Thursday, February 26, 2009

Navel gazing

Superb article by Richard Beeston in The Times today. He tells us to "Stop obsessing about the legality of invading Iraq. The campaign itself was the real disaster". Brilliant! Amongst the delights:

Of all the parochial, navel-gazing, non-issues surrounding the Iraq war, the endless debate about the lead-up to it has wasted more time and energy than any other.
He then goes on:

The Army was poorly equipped and inadequately manned. When security deteriorated, the Government responded by continuing to reduce British Forces to the point where a few hundred soldiers were left protecting their headquarters at Basra Palace. Eventually, the British abandoned Iraq's second city after making a deal with Iranian-backed militants.
Beeston then concludes that "what we face today is a crisis of confidence that all the marching bands and Ministry of Defence spin cannot conceal. Once masters of counter-insurgency, our global reputation has been badly tarnished."

He thus writes: "Unless we move on from who did what when and instead examine this difficult question, we run the real risk of leaving Iraq with little to show for our efforts and nothing learnt from the experience."

This is a grown-up analysis, written by an adult. One fears, however, that he is addressing children.