Ken Clarke - Iraq was bonkers

At last, a prominent mainstream politician has come out and said it. He has also stated the obvious fact that the invasion increased the terrorist threat.

Will his view gather support?
He's got my support in dispatch box fisticuffs with Blair, but not my vote. I've always rated him - he's a bit of a maverick and that's admirable. I hope he gives up the directorship of BAT though - this won't further his cause if he's seen to carry on taking the big money involved. Also, how many Tories will back pedal on their stance over the Iraq invasion and decide to back Clarke? Where does he now stand on Europe? Will he need to do somersaults to garner some support here?
But is that the whole story???

I agree it increased the terrorist threat in the short term. But if Iraq ends up as a reasonably democratic country then the Al Queda types will have been dealt a huge blow. Now that's a big if of course...

Thing is, even if we have increased the terrorist threat to the UK, would we have chickened out if we believed it was still the right thing to do. It really annoys me when people say that we shouldn't have gone to Afghanistan and Iraq because it has now put us in jeopardy. What we should be asking ourselves is whether or not we were doing the right thing and not was it worth it? I refuse to live in a country that will be dictated to by terrorists.
There is no reason that an increased threat (terrorist or otherwise) should deter bold foreign policy decisions. If that had been the case in 1939, then the world would be a lot different.

However, there is a difference between a bold foreign policy decision and a frankly stupid one sold to the public on the basis of wilful lies about WMDs and followed through with the most ineptly-planned occupation possible.

Hindsight is not a good enough argument - for a foreign policy blunder of this magnitude, Bliar's judgement is seriously flawed.
Aw c'mon guys.

Ken Clarke is just trying to establish some sort of profile in order to win the leadership. You don't seriously think the Tories would have played it any differently to New Labour do you?

He should get back in his box and allow a fresh mind to take up the challenge. You'd think he would have taken the hint when he got fobbed in two previous races.
If Clarke takes over and by a miracle the Tories got elected then you would just have Bliar mk2.....he would say anything and do anything to get and maintain power. A complete waste of rations and it's time for new blood not chancers who say what they think the plebs want to hear.
exile1 said:
If Clarke takes over and by a miracle the Tories got elected then you would just have Bliar mk2.....he would say anything and do anything to get and maintain power. A complete waste of rations and it's time for new blood not chancers who say what they think the plebs want to hear.
Who else is there though? The younger generation are a bunch of professional political oinks - Cameron being the prime example.
I guess there is David Davis but he seems to be his party's new Ken Clark. 8O
Seems that the young ones are not ready yet, may be with a possible exception or 2; now granted Clarke is getting on a bit, but Churchill was 65 when he became PM in 1940, just before Dunkirk, and we all know he did a good job till 1945 and then was PM again later, the First PM the Queen had when she was Crowned! Give Clarke a chance, he is experienced and is a better option than the other of the old school, especially Rifkind, who has never been a person i believe was very vote winning, he only recently got his seat back after all! Clarke has held his seat since the Tories lost power and lets hope after the waste of time with Hague and Duncan-Cough, and Howard who did try his best but failed to come up with any platform or manefesto until too late, that we get a maverick, like Clarke, who can lead! Now ends the Party Political nonsense brought to you by Gear Up Flap Up.
Some members seem to be under the impression that Clarke has opportunistically changed his position on Iraq for political advantage. In fact his position on Iraq is entirely consistent with what he said from the start. He does seem, however, to be moderating his line on Europe. Wisely, I suspect. He is still pro-European in a way that many other Tories are not.

I also think he said in his speech that the risk of suffering consequences such as terrorism in your own country is not, in itself, an absolute reason not to take necessary action abroad.
There is still the feeling amongst soldiers that the invasion was the right thing to do, this is a result of our belief that we had unfinished business (1991) and that we could step in and make a difference to the lives of the Iraqi people. I personally was happy at the time based upon the information given to us (although, I was a little concerned by the manner in which the dossier was delivered) believing that we had a lawful mandate.

The problem is it was NOT right for us to invade, the manner in which the deployment was handled by the UK/US government was in reality illegal. We had a valid, although very dated mandate, but the public were misled about how its conditions had been breached and how intelligence supported the fact that Iraq posed a credible threat.

There was no legitimate proof of WMD and Iraq had not threatened any other nations; whatever the true catalyst for action was will never be revealed (IMHO oil is a little too obvious, although it is one of the reasons).

Soldiers are patriotic and are not easily encouraged to believe that we lost comrades for no real reason, but in truth we have invaded a sovereign nation on the basis of flawed information; information which the US/UK governments had doubts about, but will never admit to.

No blame can be laid at the door of the opposition at the time, as they merely did what we did and stood behind the government; the problem is the government had erred badly with their use of spin and the manner in which they conducted their business (bypassing ministries, loading the dice of the intelligence services, failing to correctly brief parliament and holding non-minuted meetings).

Post invasion, there is now difficulty in extracting from the situation, but aside from past atrocities (which at the time were not serious enough to warrant any punishment, especially from the UN) a decent legal argument cannot be given for why we invaded now that WMD have failed to materialise.

Ken Clarke was therefore not right about the Iraq issue, but at least he is able to fight the government from his position; the opposition could suggest the government had misled the people but as they supported the invasion at the time, the government have managed to wriggle out of any blame each time (with ever more passionate presidential-style Bliar speeches).

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