Thursday, March 03, 2005

Mark Steyn has a way of cutting to the chase that is simultaneously eloquent and funny.

As for me, I got a lot of things wrong these last three years, but, looking at events in the Middle East this last week, I’m glad that, unlike the Nionist [Not In Our Name-ist] Entity, I got the big stuff right. On 8 May 2003, a couple of weeks after the fall of Saddam, I wrote in the Speccie’s then sister paper the Jerusalem Post:

‘You don’t invade Iraq in order to invade everywhere else, you invade Iraq so you don’t have to invade everywhere else.’

And so it’s turned out.

Some of the reasons for starting the remaking of the Middle East in Iraq were obvious within a day or two of 11 September. As I said back then, by his sheer survival, Saddam Hussein had become a symbol of America’s lack of will. As long as he was around, the message to Gaddafi, Arafat, Assad, Mubarak, the House of Saud and the rest of the gang was that we were still in a 10 September world. But the other reasons for starting in Iraq weren’t all so clear. After the liberation, the doom-mongers dusted down the old Bumper Boys’ Book of the British Empire and rattled off a zillion pseudo-authoritative backgrounders beginning, ‘Iraq was a new country cobbled together from several former Ottoman provinces, its lines drawn by the Europeans.’ That was Mark Mazower in the Independent. You get the cut of his jib: phony state, the slapdash creation of the Colonial Office, you can never make it work.


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