Having looked over a Telegraph article that repeats the Butler Report’s damning assessment of the manipulation of pre-war intelligence and includes the public remarks of the former deputy chief of MI6, who said that Britain was “dragged into a war in Iraq which was always against out better judgment,” David Frum concludes that the only noteworthy thing to take away from the story is that Mr. Inkster made one passing negative comment on the current administration. The Telegraph article also included this item, which has significance for the U.S. response to the war in Georgia:
When it came to the conflict between Russia and Georgia last summer, he added, Britain was caught “completely flat footed” and used a strategy that “amounted to little more than moral indignation, which is not a strategy.”
Of course they were caught completely flat-footed, just as Washington was, and it was obvious that none of the Western governments that railed against the Russians’ moves had a strategy worth mentioning. I should think this would be one area where most everyone could agree regardless of views about the conflict. Meanwhile, instead of reflecting on or even pushing back against any of the important parts of the article that harm the pro-war case, Frum is reduced to Glenn Reynolds-like linkage without any comment.
Inkster’s remarks will hardly come as news to those of us on the antiwar side who have followed British commentary and public opinion since 2002. It was clear enough that Britain was being dragged into the war against its interests and against the resistance of a significant part of the governing party and the foreign policy establishment and a huge part of the electorate. Like most of the states in so-called “New Europe,” the government threw its support behind the war in defiance of what the British people wanted, which serves as a reminder of how thin and weak overseas support for the invasion really was.