Middle eastern wars


          Today in Parliament at the instigation of the Backbench Business Committee we will be debating Iran.  Many of us feel it is high time Parliament debated the whole question of UK intervention in the Middle East. We need to review what has come of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. We need to ask again the fundamental question, can you wage a war on terror? We need to ask, how far should the west go, if at all, in insisting on regime change where we do not approve of the government.

          I want the UK government to recognise the strong limits there are on how much political influence the UK does have and should have over who governs in each Middle Eastern country.  We believe as part of  a group of leading western nations in the self determination of peoples.  We fought successfully to liberate Kuwait from an invader. Most of the neighbouring countries agreed with us. We fought successfully to free the Falklands of an invader. As allies with the US we fought for the self determination of the western European peoples to free them from Nazi domination. There is a case for the UK and her allies to intervene on the side of an oppressed country if it has been invaded and its government changed by force from outside. This is best done with UN support and with a multinational force, to abate any suggestion that the motives for the intervention are other than to restore legitimate national authority. We did not intervene to uphold the right of eastern European peoples to self government during the Soviet terror. We judged it would have killed too many people to do so.

           The more recent doctrine in Libya has been based around the proposition that where there is a civil war, with a strong opposition coalition of internal  forces seeking to bring down the undemocratic government of the country, the west can with UN backing move in and help the rebels. This doctrine does not encompass such western action in Syria.  This is partly because Russia and China block UN support for such intervention. It is also partly because the military task would be more hazardous and the opposition forces are less strong and focused than in Libya. The new doctrine is rightly flexible, responding to differing circumstances.

         In the case of Iran and her possible move to own nuclear weapons, neither of these doctrines applies. Iran has not been invaded from outside to need our help to restore national government. There is no strong opposition in  Iran seeking military help to topple the regime. The case of considering any kind of action against Iran, including diplomatic action and sanctions, is based more on the type of argument used to justify the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the progeny of the war on terror.

            The argument went for the war in Afghanistan that the Taliban were allies of the terrorists who attacked the twin towers. They needed to be displaced as the government of Afghanistan, for that government was harbouring terrorists who could do more harm to the west.  More than a decade on, and the main western powers are now in discussion with the Taliban over the future government of Afghanistan, recognising that depsite all the force expended they remain a political organisation of influence within the country.

           I always had difficulties with the argument about waging a war  against terror. Tomorrow I will consider the case in more detail.


  1. Bill
    February 20, 2012

    The willingness of the UK to line with the USA, or of Blair to line up with Bush, was surely a mistake. My understanding is that, during the first few decades after 1945, the UK was willing to act as a surrogate for US power in exchange for support of sterling and nuclear technology. This, from memory, is what is indicated by Ben Pimlott’s biography of Harold Wilson. There was no British interest in the invasion of Iraq. The notion that we act only in line with British interests is surely from Palmerston. The moral case for intervention is probably Gladstonian; see his 1876 pamphlet ‘Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East’.

    In my view terrorist ideology is not, as is often claimed, bred by poverty; rather, it is the consequence of any political programme that believes the end justifies the means.

    1. Disaffected
      February 20, 2012

      The UK was also broke and heavily indebted to the USA. The Uk only recently paid off its war debt.

      Funny how the Germans were let off with a hair cut by many nations and when the shoe is on the other foot still want to dominate Europe by economics rather than artillery.

      1. uanime5
        February 20, 2012

        And letting these nations go bankrupt rather than bailing them out would somehow be better?

        Also the US gave Germany a lot of support because they wanted to make West Germany better than East Germany to show the Soviets that their system of government was better.

        1. Bob
          February 21, 2012

          Which side of the wall would you have chosen to live?

        2. Disaffected
          February 21, 2012


    2. James Sutherland
      February 20, 2012

      “In my view terrorist ideology is not, as is often claimed, bred by poverty; rather, it is the consequence of any political programme that believes the end justifies the means.”

      Absolutely. OBL himself was a multi-millionaire many times over, raised in an ultra-rich family; statistically, it’s probably a fairly safe bet that nobody reading this page has more money than he was given. The man he put in charge of the 9/11 attacks themselves? A well-educated Egyptian who studied in Germany – again, hardly a case of grinding poverty driving someone to extreme acts.

      “The argument went for the war in Afghanistan that the Taliban were allies of the terrorists who attacked the twin towers. They needed to be displaced as the government of Afghanistan, for that government was harbouring terrorists who could do more harm to the west.”

      More that the group behind the attacks was in Afghanistan and the Taliban got in the way. Forcing them out of power was more a fringe benefit of taking on Al Qaeda than the actual goal, it just made for a convenient excuse to boost support for the fight and for ongoing operations once Al Qaeda had moved elsewhere.

      1. Bazman
        February 25, 2012

        Terrorist ideology is indeed fed by poverty. Ireland is a good example of this with many disaffected youths looking to the IRA for money and status. It’s like saying crime is not linked to poverty. What negative things does poverty breed in your opinion? Nothing I suspect.

  2. Adam5x5
    February 20, 2012

    Iran has not (currently) the capability nor, I believe, the intention of attacking mainland Britain. Our outlying territories (e.g. Gibraltar) may be more at risk and these should be defended.

    However, it is not our place to go invading another country just because we don’t like them very much.
    However if they threaten our allies and friends like Israel and they request our help neutralising a threat, it is only right to do our utmost to help.

    At the moment though, this request is not forthcoming, but the Iranian government is doing a lot of sabre-rattling.
    The most prudent course of action at this time would be to attempt quiet diplomacy to keep a peace but bolster our capabilities for when the powder-keg that is the middle east inevitably combusts.

  3. Andy Man
    February 20, 2012

    All recent conflicts we have interfered with have been inspired and controlled by America for it’s own political and profit driven motives. Britain could and would not have been involved in any except the Falklands if we were not a Yankee poodle. The idea that our politicians still see Britain as a global policeman is quite sad and borders on fantasy. It is self defeating and ridiculous to imagine you will stop terrorists by invading their country, destroying their homes, livelihood and family. If you fight fire with fire all you get is more flames.

    1. Adam5x5
      February 20, 2012

      Not necessarily,

      to be somewhat fatuous and pedantic, if you want to put out an oil well, use dynamite to create an explosion which starves the fire of oxygen.

      You get more flames short term, but fewer in the long run.

      So maybe the answer is to bomb them back to the 14th Century…

      oh wait…

  4. Disaffected
    February 20, 2012

    We need to review the Middle East wars… Goodness John, there needs to be more than that. We still have not had a proper inquiry about Iraq despite huge public unrest. Nor a proper inquiry about Dr Kelly’s death. How about former ministers using contacts and knowledge in office for personal gain, is there proper control over this?? Is the Levison Inquiry going to question former and current prime ministers about politicians relationship with the press including what control it exercises over the bias BBC?

    The government has made extraordinarily bad judgements regarding wars in the Middle East, including the recent Libyan intervention. The irony being, in stark contrast to the claims by Government for fighting in the Middle East to prevent terrorism, the Government cannot even protect our borders or eject terrorists from the UK because of the HRA and EU- and we have a rather large moat around the country that acts as a natural barrier (are you listening Mr Green).

    Now we have Mr Cameron signing another EU Treaty giving the impression that he and his Government do not have the where with all to uphold the fundamental task of any Government: the security of our nation. If we have sufficient military assets why does the UK need to rely on France for its assets and have joined forces? The UK has managed on its own, to stand up and protect its interests with the assistance of treaties and NATO. Why does the UK have to merge forces with France?? I can only draw one conclusion that it is the beginning of the EU army for the pan European state created and supported by the socialist coalition.

    Good article by Boris Johnson about how the CAP is hindering British industry again (too little too late). A pity he was not a more vocal about the UK leaving the EU- I don’t fancy his chances at the next election. Vote UKIP Londoners.

    1. BobE
      February 20, 2012

      Is their a UKIP candidate?

  5. Gary
    February 20, 2012

    Here is US General Wesley Clarke explaining in 2007 how he was told in 2003, before Iraq, that we were going to war to topple 7 countries in 5 years. He lists them.


  6. oldtimer
    February 20, 2012

    You raise good questions. The prevailing principle should be, I believe, the national interest. This is not necessarily the same as moral outrage. An element of the latter was evident in the political decision to intervene militarily in Libya. It was also evident during when Mr Blair was PM.

    The British political class clearly seems to think that it should retain the capacity to intervene militarily around the world; that is evident from defence strategy and decisions about the weaponry with which the services are being equipped. It will be interesting to read, tomorrow or later, the extent to which you think this is justified in defence of the national interest given the nation`s financial circumstances.

  7. Caterpillar
    February 20, 2012

    Strangely JR’s diary today gave me me flashbacks to organizational psychology (I daren’t use the human resource phrase here):-

    Firstly Vroom’s expectancy theory for an individual’s motivation to do something. I wondered when Govt/Parliament intervenes internationally whether a similar three motivational conditions are satisfied; (i) expectancy – can the task be done, (ii) instrumentality – will the task bring rewards (tangible/intangible) and (iii) valency – do “we” value the reward?

    Secondly, and even older. Lewin’s field theory approach to organization change; unfreeze-change-refreeze. What are the forces acting towards and against the ‘desired’ direction of change. If an intervention unfreezes an organization from its current state, can change to the ‘desired’ state be directed, and once there can the organization be refrozen to remain in that state?

    [Aside: Is there a legal definition of “people” in “We believe as part of a group of leading western nations in the self determination of peoples”?]

  8. Mike Stallard
    February 20, 2012

    God help us when the Iranians get the bomb and the means to deliver it.

    1. Rebecca Hanson
      February 20, 2012

      Is that because of all the sanctions we’re imposing on them (which killed untold thousands in Iraq) and our relentless stupid threats and posturing Mike?

    2. uanime5
      February 20, 2012

      Any plane can deliver an atomic bomb.

      1. Bob
        February 21, 2012

        Surely the plane would need the range and ability to penetrate air defence precautions?

  9. Alan Wheatley
    February 20, 2012

    Parliament would do well to review the wisdom of failing to support the Shah, the best part of a million lives that were lost in the Iran/Iraq war that it triggered, and the consequential problems we are still struggling with today.

    The debate should include Middle Eastern intervention in the UK.

    I would agree that if a UK intervention is ill-judged, half hearted and inconsequential an alternative should be chosen.

    1. A Different Simon
      February 20, 2012

      Might Persia/Iran have become a democracy if the West hadn’t installed the Shah in the first place ?

      1. Alan Wheatley
        February 20, 2012

        An interesting question for which there is no simple answer, or indeed any non-speculative answer.

        More pragmatically, Iran under the Shah was pro-West, and while supported by the West Sadam would never have started his opportunist war with Iran, and all those people would not have died.

  10. English Pensioner
    February 20, 2012

    None of our military involvements since World War 2 have been a success, except for the campaign in Malaysia and more recently in the Falklands.
    Looking at recent events in Iraq and Libya, one can hardly claim that our intervention has been a great success. In both cases there were dictators who maintained a form of order and and prevented inter tribal or religious fighting and the ordinary person who wasn’t involved was reasonably safe. Now we effectively have no one in charge in either country with religious warfare in Iraq and tribal militias fighting each other in Libya, neither of which is probably a great improvement for the average person living there. In Afghanistan, there seems to be no real change as far as the average person is concerned, we now have a corrupt dictatorship partially replacing the Taliban who are likely to take over the moment our troops pull out.
    None of these campaigns have changed things in this country one iota; Are our citizens any safer as a result of these exploits? How have all the billions that have been spent improved the life of one UK citizen? As far as most people in this country are concerned, our security would have been served far better by using the billions wasted on these campaigns to strengthen our border controls and provide enhanced internal anti-terrorist services.
    And now it looks possible that there could be war over Iran’s nuclear programme. If it happens, let’s hope this time we have a plan and an objective which is achievable.

    1. backofanenvelope
      February 20, 2012

      I think we can count the liberation of Kuwait a success. There could have been an orderly break up of Yugoslavia, but the French prevented that due to their desire to force the USA out of Europe. The intervention in Seira Leone could also be counted as a success. The invasion of Iraq was just stupid and staying in Afghanistan after the Taliban were destroyed was also rather silly. The Libyan adventure was also stupid.

      The basic question should be – what is in our national interest?

    2. Adam5x5
      February 20, 2012

      Sierra Leone was successful.

      But otherwise your point stands.

      If the government was serious about national security we would follow a model like the Swiss – a year or two of national service in the armed forces for every man, each man is in the reserve forces and can be called up, each man must own a functioning assault rifle at home.

      The swiss effectively have an army of circa 2m trained soldiers – you’d have to be nuts to invade…

      why not do that here?

      an added plus would be the substantial drop in burglary.

      1. Keith Peat
        February 20, 2012

        The Swiss have a tiny population A 5×5. We simply could not afford to put that many into uniform, pay, house, supply and feed them.

        1. Disaffected
          February 20, 2012

          It might put off a few immigrants coming to the Uk.

          1. Disaffected
            February 20, 2012

            Oh and Defra say the UK is short of water- I wonder why? anything to do with the huge population increase? Unbelievable.

  11. A Different Simon
    February 20, 2012

    Ron Paul reckons that the US can scrap income tax if they downscale their interventionalist foreign policy .

    Oh that he could get in and scrap income tax and the NY Fed and restore the US constitution .

    I don’t agree with everything he says but he is the only leadership candidate saying anything remotely interesting or different in the West .

    1. forthurst
      February 20, 2012

      “I don’t agree with everything he says but he is the only leadership candidate saying anything remotely interesting or different in the West .”

      Pat Buchanan and Judge Napolitano who support liberty and the Constitution have recently been removed from the MSM and there is clear evidence of election fraud in the Republican caucuses as Ron Paul is proving hugely popular with the real Americans who dislike neocon wars, the Fed and its coterie of banksters.

  12. MajorFrustration
    February 20, 2012

    There are likely to be terrorist in most parts of the world and we surely cant fight all of them. We have done enough fighting for little gain so its about time other countries started to take the lead. We have more than enough “wars” in the UK to deal with and whats more we dont have the money for further foreign intervention which usually amounts to political ego tripping.

  13. lojolondon
    February 20, 2012

    The default for war should always be set to ‘no’. Britain and the US did not attack Russia and China because they are tough nuts to crack. They do not support human rights in Zimbabwe (where, to our eternal shame, we SET UP this murderous dictator in the first place!).

    But we always want to interfere in the Middle East. The answer is oil, oil, oil.

    Why we don’t get to uncovering the billions of tons of shale oil under our own land, I will never know!

  14. Anoneumouse
    February 20, 2012

    One question that still needs to be answered is why did the Labour Government put The People’s Mujahedin of Iran on to the terrorist list. Back in 2001, Jack Straw, then home secretary, added the PMOI to the list, which he later admitted was “at the request of the Teheran government”. WHY?

  15. julian
    February 20, 2012

    Taking out Iran’s nuclear weapons is essential and I don’t think it would result in a major war. No need to invade Iran.

    1. Keith Peat
      February 20, 2012

      I think the question is: ‘Is it good for the UK to do it?’ Julian. I am sure we would all like to see it done but we just cause an unwelcome focus on us when we try to be a major player now and it isn’t worth it. We are now what we are.

      As to Islamic terrorism and the Middle East: Until very recently, it was very easy, after The Crusades, to govern and control middle eastern nations. Putting down the odd revolt, executing or incarcerating rabble-rousers etc without anyone getting to hear of it or with serious resistance. What has changed all that is instant worldwide communications and 24/7 news and comment; thus division and debate among western people, just like this forum and the addition of Muslim ability to strike back very easily using technology to do so. Witness 9/11 and 3000 deaths. Add to that, the desire to be in Heaven and the rewards of martyrdom too. The West, generally, now has a massive problem on its hands. It would probably be better for UK to turn Muslim than be seen to be leading a charge against it me methinks.

      Time to keep our head down for a change?

      Re Falklands. No we did not win that without the support of the USA. Reagan’s cabinet was split on that with out and out support for Argentina from their UN ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick & A.Sec of State, Thomas Enders. Luckily for us Al Haig & Lawrence Eagleburger supported us or it all could have been so different. But it was a close run thing where the US did what it thought best for the US at that time. This administration? I don’t think so!

    2. BobE
      February 20, 2012

      Its impossible without troops. The bunkers are too deep and hard for remote destruction.

  16. Mark
    February 20, 2012

    Not that I want to encourage the warmongers, but Iranian politics is usually ignored in these debates. Here’s one analysis by a local:


    The reformists are in retreat, but given the disputed nature of the 2009 presidential election, probably still have very significant support. The battle is between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei for the March 2nd elections. The smart money would be looking at ways to denigrate Ahmadinejad once his faction loses out in the Majlis. That might include a behind the scenes olive branch that blamed the president for sanctions, while removing them in return for winding down the nuclear bid.

    The danger is that an unstable Iran will pursue further military adventure to disguise its domestic troubles, much as is happening once again in Argentina. This time there is no proxy enemy lined up, unlike in 1980 when Saddam obliged.

    1. Rebecca Hanson
      February 20, 2012

      Thanks for this interesting article Mark.

      I’m concerned about the BBC bias (did you see the 10 o’clock news last week when they talked about the fuel rods for Iran’s nuclear program and spoke in a derogatory way about Ahmadinejad’s PhD?) and am keen to see as many perspectives as possible. It’s great having Al Jazeerah free now (so that’s where our top international reporters have gone!) and Russia Today is useful too for gaining insight into into how and why our perspective differs from others.

      1. Mark
        February 21, 2012

        I no longer trust the BBC as a news source, and very rarely watch it (usually only when visiting someone else in fact). In fact, it is looking that digital switchover will mean I abandon broadcast TV altogether.

        1. Rebecca Hanson
          February 21, 2012

          I’ve been impressed with Al Jazeera. I’ve met and been able to question one of their live blog reporters and his responses as to how they are developing ethical and effective journalistic practices given new dynamics sources from mass online discussion and microblogging.

  17. forthurst
    February 20, 2012

    Clearly the objective in Syria is to displace a regime which apart from anything else provides succour to Hezbollah which stands between Israel and its desire to annexe Southern Lebanon up to and including the waters of the Litani river. Is this a vital British interest?

    Iran is the jewel in the crown of Islamic states which Israel seeks to re-engineer using the blood and treasure of Western nations and mainly of English speaking ones. The strategy so far has been to destabilise and occupy countries surrounding Iran. Hundreds of Englishmen have been killed and maimed so far. Israel has little strategic importance to the West after the collapse of the Bolshevik empire; furthermore, it is armed to teeth with nuclear and conventional weapons so is very capable of defending itself against attack; consequently, it is extremely difficult to understand why our politicians should be so ready to risk our servicemens’ lives and major regional destabilisation in order to pre-empt ‘threats’ which Tel Aviv detects on a daily basis.

    JR mentions Kuwait, a grouping of oil wells, set up with the aid of British cartographers when Iraq was created from the entrails of the Ottoman empire. The war to defend Kuwait was launched by a spurious news item, the incubator baby hoax. So we should beware of heartrending tales of fictional evil, a la Hollywood, as we should beware of False Flag operations such as the one which so successfully kicked off the phoney War on Terror. Iran wishes to survive and so will be minding its Ps & Qs, therefore any blantant act which appears to detract from this should be viewed with far greater scepticism than the Western MSM and politicians have so far shown themselves willing or capable of.

  18. alan jutson
    February 20, 2012

    I am fed up with us trying to act asd a world police force, and trying to punch above our weight and financial means to do so.

    Yes we should be involved to a degree if the UN or NATO are involved as we are members, but we should work on a percentage basis of contribution to that made by other members.

    If the UN, which was I believe set up to resolve some of the worlds problems, cannot agree on a particular strategy, then we should not act alone, or even as a coalition without such approval, unless our own direct interests are under immediate threat.

    Getting involved in Wars and disputes which do not threaten us directly has bought us nothing but grief in the last few decades.

    Our best defence against attack, terrorists included, is for us to have a fit and proper border control policy, and to eject those back from where they came, without delay, should they misbehave.

    We should also to have a fit for purpose and properly manned and funded Armed forces capability.

    It goes without saying that those (terrorists) in prison should not be allowed to communicate easily with those on the outside, other than through a properly monitored source.

  19. Richard
    February 20, 2012

    The great political sadness of my lifetime has been the failure of the United Nations.
    I had hoped when the UN was set up that the evil dictators we still see operating today in Zimbabwe, North Korea and Syria, would be dealt with by the UN but they still appear to be above any penalty.

    If you commit murder as an individual citizen then sanctions such as the death penalty or life in prison are applied, yet when evil rulers of nations murder and torture their citizens by the tens of thousands the UN seems powerless to act.

    The thought of Mugabe dying a free man disgust me just as much as whem Amin evaded justice after he wreeked his madness on Uganda.

    What kind of world would we be living in now if nations like ours and the USA never intervened and allowed the bullies and madmen to rule freely.

    1. uanime5
      February 20, 2012

      The UN was designed to prevent war between nations and is ill equipped to prevent one nation abusing their own people.

  20. Damien
    February 20, 2012

    I agree that too much political capital is wasted on these interventions abroad and these is little economic benefit to be gained.

    The Chinese VP Xi Jinping choose to visit Ireland for three days along with a 150 member delegation where new trade agreements were signed. I suspect that Ireland was choosen because the Irish are neutral and are non-judgemental on how other countries manage their internal affairs. Off course having a very low rate of corporatiion tax will be of interest to Chinese as an entry point to the EU.

  21. cosmic
    February 20, 2012

    I’d have more patience with these military adventures if there was a clearly defined British interest and if we had any history of success. As it is, they seem to serve our politicians’ vanities and need for a place in the world rather than anything else.

    We should have learned all about Afghanistan from our experiences in the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries.

    As for the moral case for intervention, there are too many examples where we are not intervening because they are too hot to handle.

    Then we’ve got this curious idea of inflicting democracy on various countries, all the more odd because there seems a noted reluctance to consult the electorate at home about various things.

    The War on Terror started with 9/11 and the realisation by the USA that there was such a thing as terrorism. The Afganistan and Iraq involvements were hitting out at something to satisfy the urge that something be done.

    1. cosmic
      February 20, 2012

      And yes, it is high time these interventions and the thinking behind them was reviewed openly and honestly.

      1. ZORRO
        February 21, 2012

        The War on Terror was an excuse to pursue a policy which had been conceived well before 9/11….


  22. javelin
    February 20, 2012

    Pakistan and the Islamic Schools churning out hate against the West always was the problem in the middle east. The problem for the UK is that there are too many people with Parkistani roots and too many votes – and very little is said politically for fear of losing those votes.

    Democracy and doing the moral thing are not always the same thing.

  23. Barbara Stevens
    February 20, 2012

    I don’t think we should be in Afganistan, or should we have gone into Iraq, and certainly not Syria. We are not the world’s policeman, and it has cost this country to much in life and limb. Going to war in 1939 was a different scenorio, as the whole of Europe was in danger. We seem to believe we can interfere if we don’t like regimes or governments, we should not be so sure we are doing the right thing. This country keeps telling it’s citizen’s we are in deep trouble financially, yet, we keep funding the army and airforce, we have limited navy, to go to these places. Where is the money coming from? No government can tell it’s citizens they have to take cuts and suffer the consequences of those cuts while spending money on wars that are of no concern to us. For that’s how the people on the ground see it, meddling in things that do not concern us. While others sit by and watch, prosper, and supposed to be our friends. Take Germany, over Libya, they had no intention of getting involved. Its time we took the same stance. Let the French take the helm for a change, and their friends the Germans I’m sure will help, and the rest of Europe. Its time all our money was spent here to make this country sounder, it’s defences for an example, which are in desperate need of an uplift. Then we have and elderly population growing, health care will be needed. We can afford all these things if we keep our noses out of what does not concern us, and spend OUR money on the British for a change. I’m sick to death of seeing our forces used for a world policeman it’s time it stopped, and those who order such things should be made accountable for loss of life, and limb.

    1. Martyn
      February 20, 2012

      ….”Going to war in 1939 was a different scenorio, as the whole of Europe was in danger”…..

      What goes around, comes around….

  24. Bazman
    February 20, 2012

    As good old George might have said:
    “I don’t know much about middle Eastern politics, but let’s get it on!”

    1. Rebecca Hanson
      February 20, 2012


  25. Mark
    February 20, 2012

    And to think we need more ecoloons at a time like this?

    Canada ‘threatens EU’ over oil sands move

    The EU is on Thursday due to vote on the issue of quantifying how polluting Canadian oil sands are, with European markets possibly proving prohibitive for Canada to sell into as a result.


    I guess for now the UK response is being handled by the FCO, and not the DECC. Ashton seems to be on the wrong side again.

  26. BobE
    February 20, 2012

    Why does tiny little Britain get involved with these conflicts? Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and many others do not do such things. Why don’t we accept our minority player status for once.

  27. pete
    February 20, 2012

    Whatever the agenda is, Iran has to be stopped from producing a nuclear capability by whatever means possible. It does not have to boots on the ground to do this if diplomacy fails so it doesn’t need to be an Iraq Mk2.

    This is a dangerous regime that needs to be isolated by every country and not just the west, even if it meant sealing off their air and sea passages.

    The US knows where the sites are so if it all came to a head this is nothing that couldn’t be sorted out by a short and sharp aerial war as long as it had the backing of the UN SC.

  28. Yudansha
    February 20, 2012

    Taliban friends of Bin Laden ?

    So when do we invade Pakistan ?

  29. lojolondon
    February 20, 2012

    I found this great video for anyone who still believes that “HS2 will bring employment”

    This is a railway refurbishing machine, absolutely fascinating to watch, but only brings employment to about 3 Austrians!


    1. alan jutson
      February 21, 2012


      Great for refurbishing an existing track, but HS2 is planned to plough a different completely new green field route, for promised, additional track volume to ease bottlenecks. At least that is the sales patter.

      Makes you think though, why not refurbish an existing one or two or three for that matter.

  30. uanime5
    February 20, 2012

    I feel that Iran need to be stopped before it tries to declare war on Israel. This will not end well for all concerned.

    On another issue it seems that Cameron has decided to respond to criticisms of NHS reforms by not inviting anyone who has criticises the Health and Social Care Bill to a meeting about the Health and Social Care Bill. He seems to be ignoring the problems in a childish belief that they will magically disappear. Expect Labour to attack him over this.


    Also despite the negative press Tesco still wants their employees to work for free. Don’t expect their growth to create any jobs.


  31. ZORRO
    February 21, 2012

    Off topic, but, bearing in mind the points raised about recruitment policy in the public sector by you and others on the site, probably quite apposite….http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/19/public-sector-expensive-waste


  32. ZORRO
    February 21, 2012

    ‘War against Terror’…..a fight against an inanimate foe….like a War against Death or Fear, unattainable by military means…


  33. REPay
    February 21, 2012

    Wars against abstract nounsare pointless, unless your aim is to have war without end.

  34. Monty
    February 21, 2012

    “The argument went for the war in Afghanistan that the Taliban were allies of the terrorists who attacked the twin towers. They needed to be displaced as the government of Afghanistan, for that government was harbouring terrorists who could do more harm to the west. ”

    But our own western governments are harbouring islamic terrorists who have declared their jihad against our civilians, right here. Our problem with terrorism, stems from the fact that the terrorists are here. My concern is protecting our citizens in the future, and to that end we need to do a number of things:

    1. Stop all immigration. Including those on religious visas. Necessary if we are to stop importing more terrorists.
    2. Deport all illegal immigrants.
    3. Deport all convicted criminals with foreign nationality.
    4. Ban foreign funding of religious, educational, and cultural establishments.
    5. Ratchet up the cost of student and visitors visas to cover the costs to us of vetting them thoroughly, and ban any who don’t pass muster.
    6. Take control of the teaching materials in islamic schools, subject them to rigorous unanounced inspections.
    7. Make the mosque committees legally liable for prosecution if their premises are used for the dissemination of hate speech.

    Of course, no government will do any of these things.

    Reply: You cannot stop all immigration if you wish to have a free society and a flourishing economy. You cannot and should not pick on one group of schools for particular measures. Peaceful followers of Islam should enjoy the same rights and civil liberties as anyone else living here. All should accept our laws and accept the overwhelming wish to settle difference by democratic means, not by violence.

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