many
public statements by bin Laden and his associates (see, for example, my article
Michael Scheuer worked for the CIA for 22 years and was the first head of its al-Qaida desk, serving in this capacity for two years. While still working for the CIA, he wrote a book entitled Imperial Hubris: Why the West is losing the War on Terror, which was published in 2004. His view of al-Qaida, as summarised in this book, is as follows:
“… the greatest danger
for Americans confronting the radical Islamist threat is to believe – at the
“Rhetorical political blustering ‘informs’ the public that Islamists are offended by the Western world’s democratic freedoms, civil liberties, intermingling of genders, and separation of church and state. However, although aspects of the modern world may offend conservative Muslims, no Islamist leader has, for example, fomented jihad in order to destroy participatory democracy, the national association of credit unions, or coed universities. …
“[Scheuer] contends they will go to any length, not to destroy our secular, democratic way of life, but to deter what they view as specific attacks on their lands, their communities and their religion. Unless US leaders recognize this fact and adjust their policies abroad accordingly, even moderate Muslims will be radicalized into supporting bin Laden’s anti-Western offensive.”
It would be too much to hope that our new Prime Minister would read that and act upon it.
Labour & Trade Un ion Review
28 June 2007