Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Blogosphere In '09

By Cernig

The Conservative party in the UK has always been against the war in Iraq, mainly because it was something done on the opposition Labour Party's watch and they are, at the moment, the majority party of opposition. It's how the party system in a democracy is supposed to work.

Bolstered by criticism of the way the occupation has been run, coming from senior recently-retired British generals, they've called for an enquiry.
The Tories have joined criticism of American policy in post-war Iraq and renewed their calls for a full-scale inquiry into the conduct of the conflict and its aftermath.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said attacks on US strategy from former British generals strengthened the case for such a probe.

But Downing Street insisted there had already been three "pretty exhaustive" inquiries into the war and consideration of lessons to be learned should wait until after British troops had withdrawn.

Mr Hague told Sky News Sunday with Adam Boulton: "We do think there have been many mistakes made. We would like to see a full-scale inquiry. I think some of the comments from one or two of the retired generals very much do strengthen the case for that and we want to see a full report when it gets back on Iraq,"

He said of post-war American policy: "I think many of the judgments they came to were wrong. They clearly underestimated the number of troops that would be needed for an effective occupation force. Very crucial mistakes have been made. Understanding those and making sure they are not repeated in the future is one of the reasons we have to have that inquiry."

Major General Tim Cross, the most senior UK officer involved in the post-war planning, said that Washington's policy had been "fatally flawed".

He also insisted he had raised serious concerns about the possibility of the country sliding into chaos with Donald Rumsfeld - but the then-US defence secretary "dismissed" the warnings.

Gen Cross's comments, in an interview with the Sunday Mirror, emerged after the former head of the Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, branded the American approach "intellectually bankrupt".

Sir Mike, who was in charge at the time of the 2003 invasion, also singled out Mr Rumsfeld for criticism, saying his claim that US forces "don't do nation-building" was "nonsensical".

A Downing Street spokesman said there had already been three inquiries into the Iraq war which had been "pretty exhaustive". He said the Prime Minister had already acknowledged there were lessons to be learned, but that should wait until the military phase of the campaign was over.
It is, to me, highly reminiscent of congressional hearings by Democrats in the US into various aspects of the Bush Years, all of which have been decried as political posturing in U.S. conservative circles.

I'm posting this because I want to make one contentious point.

If the invasion of Iraq had been begun by a hawkish Democrat, for instance Hillary Clinton, in the Oval Office - then I believe the current of political punditry would be essentially a mirror image of what it is now. Most US Republican politicians, pundits and bloggers would be implaccably opposed to the occupation and be screaming about withdrawal and incompetence. When you're in opposition you oppose. Likewise, there would be a fair few Democrat politicians, pundits and bloggers who would be backing their president like good little cheerleaders.

Here at Newshoggers we've a different viewpoint. We see our role as being critics where criticism is needed. Given that we expect a Democratic candidate to win the '08 election, that's going to put us in a weird position by '09. We fully expect to be arguing with many of our friends from the progressive side of the blogosphere then, just as we argue with conservatives now. We may well find ourselves with some new friends among moderate conservatives. We won't stint to call a Dem White House out when it does something we think needs critical attention. That's a promise. We've already shown we will criticize the Democrat-controlled Congress when we think it needs it. I'm hoping there will be more than a few among those who are currently tarred as "kneejerk Dems" who will be joining us.

So if you're a blogger, conservative or progressive, what do you think you'll be doing come '09 if Hillary (say) is saying we need a few more years in Iraq, should increase air strikes on Iran, need to renew the Patriot Act or must continue monopolistic privatization of intelligence and healthcare?

No comments: