Magazine article The Spectator

Fantasy and Fiction in Iraq

Magazine article The Spectator

Fantasy and Fiction in Iraq

Article excerpt

From Correlli Barnett Sir: Your leading article (21 October) and James Forsyth's piece ('Iran could tear the Tories to pieces') both describe General Sir Richard Dannatt's statements in his interview in the Daily Mail and in subsequent meetings with the media as an 'outburst' -- and even, in Forsyth's case, 'an ill-considered outburst'. This is an absurdly dismissive description of a carefully pondered operational assessment of the Anglo-American dilemma in Iraq by a very cool-headed Chief of the General Staff.

Your description is in fact positively Blairite in its attempt to deal with a formidable argument by diminishing its author.

The general's authoritative statement has done no more than corroborate what those of us not in Blairite denial have plainly recognised -- that the situation in Iraq is getting nowhere politically while worsening militarily. The problem with our cross-party political elite (and that includes commentators like yourself and Mr Forsyth) is that in regard to Iraq they deal in fantasies and fictions. Thus they talk of a democratically elected government, or a 'young democracy', when the reality is of a cobbled-together ragbag of politicians whose writ barely extends beyond the Green Zone. …

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