December 12, 2006

'War on Terror' = 'Bunch of Inept Scuffles'

John Hawkins springboards off a story 'Brits Afraid To Use The Phrase, "War On Terror"' to conclude that:

the Brits of old are fading away and being replaced with people who have more in common with Spain or Italy than they do with their cousins across the pond. That's part of the reason that I think our "special relationship" with the Brits probably won't last much longer than Tony Blair's time in office.

I'll springboard off that with my British reply :

1. John Hawkins' understanding of the UK is probably based on filtered news. When PC stuff happens it's mocked and exposed and there's a strong British cadre in the war party, eg Melanie Phillips, Christopher Hitchens and Mark Steyn (I don't care about his passport, he's British).
2. The BBC and much of the bureaucracy IS screwed. Things can change fast though with the right leadership. Blair did a fine job on Iraq, but that policy stood outside a coherent conservative philosophy. Contrast Thatcher.
3. It IS amazing to me how feeble are voters and parties in the US and the UK. All 3 big parties in the UK are essentially anti-Bush in the most jejune way.

At bottom it's down to leadership within a credible philosophy. Bush, whom I much admire as a man, isn't credible on immigration or spending. Blair, Brown, Cameron (Conservative leader, the most pathetic creep of a politician I've come across) aren't credible as conservatives or patriots. But remember that when forceful leadership took us into Iraq, both electorates responded patriotically. The enthusiasm evaporated because the the post invasion policies ignored the regional context and were weak. Eg Syria and Iran needed terrorizing and al-Sadr needed killing. The Iraq conflict was successfully portrayed as a bunch of inept scuffles preceding an exit without honour. Bush and Blair needed to make it a war to the death with Islamofascism, fought like we mean it. WWII could never have been prosecuted as just a fight for Norwegian ports or Polish freedom.

The risible Insiders' Surrender Group report may provoke a rethink whether the 'War on Terror' is a war against an enemy who wants to kill/enslave us or a local operation in Iraq.

Melanie Phillips :

The ISG report, and his reaction to it, has now ruptured .. consensus management. The big question now is whether Bush has the capacity to follow through, to rise above his warring advisers and follow his moral instincts — to emerge from being a weak chief executive to become a world leader and statesman. In the dying fall of his presidency, does he have the wherewithal to go for broke? On this lonely and frail figure the fate of the free world now depends.

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Bonnabel Wood