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I suspect that if Bush goes ahead with 'his surge' it will be a case of far too little too late.It will be interesting to see if these new American troops actually take the fight to the Shia militia groups or allow them to carry on as they (and we ) have generally done to date.
Camerons' comments don't really add anything at all to the debate do they? What a shame that the Conservative party is so divided that we have been only able to offer the most lamentable opposition to this disastrous war.

that we have been only able to offer the most lamentable opposition to this disastrous war.

Same was true in 1917 and 1941 - both times the wars could have reached a negotiated settlement - offers were available from Germany.

The issue is to guarantee our security - we are nearer to Iraq than the US and a nice influx of refugees is hardly likely to warm the hearts in England, especially if the British Army returns like the England cricket team which seems to be the unstated conclusion of all these moans about this disastrous war

Retiring early is called a rout.

The trouble is that we cant stay as we are - continuously losing troops and achieving nothing. But if we pull out we hand a massive propaganda victory to the Islamists and other enemies of the West and demoralize ourselves.

One last push, greatly increasing troop numbers might be the best way out.

The tragedy is that this disastrous war should never have happened in the first place, and even with the best outcome Britain will be no better off.

The public likes its leaders to be firm and certain when dealing with terrorists and dictators. Dave needs to get firmer, none of this "might" stuff, and back Bush to put in more troops for definite.

His comments on Saddam's demise make him seem too flowery for the general public. The only real questions about Saddam's demise should be whether the other cases should have been heard to learn more about other Ba'athist atrocities, and why on earth weren't the TV rights to the execution not put out to competitive tender.

The problem is that it had to be the Iraqi people who did the deed or there'd have been complaints that the US interfered with the justice system. That in mind however, how much advise did the Iraqi judicary receive over how to carry out this execution? Looking at the appalling human rights record that Iraq has in the past, it's certainly no wonder there were flaws in the execution.

Whether he should have been executed at all is a different matter altogether.

I'm glad the Iraqis executed Saddam and I don't care how chaotic it was, I also would have liked to see it on British TV through a proper camera.

A big troop surge is definitely the best chance we have of actually taking some of the militas out and creating security around Baghdad so the Iraqis can take greater control. There is no point putting more men in though if they have the same insanely prohibitive ROE as they currently labour under.

More troops, more aggressive ROE, more chance of leaving less of a mess behind us.

The same arguments were made; heeded and failed, in Vietnam.

Withdrawal is the only solution now and only the hubris of those who so foolishly supported this illegal and miserably planned escapade, is stopping it from happening.

Bush can deploy as many troops as he wants, it will not stop the killings.
Iraq has descended into the nightmare scenario of civil war, rather as Lebanon did in the 80's and 90's.
The killing will only stop when the people of Iraq have the will to stop it, and to eliminate those that seek to capitalise on the disorder, to seize power and control, in the name of a religious sect or tribal affiliation.
As regards the execution of Saddam, i regard that as a good thing for Iraqi's generally.
Certainly there is a ground swell of demand in this country for a return of the death penalty for capital offences, and perhaps we should be seeking a referendum on that, no matter what the liberal idiots say in this country or Brussels. If the people (demos) demand then the government of the day must respond, that is the basic premise of democracy.

The trouble is that we cant stay as we are - continuously losing troops

We lost many more in Northern Ireland and it is a volunteer army.........we also had Korea with 63.000 British conscripts deployed

U.S. forces were eventually joined during the conflict by troops from 15 other UN members: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Greece, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Colombia, the Philippines, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Although American opinion was solidly behind the venture, Truman would later take harsh criticism for not obtaining a declaration of war from Congress before sending troops to Korea. Thus, "Truman's War" was said by some to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the United States Constitution.

1 million South Koreans died; 85% civilians

Canada sent 26.000 soldiers and had 516 killed..............USA lost 36000 killed. Britain lost 746 dead 1157 MIA.


The US had 348.000 soldiers in theatre at peak, Britain 14.000

Not even when the North Koreans and Chinese taking Pusan deterred the American-led coalition from fighting and the Inchon landings recaptured South Korea.

Then again it was not a professional army but a conscript army that was fighting

It is now generally accepted that it was wrong to go to war. The Conservative and Labour MPs who jeered at Charles Kennedy in the House of Commons when he and the Liberals Democrats unanimously opposed the war should now have the decency to publicly apologise to him.

I agree with Gareth & George. Also, if you take the DC quote at face value, that would be a cracking idea, a US troop surge to make up the numbers while ours come home, leaving the Yanks to bear the blame when if finally all gets even worse that it is now.

The West can't afford not to win outright in Iraq. But to win a war, one has to be ruthless and the West seems to have lost that.

We should re-inforce the government of Iraq with at least an additional 40,000 troops from as many sources as possible. We should commit the increased numbers for a period of two years minimum and ensure that stability is achieved.

As Stuntz pointed out the killings fall when there are adequate troops in theatre to create security.

If this sustained effort had been made at the beginning with a real civil re-building effort alongside we might not be in the mess we are in now, but to walk away would condmen the region to going up in flames as part of the on-going civil war between the islamists and the moderate muslims.

To take this course opens up the very real prospect of the isalmists re-taking Afghanistan and an Iranian backed move to usurp Musharaf in Pakistan. It would not take long for this to wipe out Isreal and subsume Palestine, Kuwait and the rest of the gulf states.

The re-establishment of the Caliphate and the creation of a theocratic, fundamentalist muslim state is the goal of the islamists and walking away would bring that reality much closer. Would the tide of fundamentalist Islam then wash through north Africa and western Europe? It is hard to see how it could be resisted.

More troops may result in less dead Americans, but if they do anything other than force protection it will also mean more dead Iraqi civilians. Whenever the US forces enter an area A , the local militias of A scatter and the suicide bombers of B come in and start detonating, killing A's civilians.

In either case, there is zero prospect of us 'winning', whatever that's supposed to win. We can continue 'demonstrating our will' by letting the bodies continue to pile up, or we can demonstrate some genuine resolve and leave. Of course we don't have any genuine resolve, so we won't. Incredibly, we really are determined to recreate Vietnam.

Sending more troops is the only and right decision. We simply must win this war; we can't afford to lose it.

The test of whether the war was right cannot be judged at the present time. If Iraq is a better place in 10 or 20 years time, than the war will have been worth it, I believe.

"The West can't afford not to win outright in Iraq. But to win a war, one has to be ruthless and the West seems to have lost that."

Whether ruthlessness is a virtue depends on your war aims. If we really wanted their oil and there were no other considerations, yes maximum ruthlessness would be the easiest way to secure that goal. In fact though the stated war aim is a "secure democratic & peaceful Iraq"; which can only be achieved with the consent of Iraqis. Killing them will not achieve that consent.

John Moss:
"an Iranian backed move to usurp Musharaf in Pakistan..."

How on earth Iran is supposed to usurp Musharraf, the mind boggles. If anyone usurps Musharraf it will be more overtly pro-Islamist elements within the Pakistani elite allied to Al Qaeda & the Taleban, all of whom are fanatically Sunni; whereas Iran's leaders are fanatically Shi'ite.

Of course, DC couldnt make a statement with out being interrupted by the left wing Beeb person.It must be almost impossible to get a point or a considered argument under those circumstances. I was getting really narked at Jim??? was it? But I had to laugh when his parting jibe re Gordon Brown taking over without a mandate was.." same as you did to Mrs Thatcher in 1987"
Dave replied drily, " 1990, actually" If the Beeb cant even get its facts straight, what hope is there for any benighted polititian.

Simon, very valid points and that is why we have not made as much progress as some of us had expected.

Sorry: My last comment was an answer to Simon Newman 12:04.

Just as failure in Vietnam did not prevent the USA from ultimately winning the Cold War, failure in Iraq will not mean the victory of radical Islam against the West. The idea that the Arab world would simply roll over and accept fundamentalist rule has little supporting evidence, and shows up the alarmist talk of "the re-establishment of the Caliphate" as nonsense, only spouted by paranoid neocons who are ignorant of history.

When are the Conservative MPs going to apologise to Charles Kennedy for their treatment of him when he rightly opposed the war?

CDM at 17:30 - I certainly agree that "in Iraq will not mean the victory of radical Islam against the West" - we basically had already failed by the end of 2003 anyway, currently we're just building up the body-count. If our leaving allowed Iraq to partition it would result in less deaths rather than more.

As for "the re-establishment of the Caliphate", certainly our leaving Iraq won't cause this; in fact quite the reverse - a Shia-dominated Iraq would be a severe impediment to any Sunni caliphate as desired by Al Qaeda! Conversely, that doesn't mean the 'alarmist talk of the neocons' is inherently impossible; the Muslim Brotherhood plan involves gradually subverting & taking over the West mostly via demographics, with violence only where appropriate, plus destabilising & knocking down Arab regimes where possible, something we seem to either be doing nothing about, or actively helping them with - eg an attack on Syria that destroyed the regime there would be a huge gift for the MB plan.

that would be a cracking idea, a US troop surge to make up the numbers while ours come home, leaving the Yanks to bear the blame

I find that comment somewhat distasteful

When are the Conservative MPs going to apologise to Charles Kennedy for their treatment of him when he rightly opposed the war?

He was completely wrong just as his predecessor Lloyd George was wrong 70 years ago

Cameron said that the execution of Saddam Hussein had been "Pretty grisly" and its handling had been "quite wrong."

Utterly pathetic. He could be talking about dodgy new decorations in his infamous kitchen.

Even the wretched Prescott managed better than this, while Boris Johnson (not someone for whom I normally have much time) wrote an excellent article on the subject in today's Telegraph.

As for Cameron's opinion on US troops, does that mean he thinks more British troops would also be appropriate, which is the logical corollary?

Seems that when there's nobody to hold his hand the Boy Wonder is all at sea.

"When are the Conservative MPs going to apologise to Charles Kennedy for their treatment of him when he rightly opposed the war?"

With the benefit of hindsight, not an unfair question, TimberWolf @ 17.41.

The trouble is we do not know what the opposition parties were told by Blair in their briefings before the war. We do not know what differences there were between the original intelligence briefing by the recently ennobled John Scarlett and the second "sexed-up" version that he was told to go away and produce.
If the PM of this country tells you - before the war - that Iraq "had WMD that could be deployed in 45 minutes against British interests", you might be forgiven for believing him.
However, now that we know what the true situation was, surely the conservatives can change their minds about the war and join with the Lib Dems and all other parties in ridding this country of such a deceitful PM.
Of course the conservatives should now do everything in their power to force the government to support our troops properly from now until they can leave Iraq.

You can see the logic of a surge - flood Baghdad with troops, checkpoints everywhere, stops the bombers moving around. Obviously won't work in Anbar as the extra troops just provoke violence against them, but afaik that's not the plan.

However, you have to wonder why extra troops are needed now, and not a year or two back. Was it just incompetence and stubborness? (admittedly both hallmarks of the Bush administration). Also, why were military leaders in Iraq explicitly downplaying the idea of extra troops just 6 months ago? This seems to smack of political micromanagement of a distant war - usually a depressing omen.

Rather pathetic and distatful of so called Tory Loyalist to even use the Iraq war that is a matter of life and death to so many to make his usual snide remaks about David Cameron.
Sir I hope to god your not standing for my local council in the elections in May. Mind you our council is far too good to have the likes of you on it.

Lots of voices seem to complain about the instability in Iraq and in the same breath want troops actually taken out.

Yet very little of the violence actually involves the military. The reality is greater stability and fewer troop casualties can only come with a bigger troop presence - truly keeping on top of violent insurgents and Saddam sympathisers, and generally maintaining internal order between Iraq's different tribal factions.

Who else is going to stop those people killing and maiming ordinary Iraqi civilians until they get what they want - an Iran clone or a Saddam clone?

Saying more troops are needed isn't just commendably brave, politically, but is more importantly the right short-term decision to ultimately leave a peaceful and democratic Iraq.

But let's also have much more from Cameron & Co. about the total inadequacy of the equipment our troops are trying to do their difficult job with. Particularly the poor defenses their Land Rovers have against the weapons in typical use against them. Forcing change in that area would have a real impact on saving troops' lives.

Agree with Mike at 19:06. Supporting additional deployments is not an easy way out politically. Although of course it dos involve more of our servicemen and women potentially putting themselves in harm's way, it does provide a stronger tool to enforce security to help give some more breathing space to the work to forge a longer-term political settlement. That in itself is something which still looks like a tough job.

The very least we can do is ensure that they are properly resourced and equipped for this, something which ties in well with Fox's "contract with the armed forces" today well.

Tory Loyalist: Not quite sure what you think the issue was with Cameron's words. I haven't listened to the Today interview, but I think the quotes provided summed up quite a few people's view of the Saddam execution. It was a distasteful thing (although as I am personally opposed to the death penalty on principle, I fail to see how it could have been otherwise) and was poorly implemented, turning it into a circus. It was done under Iraqi law as was their right, but done very badly even in those terms.

Was it that you wanted - stronger language from Cameron on this, a more detailed condemnation, or something else?

Gullible Tories believed Tony Blair and voted in favour of war. You would think they had learned their lesson, but instead they have elected a Tony Blair clone as their Leader.

Rather pathetic and distatful (sic) of Cameron to make remarks which may imply committing more troops to the hellhole in Iraq when the only announcement he should be making is that a Conservative government will withdraw at the earliest possible opportunity.

I very much doubt that I'm standing for your local council Jack Stone. As I recall you originally claimed to live in Southend, although when confronted with certain details you became somewhat fuzzy round the edges.

Anyway, as we don't have any socialists remotely resembling your on-line persona as key activists in my association I think you can rest easy in your bed tonight.

Wherever that may be.

Cameron is only a 'Blair clone' in the sense that he's personally charismatic and persuasive. Blair's similar talent went a long way to putting him in power.

What for Blair slowly turned charisma into the perceived smarm most even beyond this blog now seem sick of, apart from the fixed grin, was recurring blatant duplicity.

If Cameron avoids those traps then I can't see what harm just having a Blair-esque charisma can do him.

I have no time at all for Blair but at least in saying "New Labour, New Britain" he promised (falsely) something which would be different and better than the sleazy shambles left by Major.

Cameron, on the other hand, says he's the "Heir to Blair" and enjoins us to "embrace" the open sewer that is Blair's Cool Britannia.

That's why he angers me even more than Blair does. Blair betrayed this country but Cameron simply promises more of the shoddy same.

Blair richly deserves to dangle from the same gallows on which they hanged Saddam Hussein. Where does that leave his #1 fan Cameron?

I didn't believe Blair with his 45 minutes, and I am still waiting for Cameron to answer questions about drug taking. That leaves Campbell as the only Leader worth supporting.

What ToryLoyalist at 19:54 is saying just seems absurdly over-hyped to me. I just don't understand what's got some party supporters into such a spluttering state of fury about Cameron.

Especially so early into his tenure and, according to conventional wisdom at least, some way yet from a general election. Plenty of time yet to address policy on more traditional Tory themes, as well as the ones he has rightly concentrated on initially - which are in no way alien to Conservative ideas anyway.

An alternative of clinging to the same old merry-go-round of immigration, tax, EU and election failure seems a bizarre idea towards progress, to me.

While I have strong views on the EU, I don't mind Cameron not talking about the issue. He's right that other issues will be more productive in gaining new support. No point just preaching to the converted.

Though if he goes a step further and overtly and substantially softens the party's position, for example by ditching the anti-CFP committment in the on-going policy review, then that'd really provoke a problem as far as my support is concerned.

And Timberwolf at 20:06 - bit superficial, no? Of course I know what you're getting at. But surely there are rather more important issues, views, policies and ambitions for the future of this country out there on which a voting decision should more sensibly be based.

But, Mike Hanlon, the Conservatives don't have any policies. And if we don't know the truth about Cameron and drugtaking, how can we risk having him as Prime Minister?

I am still waiting for Cameron to answer questions about drug taking.

I'm still not convinced that this won't return to bite Cardhouse on the bum exactly when he's not expecting it.

When Cameron was standing for election a friend who used to be a leading member of FCS was phoned out of the blue by a sunday paper offering cash for information. He had none because Cameron was never in the FCS or the YCs. Had it been otherwise he'd willingly have spilled any available beans.

It is Cameron's great good fortune to have become active in the party only in his mid-twenties. Basically nobody who was on the rather rowdy Tory youth scene a few years back knows anything about him.

But as the election approaches the press will up the ante, and even cossetted members of the Old Etonian circle aren't exempt from the old truism that money talks.

Amusing to see Jack Stone lecturing Tory Loyalist on the standards demanded by his council.
As evidenced, his council seems to be utterly accommodating of miserable spelling and shaky grammar.

That leaves Campbell as the only Leader worth supporting.

Posted by: TimberWolf | January 04, 2007 at 20:06

To be reduced to that sorry state is indeed an indictment............then again I can only vote for my incumbent constituency MP who is excellent............it must be so inconvenient for you maintaining houses in Witney, Sedgfield, N E Fife, and Kircaldy just in the hope you can vote for a Party Leader.

Then again if you are a groupie it is something you are driven to

TomTom - You can support someone in various ways even if unable to vote for them.

TomTom (1816)'
Are you a bone headed Tory who supports going to war at the drop of a hat? Did you support Suez? The Iraq war was illegal and did not have the support of the world community. It was all too apparent that it would be relatively easy to win and topple Saddam, but what next? A Pakistani friend who worked in Iraq for years was able to forecast precisely what has happened and no doubt the Foreign Office came to the same conclusion. Even the Conservative Party must have had advisers who realised what would happen.
But TomTom and his mates still think it was right to go to war and teach Johnny Foreigner a lesson!
The Conservative Party should be condemned to sit on the Opposition Benches as it slowly fades away.

Here's a handy brief explanation by metaphor of why lack of popular consent means we can't now achieve our aims in Iraq:


For anyone seriously interested in what's going on (and going wrong) in this new era of international chaos, I think 'Defence & the National Interest' is an invaluable site:


Now that Tory Loyalist as exhaussted every possible critisim of David Cameron up pops the drug issue again. Talk about scraping the barrel. Tory Loyalist is nothing more than the unacceptable face of politcs!

Timberwolf at 20:38 - the party has so far expressed a wide range of policy ideas based on solid and continuing Conservative principles.

Surely you don't expect a full-on manifesto with exactly defined policies right now, possibly years from an election. Other parties would just nick them, or at least have much more time than is sensible to give them to undermine them.

I'm far more interested in Cameron's ideas for the future of the country than whether he's ever experienced drugs. So many people have these days that it's pretty peripheral anyway.

It's not as if he has lied about anything - I agree that would of course undermine trust in him as a potential PM.

Mike Hanlon @ 11.27 - The Party has expressed policy ideas which they are not committed to, but which are designed to build up support. So we read in the newspapers that the Conservatives will for example substantially increase the threshold for Inheritance Tax - that should bring in votes - without any policy commitment to do so.
So they have no policies and a Leader who will not deny taking drugs - and taking drugs is not peripheral to many people.

TimberWolf at 11:50 - what is a 'policy commitment', as far as you're concerned? Isn't it always the case that hard and fast policies never come until much nearer election time? And at this point in the cycle ideas are floated that may well end up as policy, depending on the reaction? I think you have unreasonable expectations.

Seems to me it's just the similarity between Cameron and Blair's personal style, rather than principles, that for some is exacerbating this perception of 'no policies' or adherence to some kind of Blairism.

Mike Hanlon - If a General Election is held this year will people vote for an Emperor with no clothes? They are more likely to vote for the emperor penguin, which has orange-yellow patches on the neck!

TimberWolf - if a general election were to be held there would undoubtedly be a manifesto and solid policies. Do you imagine the party - any party - would enter an election without one?

The key point is an election has been unlikely since Cameron took over, is unlikely this year, outside chance next year depending on how Gordie is received, but most likely is two years away yet.

That why I think expecting hard and fast policies right now - certainly before now - is unreasonable.

I like some of what I hear from the party - like the thing on inheritance tax you mentioned, and the environment stuff. I don't like other stuff like the prospect of going soft on the EU and ditching the anti-CFP policy.

I could never support a party that would tolerate something as undemocratic as the current 1950s-style EU continuing to harm our continent, rather than pursuing much-needed new, more flexible, more democratic and much cheaper structures for European co-operation.

But I see no problem in principle with a party putting around ideas and fishing for positive reactions - ie. for ideas that will gain them support. You seem to regard that process very negatively, but to me that is democracy at work.

Now is the time for us to lobby for what we like, and protest about what we don't like - before policies are set out in full.

Condemning Cameron so vociferously when, as you yourself complain, nothing is set in stone seems a bizarre response to me.

Are you a bone headed Tory who supports going to war at the drop of a hat? Did you support Suez? The Iraq war was illegal and did not have the support of the world community.

No doubt you feel better now you have emptied your bowels.

I could not support Suez since I was not here. You I take it favoured Nasser stealing the Suez Canal after Eden had thoughtfully reduced the garrison against public sentiment in England a year or two before

The Second World War was illegal. Chamberlain was supposed to ask the League of Nations for permission to declare war on Germany. The whole appeasement policy had been in line with the League Charter - but Britain could not go to war without permission of The League.

I notice you omitted Kosovo. I was very much opposed to this War conducted without UN approval; and in violation of the 1975 Helsinki Treaty; and the bombing of a European capital - the first time since 1945; and the first time Belgrade had been bombed since the Nazis did so in 1941.

The whole of the Kosovo farce was rigged by the KLA and Madeleine Halfbright and Germany............which wanted to destroy Yugoslavia to get its protectorate Croatia into the EU.

That was a truly illegal war in the sense you mean - but the BBC and Clare Short and the EU were all for it even though China and Russia were allied to Serbia. The West even allowed Iran to fly weapons into Kosovo and sent mujadin to train the KLA gangsters.

As for Iraq.............the sanctions were being busted by France and Russia (and it appears Siemen and German companies). It was sanctions against Italy over Absyssina that destroyed The League of Nations................the UN was created by the British and Americans - and it appeared Saddam helped by France, Russia and China was going to destroy its credibility

But TomTom and his mates still think it was right to go to war and teach Johnny Foreigner a lesson!

How droll. You in contrast favour the Lloyd George approach of being excluded from the wartime Cabinet because of his desire to capitualate to Hitler.

The LibDems have a sad track record in national politics of being a bunch of Peaceniks and Refuseniks incapable of appearing coherent once three of them sit in the same room.

Until they chose Menzies Campbell the Liberals had always produced Leaders who were superior to its members, but now they have one just as decrepit and weak-monded as the rest of the travelling circus

"Are you a bone headed Tory who supports going to war at the drop of a hat? Did you support Suez? The Iraq war was illegal and did not have the support of the world community."

Good to see the small l liberals are as simple minded and dangerous in the UK as they are over here.

An illegal war? By what standard of commonly recognized law. By that I mean something to which the United States the UK and Australia are signatories?

In fact, all three nations were still at war with Iraq, had been since 91, and Iraq had violated multiple provisions of the cease fire that ended the First Gulf War? What happens when a losing nation violates a ceasefire?

And what has been the result of this glorious war? A fragmented country, countless thousands killed, and not even the oil that Bush was after.

Think if Bush was after oil it'd have been rather easier for him to just buy it. Or is Iraq the only purveyor?

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