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Iraq Invasion: Why Did No One Raise An Eyebrow? - by Denis MacShane

The whole world agrees that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, in the words of Napoleon’s secret police chief, Fouchet, was worse than a crime – it was a mistake.

The oddest consequence was that, having seen the failure of Iraq, the British state went and made exactly the same blunder in Libya.

In the latter case, the UK government followed France’s lead. Nicolas Sarkozy is not George W. Bush, more a Napoleon III than the original.

Either way, twice in less than a decade, a British prime minister tucked in behind a dubious ally and joined in the destruction of a Middle East state, with disastrous consequences.

Both Iraq and Libya were led by evil dictators, but when you destroy a state, the gates to hell are opened.

You reap the fruits of what you have sown: No economy, no law, no army, no police, no judges, no frontiers, no local administration.

Plus, a war of all against all ensues, as every citizen either grabs the first Kalashnikov for self-defense or simply seeks to get out in the tsunami of refugees from or through the destroyed state.

But why didn’t a single FCO insider, other than a junior lawyer who to her eternal honor resigned in protest, raise any questions?

Unlike Suez in 1956 — when senior Foreign Office hands wore black ties in protest at Eden’s folly — there was no sense even in the months after the invasion that it was a disaster.

Every political generation wants to not repeat the errors of the team they succeed in office.

In the 1990s, the main foreign policy charge against the John Major government was that it was weak and failed to stand up to the human rights abuses associated with Milosevic in Sarajevo, Srebrenica and Kosovo.

In addition, British diplomats at the UN were accused of failing to stop a genocide in Rwanda or the mass murders in Somalia and Sudan.

The concept of the “Right to Intervene” or the “Responsibility to Protect” or the need for an International Criminal Court to deal with the Milosevics and Saddams of the world was developed by intellectuals like Michael Ignatieff or Bernard-Henri Levy.

Their ideas were promoted by human rights political activists like Bernard Kouchner and human rights lawyers like Geoffrey Robertson and Philippe Sands in London.

Read more: Iraq Invasion: Why Did No One Raise An Eyebrow? - The Globalis

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