Why are our politicians and leaders so frightened of offending radical Muslims? The latest of the great and good in charge of us to show their true colours is Baroness Manningham-Buller, former MI5 chief, god help us.
In her testimony to the Chilcot enquiry on the War in Iraq she said the decision to remove Saddam Hussein led to an upsurge in terrorist activity in Britain, as though that was a reason to change our policy. No matter that the Americans, with a little bit of help from us, removed a foul, violent dictator who had caused mayhem in the Middle East, invading Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia, paid rewards to suicide bombers and was a source of mortal danger to the West. No matter that Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on his own people, and his removal gave the people of Iraq the chance to build their own version of a liberal democracy.
Manningham-Buller suggested that because a few bearded Neanderthals in Britain objected, we shouldn’t have undertaken this action in Iraq. Wouldn’t a more mature and wise MI5 leader have thought that the reaction of these uncivilised people who hate Britain and its great traditions would only be noticeable to the extent that their cause was put down and they were removed from our country?
And surely you remember the violence that ensued in Iraq after Saddam’s removal. Wasn’t that an affront to the civilised world, and a reason for Muslims to be ashamed that such cowardly barbarism – indiscriminate suicide bombing aimed at women and children and whoever was unlucky enough to be in their way – could be undertaken in the name of Islam?
“Our involvement in Iraq radicalised, for want of a better word, a whole generation of young people – not a whole generation, a few among a generation – who saw our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as being an attack on Islam,” Manningham-Buller said.
What weasel words. How could an action to remove a murderous dictator who had enslaved his people for years, be an attack on Islam?
We should not have acted, she is saying, because a few mentally unbalanced zealots used this as an excuse for terrorism. The British and the Americans were on the side of civilised factions in Iraq who were victims of this outrageous mayhem.
“Arguably we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad so that he was able to move into Iraq in a way that he was not before,” she said.
Manningham-Buller also revealed that MI5 refused to provide evidence for the Government’s now-infamous dossier on Saddam’s military capability because it doubted the credibility of the information.
“We were asked to put in some low-grade, small intelligence to it and we refused because we didn’t think it was reliable,” she said.
I suppose that shows some backbone though.
She said the intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction – most of which came from the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6 – used to justify the invasion had been “fragmentary” and did not justify the weight placed upon it.
But surely even she knows that as far as the Americans were concerned, regime change was the raison d’etre for the action. It was only the dopey Labour party that needed to hear this garbage about WMD to justify their vote for the action.
“If you are going to go to war, you need a pretty high threshold, it seems to me, to decide on that and I think there is very few who would argue that the intelligence was not substantial enough on which to make that decision,” she said, as though she had never heard any American justification of the action.
One final thought on Afghanistan before I’m through. The government, both of Gordon Brown and David Cameron, said that action there was necessary to keep the streets of Britain safe. Has anyone out there heard of any attempt to put flesh on this argument? Just how does this keep Britain safe?