Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | May 12, 2003

Bad Week for UK in Iraq

In response to the US/UK proposed UN resolution on Iraq (among other provocations), Clare Short has resigned as UK Secretary for International Development.

"... this resolution undermines all the commitments I have made in the House and elsewhere ..."
Short had threatened resignation earlier over the decision to wage war, but stuck with Blair on grounds of loyalty.

Further consternation arises in that Short's replacement (The Baroness Amos)has been appointed from the House of Lords, and thus will not be regularly available for questioning in Commons.

Tam Dalyell, Father of the House of Commons, raised questions today over the lack of care in custody of intelligence documents. (Dalyell is hiimself under fire for remarks regarding "Jewish influence" on UK foreign policy.)

Questions are also being raised in Commons over WMD's, legality of the conquest and its formative sequels, failure to restore basic services, Halliburton and Bechtel contracts (Foreign Secy. Jack Straw opines that these are legal in that they will be paid from US taxpayer funds, not Iraqi oil revenues), and lack of transparency in the Blair government's own decision-making process.

Update1: The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) fielded a number of sticky questions this morning. ("Asked if the Prime Minister and Ms Short had discussed these issues prior ... the PMOS said no but ...")

From Short's BBC interview:

... the prime minister, he was saying - oh, but the UN has a role - but I mean, I think that's fudge around words.

... I stayed for honourable reasons. I cannot do the job the Prime Minister asked me to do. ... everyone should unite now to help the people of Iraq ... the UK is failing to use its influence to do that.

Still looking for full transcript of Short's very tough speech to Commons, tabbing Blair a control freak. From BBC analysis: "There is always a point in a powerful leader's reign when they start the downward slide."

Update2: In comments on another thread, marquer summarizes the Stakeknife matter thusly: "Brits have had a mole ... inside the IRA's internal security unit ... However, that also required the mole to abduct and torture and kill people ... some of them innocent."

The Guardian reviews Short's jaw=dropping speech in Commons.

Profile of Guyana-born Baroness Amos.

Update3: The full text of Short's resignation speech. Excerpt:

... Under the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907 the coalition has clear responsibilities and clear limits to its authority. ... UK should and could and have respected the Attorney General's advice and told the US that this was a red line for us ...

I am ashamed that the UK Government has agreed the resolution that has been tabled in New York and shocked by the secrecy and lack of consultation with departments with direct responsibility for the issues referred to in the resolution. I am afraid that this resolution undermines all the commitments I have in the House and elsewhere about how the reconstruction of Iraq will be organised. Clearly this makes my position impossible and I have no alternative but to resign ...

Expertise in our system lies in departments. Those who dictate from the centre do not have full access to this expertise and they do not consult. This leads to bad policy. ...

Short's resignation was expected, her earlier waffle reduced its impact, and her weight alone is not enough to undo Tony Blair's government. There is, however, an aroma of dead woodchuck in the vicintiy of No. 10 Downing Street.
RonK, Seattle

Posted May 12, 2003 09:09 AM | Comments (52)


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