Politics UK: Culloden
PC12: Iraq again - Printable Version

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PC12: Iraq again - Blakesley - 07-29-2020

What do you think of the government’s Iraq plans?


RE: PC12: Iraq again - Griff Rhys Morrison - 07-29-2020

The Foreign Secretary's statement to the House of Commons today was wholly lacking in substance. It is abundantly clear that he entered into this war thinking a quick colonial adventure would be an easy vote winner. The Government has mismanaged the situation in Iraq repeatedly; from ignoring Saddam throughout the 1980s to no strategic planning at all outlined today. They have failed to give the total number of fatalities on numerous occasions, and now they cannot tell us costs, timelines, deployment figures or objectives. There is no plan and while the Foreign Secretary avoids the House of Commons, the Labour Party will still be holding them to account for it.


RE: PC12: Iraq again - Tommy Dawson - 07-29-2020

The manner in which this rotten Government is treating the Iraq War as a childlike game featuring toy soldiers as opposed to an extremely complex situation that requires more than analysis on the fly is not only vile but will lead to disaster and an immense of amount of misery with consequences that I don't believe Dylan Macmillan, Aubyn Myerscough and every other Tory minister engaged in their imperial ego trip can comprehend. As the Shadow Foreign Secretary outlined so coherently in his speech, this Tory Government is so wrapped up in their colonial fantasies that they haven't even thought to develop a comprehensive plan to rebuild Iraq, haven't asked for an estimate of the bill, and paid not a second of consideration to the demographic and economic conditions on the ground - as evidenced by their inability to utter a single sentence about the future of Iraq's publicly owned firms which sustain the lives of and provide stability to millions and the assertion that two majority Sunni countries and Dylan Macmillan know more about the needs of the majority Shia Iraq than the Iraqi people do, themselves. Labour laid out simple principles when the Foreign Secretary curtly announced his adventure, principles that he has had plenty of time to ruminate on: that it adhere to stringent moral standards, that it have a legitimate basis in international cooperation, and that it be practicable. The Foreign Secretary's rant in the House today doesn't come close to any of those standards and like every other aspect of this rudderless Government appeared to be made up on the fly with no regard for the likely, and profound repercussions of such neo-colonial actions.


RE: PC12: Iraq again - William Croft - 07-30-2020

I think it's important that we take this opportunity to examine who does, and who does not, support the Government's peace plan for Iraq. 

Who supports it? The United Nations. The United States, France, and our other coalition allies. Egypt and Syria, two critical allies in the region with a vested interest in the success and wellbeing of the Iraqi people. 

Who doesn't support the plan? Saddam Hussein, and... the Labour Party. 

Labour is so infuriated at the prospect of this Government succeeding that they've literally isolated themselves from the global consensus and landed on a position that's shared literally only by them and by the allies of the Hussein regime. The plan that Britain and our coalition allies has built is good for the people of Iraq, it makes great strides in achieving peace in the Middle East, and it ensures Saddam will not be able to regain power and continue to threaten the safety of the British people and all those who care for freedom and democracy. This plan is an objectively good one, and it's sad to see Labour refuse to admit that in order to score political points.


RE: PC12: Iraq again - Alex Cardigan MP - 07-30-2020

Lord Carrington's Commission is going to be in trouble if this Government doesn't get it's act together, and start thinking big picture. It is no bad thing that Britain is leading this international coalition, or that we are trying to take leadership. If we get this one wrong, though, we will not be trusted to do the same thing next time. We've heard some lovely sounding words from the Foreign Secretary, but the facts of the matter remain the same - we have no clarity on our financial contributions, no clarity on the time-scale for a democratic transition, and no clarity on our own armed forces. There is no strategy! If the Tories really believe that they can muddle through this one, and get away with it by crossing bridges as they come to them, then the harsh reality of the situation on the ground is going to be a real wake up call. For months, MPs like myself have been asking about the long-term plan, asking about how we intend to rebuild the region, and asking about how we want stability - yet the Government are acting like they've been caught on the hop. It beggars belief, and we have to demand better.


RE: PC12: Iraq again - Marcus Redgrave - 07-30-2020

As the Shadow Foreign Secretary pointed out in his speech to the House of Commons, the government has plunged Iraq into a new phase of its history without any coherent, comprehensive plan. The mission objectives are unclear and ever-changing whilst the British government continue refusing to answer clear questions and continue avoiding scrutiny in the House of Commons. 

The government are also categorically failing to involve the Iraqi people in their future by not giving them a proper say in how they are governed. There is no properly outlined budget, no further information on deployment plans, no clarity on measures, no established milestones and no clear timeline. The only thing that's fully clear about this plan is that it's a colonial fantasy dreamed up by a government more concerned about claiming victory than thinking about how we actually achieve one. 


RE: PC12: Iraq again - Dylan Macmillan - 07-30-2020

The Oppositions frankly slanderous lies about the nature of our operation in Iraq are born of ignorance and nothing more. This is not a colonial endeavour, this is not Britain going it alone and taking over Iraq, this is a well thought out, reasoned, and internationally endorsed plan. The United Nations has a clear line when it comes to self-determination, they endorsed our plan. The United States and France have the military and financial ability to help us take the strain, they have endorsed and even joined our plan. Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and indeed every Arab nation in the coalition that is busy engaging militarily with Saddam Hussein's forces, have endorsed our plan. This is a strong plan with the full weight of global powers, regional players, and international law as decided by the United Nations Security Council behind it. The only people who haven't endorsed this plan are Labour, and the war-criminal we're in the process of overthrowing.

The Government have managed to balance the wishes and desires of over 50 coalition members, including nations as diverse as France, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, with the need for regional recognition of our plan with respect to Syria and Egypt, and the need for international legitimacy and respect for the rule of law at the United Nations Security Council. Without perfectly balancing each and every one of these competing priorities we would not have been able to set out our plan for the rebuilding of Iraq, we would have had to leave them to it as Labour would have done when Saddam Hussein fired WMDs at civilians. This plan is a triumph for British diplomacy and soft power, bringing together partners from across the World to put aside our issues and agendas in the pursuit of a singular goal, the liberation of Iraq from tyranny and its reconstruction for a more democratic and prosperous tomorrow. I am personally delighted to see Saddam Hussein consigned to the pages of history so that we can forge a new relationship with the people of Iraq which does not involve them living in constant fear for their lives from impending assault with a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

Labour decry the fact that I have made three statements in the House of Commons on the issue of Iraq, what they don't tell you is that they have only asked one question about the situation in Iraq in the last five months. Now I haven't been in post at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a long time but when the Leader of the Liberal Democrats spends more time questioning me about Iraq policy than the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and when my party's own backbenchers ask me more relevant questions than whatever Mr Morrison was thinking about when he spoke about carrier pigeons, I think it's high time that Labour re-examine their commitment to Parliamentary Questions. I have been as open and transparent as I have been able to when considering that there is a war going on, Labour have simply sat idle until they think they can score a party political hit out of the deal.

I grew up during the Second World War and remember very vividly listening to many sources on the wireless warning us that the walls have ears. I make not apology for the secrecy with which we have conducted the war in Iraq to this point because military operations need to remain secret. If I had broadcast to the World that the plan for our invasion of Kuwait was for a two-pronged pincer attack to form the anvil to a US hammer, catching the Iraqi army in a situation from which there would be no escape, I would have no doubt earned plaudits from Labour for my transparency, but I would equally have earned the ire of our nation's generals for betraying our military plans to public television so that Iraq can hear them. When military secrets get out our troops die, it's as simple as that. Our men die, our women lose their husbands, our children lose their fathers. I will never apologise for the way the war has been conducted on this front, it was essential that we kept Saddam Hussein in the dark about our operations so that they would succeed at minimised risk to the lives of our soldiers.


RE: PC12: Iraq again - Griff Rhys Morrison - 08-03-2020

It is clear from their reaction to scrutiny in the House of Commons that this government knows they have mismanaged the situation in Iraq. Their lack of strategic planning embarrasses the Foreign Secretary to such an extent he must ignore questions to him, as in his second statement, or use the House of Commons to obsessively score party political points. 
 
Labour made our position clear when we laid out principles that should guide decision making, and offered cautious support of the mission but objected to the lack of accountability. That the Foreign Secretary pretends otherwise says more about the weakness of his positions than it does the strength of Labour’s.

One of the major objections Labour has raised on Iraq is about the lack of strategic planning the Foreign Office has been asked to do by Mr Macmillan. On multiple occasions in the House of Commons and in public and during private consultation, we implored the Foreign Secretary to outline the mission objectives. We were told he couldn’t. This was wholly untrue. The government can outline strategic objectives and lay out success criteria without giving away detailed tactical information. They can, they chose not to. 
 
The Government has either misjudged the differences between strategic and tactical information or they never had them in the first place. That lack of planning is a serious concern and Labour will continue to hold them to account for it. 
 

The government’s lacklustre, half-baked plan to rebuild Iraqi society in their own image is a symptom of the colonial mindset that has taken root in the Foreign Office under Mr Macmillan. They have chosen  not to include the Iraqi people at all in their proposal for a commission on rebuilding. Their plan in the House of Commons was a mere skeleton with no depth or detail provided at all. The Foreign Secretary’s instance it was a plan demonstrates his lack of understanding. 
 
His single sentence plan to “provide food” should be hugely expanded in more depth. 
How much food? How was this calculated? What types of food? How is it being sourced? Where is it being sourced from? How much will it cost? Who will manage it? How will it be transported? By whom? When? To where? Which communities need the most? The least? What evidence has the department used? 
 
Do the government even know? 


RE: PC12: Iraq again - Dylan Macmillan - 08-04-2020

This cycle is closed isn't it?