December 10, 2001
Actually Said It
British ruling classes put you and me at risk in their quest for
was David Blunkett, the British Home Secretary, who said it. When
about secret service information he opined "that information
tells us that because of our alliance quite rightly with the
United States and because of our vulnerability we are at risk".
Now hang on a minute, weren't we fighting "shoulder to shoulder"
with America because it was in our national interest? This is an
important point. The whole thrust of our involvement in the Afghanistan
adventure has been to make us safer from attack. Now I may be a
bear of little brain, but how exactly does an increased risk of
attack make us safer?
for those with short memories, I will recap what our leaders have
told us about this threat. Iain
Duncan Smith, the opposition leader, claimed that the Afghan
adventure "is about ensuring that in a few years' time we are
not faced with a much greater threat to our way of life".
Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, enthused
to Parliament "we will act because for the protection of
our people ... we need to eliminate the threat Bin Laden and his
terrorism represent." Fairly clear? And the foreign secretary,
Jack Straw, claimed
"in these four weeks the world has become a very much safer
place and Afghanistan a very much happier place." However David
Blunkett, in a moment of exasperation, has unwound this, or has
some things may be said about what was said. For Tony Blair there
is nothing that can be said in his mitigation, he lied to Parliament.
The fact that Parliament is foolish, or more likely craven, enough
to swallow the idea that by allying with America we would somehow
make ourselves safer says as much about Parliament as it does
about Blair. Iain Duncan Smith has a get-out clause, as he is talking
longer term than the next month although surely any un-addressed
revolutionary impulse will be undisturbed in the long term. It is
Jack Straw's claim that shows how little our elite care for our
interests. There is a mention of world safety and Afghan happiness,
but nothing about British security. It is so true when it is said
that the British Foreign office is there for the interests of foreigners.
course, the idea that our participation in this adventure would
improve our security is farcical. The case could be made that the
Afghan adventure would improve America's security, America was already
a primary target. It could further be argued that a prompt and open
disengagement from Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia would serve America's
interest as poorly as her perpetual presence in the Middle East.
The smoke screen for disengagement may be to pulverise the most
active terrorist conspiracy and fry its leader. Nevertheless, none
of this answers the question of why it is in Britain's interests.
short answer is that it is not in Britain's interest to be involved.
Britain was not a primary target, no matter what is said by the
sophists who point at the British passport holders killed in the
World Trade Centre, neither is she particularly associated with
the causes that the Islamicists oppose. Britain, as the Home Secretary
finally admits, has been made a target by its government. What does
the government have to gain from this? Tony Blair can get an ovation
in Congress and his foreign secretary can go around the Middle East
acting as America's ambassador. I am sure it is a boost to the ego,
but what about the public that they are meant to serve? Well, the
increased risk of anthrax in the water supply or chemical weapons
on the London Underground. Was it really worth that?