Back from Iraq

I was pleased to learn this morning that there is now a final deadline to get our remaining troops out of Iraq. They have done a great job in difficult circumstances, made worse by political disagreement about the desirability and nature of the mission and by the lack of certain vital items of equipment.

The return of those troops just highlights the issue about how much longer troops are going to remain in Afghanistan, and why there isn’t a clearer political strategy for resolving the conflicts of that faction torn country. The arrival of President Obama clearly does not make for the change we want in that direction, as he like Gordon Brown seems committed to digging us in more deeply rather than finding the least inelegant way of exit.

Meanwhile the continuing crisis in Zimbabwe leaves open the moral issue of why do we invade certain Middle Eastern countries when we do not like their governemnts, to impose democracy, but do nothing elsewhere however gross the misconduct? Would it have been any different were Zimbabwe a large oil producer?

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5 Comments

  1. RM
    Posted December 26, 2008 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Happy Boxing Day! You have hit the nail on the head with your question about Zimbabwe & oil. No queston but it would have been different. George Bush would have been in there years ago dragging the UK behind him.
    On the subject of Iraq, I’m very pleased our chaps are coming home soon, and I hope they suffer minimal injuries & deaths in the meantime. In my opinion, they should never have been there in the first place , but with a PM who thought he would make his name with Iraq as Maggie did with the Falklands & who was not terribly bright (devious & manipulative – yes, intelligent – no) & a gung-ho cowboy in the White House, the cards were stacked against reason & good sense prevailing.
    On the subject of the returning troops – I find it very annoying to have to listen to Gordon claiming that he’s responsible for the withdrawal – when anyone who can read a newspaper/surf the net knows that it’s the Iraquis who want them out & have called time on their occupation. It looks as though the Minister in the Manse forgot to teach his little boy about the sin of lying!

  2. Ian Jones
    Posted December 26, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I keep wondering why we are in Afghanistan. Our experience of fighting there in the 1800’s plus the recent experience of the Russians should show what the outcome will be. If its about chasing extremists then how about Somalia, Pakistan and a number of other countries?

    Seems to me the Americans want to spend more on defence and the only way to keep it going is by having a war. Why the hell are we there as we keep cutting expenditure!!!

    Sad to see our soldiers dying for politicans pride.

  3. Marcus_UEA
    Posted December 26, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi John,

    Nice article. What are your thoughts on this campagin/video:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UTxQ7xy7Ji4

    Kind Regards,

    M

  4. adrian Peirson
    Posted December 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  5. mikestallard
    Posted December 27, 2008 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    History can be very, very cruel in its lessons.
    If we had gone into Zimbabwe, it would have been seen by all the local blacks as a racist crusade against them by white imperialists. Africa, as every African knows, is for black people. There are a lot of people at Mr Mugabe's rallies when he blames Mr Brown for all the country's ills: he is speaking to their souls.
    I deeply regret that Humpty came off his wall when the white farmers were driven out.
    Now, as cholera, of all things, stalks southern Africa, Mr Mugabe looks older and older and sillier and sillier. As even Jacob Zuma begins to look like a statesman, Africans are learning the terrible truth that black skin colour is not necessarily the answer.
    I do not think that anything other than this ruthless process could have shown southern Africans the truth so clearly.
    Now they are coming to know.
    You need, not one black man, but good black people, possibly assisted (but very rarely) by white ones.
    East Africans and West Africans learned this lesson somewhat earlier with Colonel Ojukwu, Charles Taylor, Idi Amin and Arap Moi.
    We whites are just there to be milked for our very plentiful cash.
    And, as we all know, we have currently run out of that – and soldiers too.
    The Chinese are very much more in touch: palaces for Mugabe and ruthless exploitation of the blacks under Chinese supervision.
    The government has known all this for ages, and, quite rightly, has stood by. Now we are about to pour loads of money in, I bet: money which we have already squandered.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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