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29 September 2010

Ed was right to say the war was wrong

Labour's old guard are mad if they still think Iraq was the right thing to do.

By Anthony Barnett

Are the British media mad, in the profound sense of having so lost their grip on reality they think they are right and the entire rest of the world is out of step?

At the beginning of September I published an essay on the New Statesman website explaining that David Miliband’s admission that the Iraq war was a mistake in fact reproduced the deceits behind the decision to invade, and that in effect he still supported the strategic catastrophe Barack Obama eloquently predicted before the war took place. I was more right than I realised. He really does still support the decision.

All Ed did was say that it was clearly wrong. He stated the obvious. This should be the headline.

The British military agree, the whole of Washington agrees, Europe and the Middle East agree, Al-Qaeda agrees that it did them the world of good. No intelligent analyst still thinks it was a wise, well-calculated decision. The public marched against the invasion and proved to be wiser and more far-sighted.

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But still a rump of Labour’s old guard and the lump of the BBC, the Murdoch press and Tory cheerleaders stick to the line that it was an honourable decision. John le Carre said that America was mad at the time. They are still mad. I’m sorry, but if it makes David furious it is because he is furious with himself.

Anthony Barnett is co-founder of openDemocracy and co-edits its British blog, OurKingdom.