Thursday, 15 January 2009

"War on terror was a mistake"

Article by David Miliband in today's Guardian. (Can't actually find the article, maybe it hasn't been posted yet... but this is the news piece on it). Interesting analysis by the Guardian in the final paragraphs:

"British officials are signalling, in increasingly public ways, that they cannot wait for the new team to take office next Tuesday, and wave goodbye to an eight-year administration with which they felt increasingly ill at ease, particularly following the departure of Tony Blair in 2007.

Miliband said last night that the incoming administration's proposed use of "smart power" meshed with his arguments. "The new administration has a set of values that fit very well with the values and priorities I am talking about," he said during a visit to Amethi, northern India.

Asked whether he had not left it late in the Bush era to make his criticism, the foreign secretary said British officials had stopped thinking in terms of a single war on terror more than two years ago, and had been putting a "more comprehensive approach" into practice.

British officials said the timing of the speech was dictated more by the Mumbai attacks than Bush's departure, but added that the transition in Washington meant the language could be less cautious than it might otherwise have been.

UK-US relations have been particular sour in recent days after Washington reneged on a pledge to back a largely British-drafted UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The White House over-ruled US diplomats after a demand from the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert."

15 comments:

Paul said...

I remember after 9/11 when some TV stations were calling it The War Against Terror sometimes with the words one on top of eachother left aligned down the screen.

Distancing ourselves from George Bush unfortunately 8 years too late.

Kerry said...

But better late than never?

Martin said...

No more Bush is a good thing, that's for sure. Goodbye Neocon loser!

Can't say I'm optimistic about his successor, either. http://tinyurl.com/OMGCHANGE

bri in bristol said...

So,then..what exactly has produced this change of mind?Surely this phrase and associated'policies' were wrong 8 years ago?All the issues Milliband highlights were raised clearly by anti-war campaigners long ago.Nothing has changed to suddenly render these 'ideas' flawed.Nothing except the most important thing.'The Boss' has changed. Obama has created this change,not our Government.This is more shameless kowtowing to the USA. Bush says bomb,so we bomb.Obama says 'soft power' so now we adopt about a more'considered' approach.Does Milliband actually have any ideas of his own?The actual truth is he has no idea at all how to deal with terrorism,no idea how to analyse it and no idea who to listen to except the US government.Every protester cynically dismissed by this governmnet as 'appeasers'or 'anti-american[whatever that means] or 'disloyal' can quietly think'we were right,you were wrong'.

DaveA said...

From my reading of history, I think George Bush and Tony Blair will be treated a lot more kindly.

If you look at the zenith of the Ottoman empire in the 16th and 17th century, trying to batter dowm the gates of Vienna to over run Europe, the last being 1683, with 1571/2 not far off. The Ottomans were the United States of Europe and Asia and under Suleiman the Magnificent Europe trembled at the threat.

What characterised the Ottoman attitude to Europe. was we were thought to be weak and decadent. We preferred to talk and negotiate, slow to be drawn into war and we had the social morals of an alley cat. The Ottomans wanted one solution their victory.

I do not think 500 years attitudes have changed and after the Bush's spent a number of years trying for a diplomatic solution, frustration, imho took over.

My point is that we have demonstrated that we are not soft, decadant and prepared to fight for oil to maintain out standard of living. A line has been drawn in the sand and I believe the message has gone out to Al Qaida and their apologists we are not a push over.

Chris Gale said...

Kerry you voted for Trident replacement did you not? Hardly taking a stand against the Bush agenda was it?

As for David's article, yes very interesting but trying to stop Islamist fanatics killing thousands of people has never been just a military operation. It involves many different facets, financial and intelligence led too. Prof Norman Geras makes this point on his blog today as well as some other good points:
http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2009/01/apt-phrase-for-a-justified-war.html

The future will be about steming the rise of Islamist terror, which of course does not exist according to Bristol City Council..

Northern Lights said...

Bri in Bristol: take a more considered (and less biased) look at the 'special relationship'.

In particular, the Bush/Blair relationship is often misrepresented in these simplistic terms - TB was an advocate of liberal interventionism long before Bush became president.

Cleo said...

His speech does seem a really positive development, showing how foreign policy to counter terrorism may now be conducted in a post-Bush world. While the timing obviously coincides with the imminent Obama presidency, Obama's vision of soft or smart power should help bring about welcome changes. These ideas do, as Bri says, acknowledge much of the criticisms against the war in Iraq, but looking ahead they help signal the end of a foreign policy that not only took us into Iraq, led to Guantanamo and the use of torture, but more recently uncritically supported Israeli incursions into Lebanon in 2006.

Kerry said...

If you'd been in the Labour Party for a bit longer, Chris you'd realise the Trident debate has been going on since long before Dubya came to office.

Simon said...

Now he's seen the light I wonder if there's any chance of him championing the cause to repeal all those nasty laws brought in under the guise of the war on terror. Imagine it, less spying and snooping, less obnoxious jobsworths in airports, less councils abusing the terror laws, DNA database reigned in (did they abide by the european court of human rights ruling and remove all innocents from the database?), right to protest restored, RIPA repealed. Were these bailiffs who can break into your house and allowed to pin you down whilst plundering your goods enabled as part of the war on terror?

There is so much good Milliband could do and start making this country a more pleasant place to live in again. Don't hold your breath though.

Chris Gale said...

"if you'd been in the Labour Party for a bit longer, Chris you'd realise the Trident debate has been going on since long before Dubya came to office."

A classic diversion from addressing the issue, yes im well aware of that. One hardly needs to be a member of a political party to know that.

The Bristol Blogger said...

Is this Chris in The Guardian today?

It certainly stands out from rest of the 'Israel must lose' Guardian-reader drivel on show.

I see two Bristol University academics are signed up to that ...

Chris Gale said...

Yes that was me, a miracle it got through! Thanks for the heads up!

Steven_L said...

But Obama wants to increase the number of troops fighting the war om terror in Afghanistan doesn't he?

Ah I get it, Miliband means the name 'war on terror' isn't working. It's going to be rebranded is it?

As for Iraq not working, the sanctions are lifted and their gas is nearly back online now, so it is working.

Remember Remember said...

Except of course it's not "their gas" any more...