How sick are you of hand wringing Labour cabinet ministers appearing before the Chilcott Enquiry and saying, um, well, we really weren't happy at the time, but, well, um? Clare Short is the worst and most annoying example so far, but Jack Straw doesn't come out of it covered in glory either. Geoff Hoon feared that the Army wouldn't be able to cope.

I'm probably more annoyed with Clare Short than anyone else. I thought better of her than to say this on 10 March but to capitulate to Blair's wishes a week later on the eve of the Parliamentary debate. I'll tell you what, there's no way I'd have sat around in the Cabinet if I felt that the leadership were going to do something wrong and reckless, especially if they'd made the decision in the derisory and dismissive way Clare Short described. You wouldn't think from the way she spoke today that her decision to back the war helped reinforce the Government's position.

There had already been one resignation from the Cabinet - Robin Cook was prepared to put his principles into action. One of two more would have seriously undermined the case for war.

Of course, as Alistair Carmichael pointed out, Blair was aided and abetted by Iain Duncan Smith's Tories who voted virtually unquestioningly for the war, even though now they're pretending that they were critical all along. This is the same IDS who's so out of step with Tory thinking that he's being touted for a job in a David Cameron cabinet.

All in all, I'm just fed up of people who should have known better at the time trying to extricate themselves from any blame for the consequences of their actions. Clare Short needs to wake up to her collusion in a war that killed 179 of our soldiers and heaven knows how many Iraqi civilians, that made us less safe, and reduced our standing in the world.



February 2010

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