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Andrew Lilico

- This was how I had understood Cameron until a couple of weeks back. It is now clear that Ben and I are/were wrong. What is meant by liberal conservatism can be seen in Mitchell's recent TRG pamphlet (which, since he is a frontbencher, presumably had Cameron's blessing). Liberal conservatism means a high willingness to bless or participate in UN action, but extreme reluctance to act outside that framework.
- The problem with world government, and its putative institutions such as the international criminal court and the UN (understood in that way) is not just that he UN is ineffective. It is that the whole concept of world government and international law (understood in that sense) is wrong.
- No-one thinks that war is the first option.


The biggest - and most serious - policy failure on any issue by the Conservatives since 1997 was IDS's unquestioning support for the Iraq war. It is unbelievable that HM opposition deliberately did not ask a single question at the statement marking the publication of the September dossier.

it was the poisonous legacy with which both of his successors have wrestled.

I have no doubt that if we could have credibly reversed our position on Iraq that we would be in power now. It was clearly the biggest issue at the last General election and yet we ducked it.

What Cameron is now doing is very skilful. He still feels he will be labelled an opportunist if he resiles from his position of support for the war but he knows that the only credible position is to learn ffrom that nightmare. So he is distancing the party by stealth.

Moral minority

Francis Fukuyama has been proved to be a rotten forecaster ("End Of History") and an unprincipled opportunist (joining the neo-con bandwagon and then jumping off when the Iraq war got tough).

The problem with the neo-cons was that they never learned the lessons of Vietnam. Trying to impose Western democracy by force does not work. A substantial proportion of the local population always rise up against the imperialist forces. A long occupation is inevitable. Britain soldiers will be fighting the Taliban, and dying in significant numbers, for years to come.

The great irony is that the US government armed the Taliban during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It funded and armed Saddam Hussein (Rumsfeld was Defence Secretary) when Iraq was at war with Iran. We are paying the price for that liberal interventionism now.

Of course, when it comes to human rights, the neo-cons and their allies fail to address the rights of a key group - our taxpayers who are forced to pay these foreign misadventures. Then there are the soldiers who enlisted to defend our country. They they did not sign up to enforce the imperialist ideology of the Kristols, Podhoretzes, Perle and Frum.

That cabal if full of ex-leftists (Kristol was a Trot) who swapped sides when the Democrats were on the ropes. Henry Jackson was a Democratic senator, fact that the Jacksonites in this country prefer not to talk about.

There is one Republican Presidential candidate who can take American conservatism back to its small government, non-interventionist roots. Ron Paul (ronpaul2008.com) raised $4.5 million online in 24 hours yesterday - record. The mainstream media, probably under pressure from the White House, have ignored the Ron Paul Revolution. They cannot any longer. It is time to spread the message of the Ron Paul Revolution here. We must remove the neo-con poison from the Conservative Party.

Andrew Lilico

[email protected]:54 is mistaken. IDS and a number of other Conservatives at the time did very much criticize the case Blair put forward for the war. But that was not because they did not support going to war. We criticized only the case, not the decision. And indeed the decision (based on the information that we had at the time) was correct - no front-bench Conservative has resiled from that, as far as I know.

Mike A

"David Cameron has been reading Francis Fukuyama, I think"



Andrew Lilico is completely wrong.

No argument was made against the case for war until after the death of David kelly.

A decision was taken at the time by the opposition to stick as close to the Blair government as possible. Bizarrely it was believed the Iraq war would increase Blair's popularity.

As I mentioned in passing the worst part of this was the Prime Minister's statement on the publication of the September dossier. A decision was taken not to ask any questions relating to the content of the dossier when IDS responded - so no questioning of intelligence, 45 minute claim, Uranium etc

Lilico is also wrong about what front benchers have said. Dominic Grieve has since said he could not have voted for the war if he knew then what he knew now - as has Lansley and alan Duncan.

Moral minority

IDS was gullible. He believed the nonsense that he was told by the neo-cons in the American Enterprise Institute and was rewarded with a metting with Dubya. Liam Fox, a neo-con hawk, must also take his share of the blame.

If you think that Iraq is bad, just wait until President Guiliani attacks Iran (as his foreign policy adviser Norman Podhoretz advocates). We must hope that he does not get the chance and that Bush does not beat him to it.

Tony Makara

It is dangerous to bring ideology into foreign policy. Each foreign policy situation is different and requires a different response at any given time and is of itself conditioned by the ability to respond. It was naive of the neo-cons to think they could apply ideology to foreign policy no matter how admirable their underlying objective of bringing democracy to rogue despotic states. We all know that neo-con consistency would have fallen flat if say China had invaded Taiwan or if in the future a Zhirinovsky led Russia took to invading Turkey. Foreign policy cannot be built on exercizing hegemony over small states that cannot fight back. Such policy creates resentment and re-enforces the perception of America and the UK as being hypocrites.

Andrew Lilico

[email protected]:17

First of all, it is a completely different thing to say that one wouldn't have invaded if one had known then what one knows now (a proposition that even *I* would agree with - I would have invaded somewhere else first and come back to Iraq later) from saying that one shouldn't have invaded based on what one believed at the time. Is there anyone that says he now thinks it was wrong to invade Iraq, given what was thought at the time? (Perhaps there is some obscure minor figure that believes this - but it is certainly not the view of any of the significant front-bench figures.)

Next, you are not right about what was said at the time Portillo and IDS, to name but two, expressed concerns about the arguments being offered - they said that the regime change argument should have higher priority. It is true that they never suggested that this affected whether one should invade, but that is another story. (I had a go at finding a relevant old news story, but of course google searches give far too many hits. If I come up with the killer link I'll let you know.)

David Lindsay

Grow a pair, as they say in America.

You - the Euston Manifesto Group (old Stalinists and Trotskyists), the Henry Jackson Society (old stooges of apartheid South Africa and Pinochet's Chile), and so forth - stand for something distinctive, which you at least pretend to believe is able to bring together the best in each of Britain's three political traditions.

Indeed, you at least pretend to believe that that cannot be said of the position of us economically social-democratic, morally and socially conservative British and Commonwealth patriots, as we believe that it cannot be said of your position, either.

But we are prepared to put ourselves to the test honestly at the ballot box, i.e., in the form of a party. See my blog for the details. Are you? If so, then where is your party? And if not, why not?

Frit? I think so. So go on, then: prove me wrong. Grow a pair. Set up a party. All else from you is wind, to be blown back at you. And it will be.

If you neocons don't want people to vote for us (and why would you want that?), then what alternative are you offering? Two, soon to be three, parties that you have stolen, but none of which, even then, really suits you? Or a party of your own? If the latter, then where is it?


You tend to try and sell yourselves (absurdly and dishonestly, but there we are) as the voice of popular wisdom against elite folly. Well, doesn't that popular wisdom deserve an unambiguous voice at the ballot box? Where is that voice, so that no voter ever again faces the prospect of choosing between an Old Labourite, a High Tory and a Lib Dem?


In opinion polls, the determined non-voters are now never lower than 34%, and sometimes as high as 38%, but are factored out for headline purposes. We are trying to reach that huge potential electorate.

Are you, the diehard neocons of the same persuasion as Oliver "Vote Tory To Unseat An Anti-War Labour MP" Kamm (who'll never be a Labour MP or a Labour peer after that) and Douglas "Vote Labour Because The Tories' Vice-Chairman Wasn't As Unyieldingly Pro-War As I Was On Question Time" Murray (who'll never be a Tory MP after that), also trying to reach those disenfranchised? If so, then where is your party?




you are dancing on the head of a pin and are still wrong I'm afraid.

The "if I knew then" argument is importnat because the case was based on WMD. Ie what lansley, Grieve, Duncan and many other frontbanchers say in public and private is that they believed the government's case on WMD and therefore supported the war. They now know that case is bankrupt.

They certainly know that regime change as a case for invasion is ilegal and so wouldn't back that either. And wouldn't have done so at the time!

IDS did not make that argument at the time. he could not as Leader of the Opposition. He made the decision to offer slavish unquestioning support. Indeed at the time of the vote the Whips performed a very effective job silencing any form of opposition.

I'm sorry but you are wrong on this. I think you are applying hindsight and later arguments and become mistaken.

Moral minority

Why is there no coverage of anti-war Ron Paul's massive $4 million raised online by grassroots supporters on Monday? This Guy Fawkes Day "money bomb" has astounded the mainstream media in the States. It was not even an official campaign.

Yet this site, its sister "Britain and America" and the British media are ignoring it. Are they taking orders from the neo-cons or the Government? I bet that the Editor has had his instructions from David Frum and his chums at National Review.

Yet Another Anon

No-one thinks that war is the first option
First option to what, it depends on the circumstances - the options available depend on the particular situation.

The Iranian authorities are relatively benign, unlike Al Qaeda or the Ba'athist Party they are genuinely trying to improve Iran, certainly they are seriously flawed but they have neither the dogmatic negativity of Al Qaeda that almost seems to feel guilty about the concept of improving things for people, or the corrupt power crazed squandering of resources out of sheer vanity and sleaze that came to characterize Ba'athism especially the Iraqi Ba'ath Party.

In Zimbabwe as in Iraq there is the squandering of resources, what should be a rich country made poor - environmental destruction, persecution of minority groups and creation of a narrow favoured elite. Robert Mugabe has declared not only that he wants to continue as President, but far worse that he wants to pick his successor, therefore options of assassination, fostering a military coup or even outright regime change are all valid options.

If China were to attack Taiwan then it would be valid to meet that military force with military force by the US\UK and maybe other NATO allies.

In Chechnya or Tibet because of the long establishment of military powers there coupled with the ramafications, maybe it would not be appropriate.

If Spain were to send forces into Gibraltar then a military response from the UK as a first course of action would be appropriate.

Treaty arrangements can make military action the first option from a moral standpoint such as when Germany invaded Poland in 1939.

If Indonesia invaded Australia it would be appropriate to send forces to help Australia.

In the Balkans it was appropriate to take action against Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs, generally the tendency has been in the 20th century to be far to slow to move to military action and so been perceived as being weak.

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