Magazine article The Spectator

The Neocons' Iraqi 'Vision'

Magazine article The Spectator

The Neocons' Iraqi 'Vision'

Article excerpt

From Correlli Barnett Sir: Surely Con Coughlin ('A bittersweet birthday', 18 March) is in error when he states that it was only after the fall of Saddam that Washington adopted the neocon vision whereby Iraq should be 'a beacon of democracy that would shed its light throughout the tired autocracies of the Arab world'. Surely Bush and co. came into office in January 2001 having already bought the idea of 'the American century', and having already committed themselves to a mission to spread democracy round the world, starting with the Middle East, and with Iraq as the first target. This is attested by Christopher Meyer's memoirs, Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack and even William Shawcross's book Allies. There can be no question but that the Iraq war originated in this neocon vision and mission.

And can Mr Coughlin really believe that the US and UK resorted to the most drastic step of all in foreign policy -- war -- merely because Saddam was in technical breach of some dusty old UN Security Council resolutions? In that case, what about the other UN security resolutions calling on Israel to evacuate the West Bank, and just as much ignored?

Of course, there is the famous SC1441 of November 2002, claimed by London and Washington as justifying an attack on Iraq even without a second resolution specifically authorising armed action. In fact, SC1441 did not so justify an attack, because in that case the French, Russians and Germans would never have agreed to it. SC1441 was specifically drafted as a compromise which all could sign. …

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