Why the Iraq war is…

Why the Iraq war is increasing terrorism

From former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook comes this extraordinary missive:

The invasion of Iraq was Britain’s biggest foreign policy mistake since Suez.

A fitting way to mark the anniversary would be to drive a stake through the doctrine of pre-emptive strike.

Cook eloquently explains why the Iraq debacle has increased, not decreased, the chances of terrorism, as Bush and Blair stupidly fell into a trap. Read the whole thing, then circulate it widely. (From a Cape Town newspaper reprint from The Independent.)

“The new Bush doctrine claimed the right to make war on any country that could be a potential threat. Iraq has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that intelligence cannot provide evidence reliable enough to justify war on such a speculative basis.

A year later ministers do not justify our presence in Iraq by the hunt for those elusive weapons of mass destruction, but by the need, as the prime minister put it last week, to be “steadfast against terrorism”. Yet the conversion of Iraq into an extended battlefield between the West and al-Qaeda is a measure of the failure of our policy, not a justification for invasion.

The Islamic fundamentalists regarded Saddam with as much hostility as anyone else, and he reciprocated by keeping them out of Iraq. It was our occupation that gave al-Qaeda the motivation to target Iraq and the incompetence of our plans after Saddam that offered them the open door through which they entered it.

The invasion of Iraq has made the world more vulnerable to a heightened threat from al-Qaeda, which is precisely what our intelligence agencies warned the government about on the eve of war.

Our own experience in Northern Ireland has demonstrated that the only way to diminish the threat from terrorism is to isolate the terrorists and deny them any sympathy from their own public.

The British tried bombing the IRA into submission. It didn’t work. As with al-Qaida, the IRA gained strength and support from these attacks, which many viewed as atrocities committed by an occupying army. And IRA members are now part of the government. However his point is valid, that intelligent tactics and strategy, not carpet-bombing, is the only way to defuse terrorists.

The invasion of Iraq has handed the terrorists a whole new weapon to deploy on the Arab street. The great irony is that invading Iraq is precisely what al-Qaeda wanted us to do, because it served their agenda of polarising the West and the Islamic world. As George Soros has observed, “We have fallen into a trap”.

On this first anniversary it seems only too likely that the judgment of history may be that the invasion of Iraq has been the biggest blunder in British foreign and security policy in the half century since Suez.”

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