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Why the end of the year? This sounds to me like a typical politician who is more interested in a soundbite than in military realities.
If the troops are achieving the objectives they have been set then keep them there until those objectives have been achieved whether that is next week or in two years time.
If the troops are unable to achieve their task as I suspect they should be brought home as soon as is practically possible.

In tune with the geo-political threats we face...what is his view of what these are? What about possible threats we will face tomorrow - nuclear armed Iran, instability in China leading to a more aggressive foreign policy, Russia reverting to an agressive foreign policy?

I'd imagine (because he doesn't tell us) that Mr Huhne thinks a common EU foreign and defense policy is the solution - appeasement outside Europe, European isolationism inside.

And as for cutting & running from Iraq! Lets just hand the middle east over to the rule of anti-western religious bigots (am I still allowed to say that?). If we leave Iraq then how can we be trusted to support friendly regimes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, the Gulf.


Politically I struggle for sympathy here. Bush, Blair et al decided to circumvent the international community and now the brunt of military output falls to these countries.

We must start to debate the when in this matter. In this respect Huhne may have done aided the political agenda.

There's no pressing tactical or strategic need to cut and run from Iraq.

What it would do is send a message to Islamists everywhere that everything they've ever said about the West being soft and decadent was absolutely right.

"Mr Huhne - reportedly the most impressive LibDem leadership candidate in Tony Blair's eyes."

He's certainly (barring further revelations) one of the few Liberal Democrats to have emerged from the current farce with his reputation enhanced.

Whilst I disapprove of his ardent Europhilia, his cowardly cut-and-run Iraq strategy and his probable support for the Liberal Democrats long-held fixation with, um, liberal home affairs policies, it's pretty clear that, in electoral terms, Chris Huhne is the most dangerous of the three candidates.

Only if he goes and gets himself a safe seat.

Frank Young: We must start to debate the when in this matter.
The "when" is settled: when Iraqi govmt is capable of defending itself without outside assistance. Any other 'debate' simply encourages the insurgents (and any outside assistance they may be receiving). As soon as you set an arbitrary date like, say, December 2006, a clamour starts for its advancement to Nov 2006, Oct 2006 etc.

In this respect Huhne may have done aided the political agenda.
Huhne is not trying to stimulate the political agenda. No pro-War candidate has a chance in the Lib Dem contest. Huhne's just trying to sweep up a few second pref votes in their odd system to try to come through the middle.

Mark Fulford: Only if he goes and gets himself a safe seat.
How will the boundary changes affect Huhne? I think the consensus view is that before the recent developments, Oaten was left better off in Winchester. I'd agree that, in the absence of Clegg, electing Huhne is the nearest thing the Libs have to pull off a Cameron-style revamping.

Any one trawling through Huhne's Euro-expenses? Guido?

"Only if he goes and gets himself a safe seat."

Yes it would be most unfortunate for Chris Huhne if he made the Liberal Democrats more electable and lost his seat along the way, leaving Nick Clegg to swoop in and steal the fruits of Huhne's labour.

Unlike the Liberal Democrats "decapitation" strategy, we could probably actually afford to stick a full-time campaign team in Eastleigh for a couple of years. Even if he did get a "leader boost" and held the seat, spending the two years running up to an election looking over your shoulder, and having a party leader spend most of his time in his constituency, is money well spent nationally, win or lose.

Huhne is just consistently following LibDem policy (and I don't mean chasing rent boys).

“My Party and the Liberal Democrats were on different sides of that argument. But I say to Liberal Democrats everywhere: we’re on the same side now. We want to see the same things happen as quickly as possible: democracy established… security guaranteed… and our troops coming home, as quickly as possible.”

This statement is utterly vacuous. Who in their right mind wouldn't believe in "democracy established… security guaranteed… and our troops coming home, as quickly as possible.”, as opposed to the "tyranny, insecurity and permanent troop deployment" that Blair supports?

I can see where he's going, though. Although we supported the war (more than the Labour MPs, in fact) we weren't in government at the time, so it doesn't rub off on us.

"Who in their right mind wouldn't believe in "democracy established... security guaranteed... and our troops coming home, as quickly as possible."

Apparently Chris Huhne wouldn't. He'd bring the troops home regardless.

Whatever your opinion on the right or wrong of the war (I think it was wrong and the consequences are starting to play out in Iran now), we're trapped into seeing the job through. It's an expensive job and it's going to take years, not months.

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