Hoon: Britain lost the argument with the US over Iraq

#1
1. Do we really believe Hoon? Did the UK really fight that hard, or simply say "Yes Mr President" and roll over?

2. If the UK did dissent to a significant degree, why didn't Hoon or Straw resign? This is not simply a matter of a minor disagreement that could be ignored.

In either case, the rottenness at the heart of UK decision-making is exposed.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/12/09/wirq109.xml

Blair was overruled by Bush on post-war strategy, says Hoon
By Toby Helm, Chief Political Correspondent

Tony Blair's "special relationship" with President George W Bush was called into fresh question last night when it emerged that he was overruled by Washington over key parts of the allied strategy for post-war Iraq.

Geoff Hoon, who was Defence Secretary at the time of the conflict, told The Daily Telegraph that he and the Prime Minister "lost the argument" with the Americans before the fighting ceased – with disastrous consequences.

Mr Hoon said in an interview that he and Mr Blair had urged the US, before the conflict ended, not to dismantle the Iraqi army or purge all members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party from senior positions. But they were over-ruled.

In May 2003 Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, issued two orders: one outlawing the Ba'ath Party and the other dissolving Iraq's 500,000-strong military and intelligence services. The two decisions are now widely believed to have left a vacuum that allowed Iraqi insurgents to launch their own terror offensive against the occupying forces.

Mr Hoon said he was not in "any doubt" that things should have been done differently.

"Firstly we would not have disbanded the Iraqi army," he said. "We were very concerned in the final stages of the conflict that the Iraqi army was a force for stability in Iraq and I think we would have preferred for that army to remain intact. I don't think we would have pursued the de-Ba'athification policy in quite the same way.

"I think we understood from perhaps experience in Europe that quite a lot people were Ba'athists because they had to be if they wanted to be teachers or administrators and they weren't necessarily committed to Saddam Hussein. Those were arguments that I certainly put forward and I know other members of the government put forward. So we lost the argument."

Asked to whom they had lost the argument, Mr Hoon said: "To the Americans."

Last night Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, whose party opposed the Iraq invasion, said Mr Hoon's admission was further proof that Mr Blair had failed to wield true influence with the Americans.

"From the very beginning of the occupation, it became clear that London's advice was simply ignored in Washington.

"The Prime Minister's strategy of staying close in public so as to be influential in private simply didn't work. The problem for the British Government was that we became so enmeshed in American strategy that we had no option but to go along with it, even when it was palpably wrong."

Mr Hoon, who remained in charge at the Ministry of Defence until last year, said the US and Britain had made other errors. Notably, they underestimated the extent to which the occupying forces, particularly in and around Baghdad, would be seen by the Iraqis as "part of the problem, not as we saw it, part of the solution".

He added: "I think this is still one of the problems today."

Earlier this month a US State Department official, Kendal Myers, said Britain was routinely ignored in a "totally one-side" relationship and that Tony Blair had got "no pay-back" from the US.
 
#2
What argument? More bloody lies.

The following were dismissed as "The Camel Corps" and "Arabists" and smeared hard from the Daily Telegraph , to the Jerusalem Post. They were smeared especially hard out of Washington , Tel Aviv, and by journalists and publications with strong pro-Israel leanings.

Instead of listening to what they actually had to say , they immediately seized on the message as anti-semetic , and evidence that the FO has historically been anti-semetic.

Sir Brian Barder, ex-high commissioner, Australia
Paul Bergne, ex-diplomat
Sir John Birch, ex-ambassador, Hungary
Sir David Blatherwick, former ambassador, Ireland
Graham Hugh Boyce, former ambassador, Egypt
Sir Julian Bullard, ex-ambassador, Bonn
Juliet Campbell, former ambassador, Luxembourg
Sir Bryan Cartledge, ex-ambassador, USSR
Terence Clark, ex-ambassador, Iraq
David Hugh Colvin, former ambassador, Belgium
Francis Cornish, former ambassador, Israel
Sir James Craig, former ambassador, Saudi Arabia
Sir Brian Crowe, former director general, external and defence affairs, Council of the European Union
Basil Eastwood, former ambassador, Syria
Sir Stephen Egerton, diplomatic service, Kuwait
William Fullerton, ex-ambassador, Morocco
Dick Fyjis-Walker, former chairman, Commonwealth Institute
Sir Marrack Goulding, former head of UN peacekeeping
John Graham, former Nato ambassador, Iraq
Andrew Green, ex-ambassador, Syria
Victor Henderson, ex-ambassador, Yemen
Peter Hinchcliffe, ex-ambassador, Jordan
Brian Hitch, former high commissioner, Malta
Sir Archie Lamb, former ambassador, Norway
Sir David Logan, former ambassador, Turkey
Christopher Long , former ambassador, Switzerland
Ivor Lucas, former assistant secretary general, Arab-British Chamber of Commerce
Ian McCluney, former ambassador, Somalia
Maureen MacGlashan, foreign service in Israel
Philip McLean, ex-ambassador, Cuba
Sir Christopher MacRae, former ambassador, Chad
Oliver Miles, diplomatic service in Middle East
Martin Morland, ex-ambassador, Burma
Sir Keith Morris, ex-ambassador, Colombia
Sir Richard Muir, ex-ambassador, Kuwait
Sir Alan Munro, ex-ambassador, Saudi Arabia
Stephen Nash, ex-ambassador, Latvia
Robin O'Neill, ex-ambassador, Austria
Andrew Palmer, ex-ambassador, Vatican
Bill Quantrill, ex-ambassador, Cameroon
David Ratford, ex-ambassador, Norway
Tom Richardson, former UK deputy ambassador, UN
Andrew Stuart, ex-ambassador, Finland
Michael Weir, ex-ambassador, Egypt
Alan White, ex-ambassador, Chile
Hugh Tunnell, ex-ambassador, Bahrain
Charles Treadwell, ex-ambassador, UAE
Sir Crispin Tickell, former UN ambassador
Derek Tonkin, former ambassador, Thailand
David Tatham, former governor, Falkland Islands
Harold "Hooky" Walker, ex-ambassador, Iraq
Jeremy Varcoe, ex-ambassador, Somalia
Interesting that the Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post took their arguments as evidence of anti-Israeli sentiment, instead of actually looking at what they had to say.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/04/28/dl2801.xml

The camels were wrong to get the hump
(Filed: 28/04/2004)

The Prime Minister could be forgiven for wondering what he has done to provoke 52 retired diplomats to publish a letter denouncing his Middle East policy. Virtually all the signatories have privately opposed intervention in Iraq; why, then, have they suddenly broken cover?

What seems to have precipitated this letter was not Iraq, but Israel. It was the endorsement by Mr Blair of President Bush's support for Ariel Sharon's decision to pull out of Gaza, while eliminating the leaders of Hamas and redrawing the Israeli-Palestinian border. For an older generation of Foreign Office "camels" (Arabists), this was the final straw. Not only had Mr Blair embarked on a Middle Eastern war in the teeth of Arab and European hostility; by aligning himself with Israel, he had humiliated the camels.
Amazing , I also note there is no reporter attached to this piece, perhaps the Telegraph could tell us who did put it together? Or is being a journalist not his day job? Did he have any other pearls to share perhaps?

The Financial Times on the other hand, which does have some sort of obligation not to feed the money men crap , said...

BLAIR SHOULD LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS

Blair should listen to the experts
Lead article
Financial Times
April 28, 2004

In possibly the most stinging rebuke ever to a British government by its foreign policy establishment, 52 former ambassadors and international officials have written to Tony Blair telling him he is damaging UK (and western) interests by backing George W. Bush's misguided policies in the Middle East. It would be comforting to imagine that their comments will be heeded.

The signatories to the letter include many distinguished and experienced public servants. They extend beyond the "usual suspects" of well-known Arabists, and there is every indication that many more serving and retired diplomats, as well as army officers, harbour the same misgivings.

In any case, the notion that so-called Arabists - expert in the language, culture and politics of Arab countries - should be excluded from policy because of their alleged predilection to "go native" should be discredited by the way the Pentagon, which shut out anyone with actual knowledge of Iraq, has serially bungled the occupation.

The organisers of this most undiplomatic démarche are, moreover, Atlanticists. Yet, in essence, what they are telling Mr Blair is: if you really have influence with the Bush administration, now is the time to use it. If that proves "unacceptable or unwelcome" in Washington, they write, "there is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure".

The diplomats were shocked into action not just by gathering signs of implosion in Iraq but by US backing for the decision of Ariel Sharon, Israeli prime minister, to keep most Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank - and Mr Blair's endorsement of this "one-sided and illegal" new policy. Downing Street insists it has not abandoned the principle of a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine and the internationally underwritten "roadmap" to it. But Mr Sharon's strategy tramples on several United Nations Security Council resolutions, and Washington and London's support for it has inflamed Arab opinion to the point where it sees Palestine and Iraq as two fronts in a war of resistance against the west - the optimal outcome for the fanatics who follow Osama bin Laden.

In Iraq itself, the letter says, the indiscriminate use of force and heavy weapons "have built up rather than isolated the opposition", while there "was no effective plan for the post-Saddam settlement". The critique is trenchant and almost wholly accurate.

Detractors say the diplomats propose no alternative. But the problem is that the mishandling of Iraq (and Israel-Palestine) has gradually closed off any plausible path forward. What this letter warns is that this is an accelerating downward spiral with no brake - and that Britain's duty as an ally is to use such influence as it has in Washington as "a matter of the highest urgency". Though the letter does not say it, it is hard to see how that meagre influence would not augment, were London to co-ordinate its position more closely with its European partners.
http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentS...y&c=StoryFT&cid=1079420660764&p=1012571727269

What arguments? Mr. Hoon , you are being I feel , economical with the truth , as your 'Legion of Merit'? gong proves, no?

Have you noticed Jack "Listen Condi , you're talking out of your bottom" Straw hasn't got one?

"Oh there are no definite plans to send the BW north" uh-huh.

In fact YCH , you've done as much as you can , to facilitate the American way at every turn, including riding roughshod over intiatives by your own Commanders in the field , havent you.

As for Blair - His lips are moving.
 
#4
As always, Hoon is doing the obvious of covering his own rear by putting down smoke.

But there is a danger here that history is being rewritten. So, maybe we should wonder if Hoon will be able to furnish evidence of this so-called 'argument', but no doubt that evidence will be locked up in the 'official archives' until we're all past it or dead.

Is Hoon, or are any of them, a 'pretty straight sort of guy'?
 
#7
Testing the water for a leadership campaign, maybe.

:?
 
#9
Unsworth said:
As always, Hoon is doing the obvious of covering his own rear by putting down smoke.

But there is a danger here that history is being rewritten. So, maybe we should wonder if Hoon will be able to furnish evidence of this so-called 'argument', but no doubt that evidence will be locked up in the 'official archives' until we're all past it or dead.

Is Hoon, or are any of them, a 'pretty straight sort of guy'?
Menzies Campbell, on the Politics Show Link, has just based an arguement on his belief in what Hoon said was true.

If, with his understanding of the situation, takes the view that Hoon told the truth, how can any of us gain say him
 
#10
Sven said:
If, with his understanding of the situation, takes the view that Hoon told the truth, how can any of us gain say him
Sorry Sven - I disagree.

My read is that - along with certain members of the Opposition - he was briefed on Privy Council terms and thus became part of the original deception.

I don't wear a tin foil hat - just a realist.
 
#11
Sven said:
Unsworth said:
As always, Hoon is doing the obvious of covering his own rear by putting down smoke.

But there is a danger here that history is being rewritten. So, maybe we should wonder if Hoon will be able to furnish evidence of this so-called 'argument', but no doubt that evidence will be locked up in the 'official archives' until we're all past it or dead.

Is Hoon, or are any of them, a 'pretty straight sort of guy'?
Menzies Campbell, on the Politics Show Link, has just based an arguement on his belief in what Hoon said was true.

If, with his understanding of the situation, takes the view that Hoon told the truth, how can any of us gain say him
Point taken, but one might also note that it's going to be difficult for Ming to call Hoon a barefaced liar outside of parliamentary privilege. And it may be that he's in the business of detroying Hoon's official (public) position before going on to call him a liar.

On the other hand he may not have a clue anyway...

But most of us here would, I think, tend to believe that Hoon is totally untrustworthy even though what he says may actually be carved on tablets of stone.
 
#12
Unsworth said:
Sven said:
Unsworth said:
As always, Hoon is doing the obvious of covering his own rear by putting down smoke.

But there is a danger here that history is being rewritten. So, maybe we should wonder if Hoon will be able to furnish evidence of this so-called 'argument', but no doubt that evidence will be locked up in the 'official archives' until we're all past it or dead.

Is Hoon, or are any of them, a 'pretty straight sort of guy'?
Menzies Campbell, on the Politics Show Link, has just based an arguement on his belief in what Hoon said was true.

If, with his understanding of the situation, takes the view that Hoon told the truth, how can any of us gain say him
Point taken, but one might also note that it's going to be difficult for Ming to call Hoon a barefaced liar outside of parliamentary privilege. And it may be that he's in the business of detroying Hoon's official (public) position before going on to call him a liar.

On the other hand he may not have a clue anyway...

But most of us here would, I think, tend to believe that Hoon is totally untrustworthy even though what he says may actually be carved on tablets of stone.
1- Campbell didn't have to refer to Hoon at all

2- He got a reputation when shadowing Defense as 'having a clue'

3- On other things You might be right, but on this occasion....
 
#13
Unsworth said:
Sven said:
Unsworth said:
As always, Hoon is doing the obvious of covering his own rear by putting down smoke.

But there is a danger here that history is being rewritten. So, maybe we should wonder if Hoon will be able to furnish evidence of this so-called 'argument', but no doubt that evidence will be locked up in the 'official archives' until we're all past it or dead.

Is Hoon, or are any of them, a 'pretty straight sort of guy'?
Menzies Campbell, on the Politics Show Link, has just based an arguement on his belief in what Hoon said was true.

If, with his understanding of the situation, takes the view that Hoon told the truth, how can any of us gain say him
Point taken, but one might also note that it's going to be difficult for Ming to call Hoon a barefaced liar outside of parliamentary privilege. And it may be that he's in the business of detroying Hoon's official (public) position before going on to call him a liar.

On the other hand he may not have a clue anyway...

But most of us here would, I think, tend to believe that Hoon is totally untrustworthy even though what he says may actually be carved on tablets of stone.
1- Campbell didn't have to refer to Hoon at all

2- He has got a reputation for 'having a clue'

3- On other things You might be right, but on this occasion....
 
#14
What did Hoon actually say? He said they 'lost the argument', but has not said how or when this argument took place. I'd like to see some evidence of 'argument' before accepting Hoon's statements.

Campbell did not actually say that he agreed with Hoon's observation, he merely used Hoon's intervention and some other evidence to highlight the ineffectual relationship with the Yanks. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/6211460.stm

You may be right about Campbell's reputation, but that does not mean that everything Campbell says is correct. In this case he is - I think wisely - using these various interventions (one by a former Minister directly involved with events and the other by an analyst in the State Department - who therefore 'should' have been in the know) to support his position.

It follows that if Hoon is proved to be misleading, Campbell's stance is weakened, not necessarily destroyed, but he then has a golden opportunity to attack Hoon for dissimulation. Either way he wins.

I doubt we'll hear much more from Hoon on the detail of these 'failed' arguments.
 

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