Thursday, 7 July 2016

ConservativeHome: Chilcot is a warning against irresponsible intervention, not a commandment never to intervene ever again

ConservativeHome: Chilcot is a warning against irresponsible intervention, not a commandment never to intervene ever again

by Mark Wallace


"Chilcot did his job, but I confess I’m worried about the consequences. His report is a justification for those who argued intervention in Iraq was unwise and unmanageable, but it will also be used as a justification by those who argue every intervention, anywhere, ever, is a bad idea.

The two groups overlap but aren’t identical. Anyone who thinks Jeremy Corbyn opposed Iraq because of the specific circumstances has missed the fact he spent his career arguing against any measures against anyone whom he felt to be an “anti-imperialist”, which translates into honest English as anti-American. He is the proverbial stopped clock – just because he turned out to be right on Iraq should not disguise the fact he was horribly wrong many other times, such as in his opposition to action in Kosovo.

In the flood of Chilcot reporting, that fact is in danger of being missed. The report should teach us to be more sceptical, more cautious, more questioning and more insistent on proper consideration of – and preparation for – the consequences of intervention abroad. It should not be treated as a graven tablet instructing us never to try to help anyone, anywhere, ever again. We must choose whether we think Iraq is a lesson about the quality of an intervention, or about the wisdom of all intervention."

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