Monday, April 18, 2016

More matter with less art

Paul Flynn MP says, "on Thursday last, 14th April, the Commons was treated to the best speech made in this Parliament.

"An unrivalled authoritative source as a soldier and a politician, Adam Holloway revealed the truth on the shared conspiracy that led 634 UK soldiers to the deaths and left 2,000 others to survive, maimed in mind or body."

The three paragraphs below are the meat in the sandwich as far as I am concerned.
From what I have seen on the ground since I became an MP in 2005—in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and last week in Syria with my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden—I believe that the full panoply of the Government machine has become dysfunctional in four overlapping parts. First, we have suffered from having a narrowly focused class of professional politicians who understand politics, not leadership, and who have almost no understanding of the complexities or realities on the ground. Secondly, we have ambitious civil servants who know that careers advance by staying close to what the rest of the group think. Thirdly, we have military officers with a civil service mindset who have also learned that the right answer is “we can do it” rather than “we can’t do it without…”. Finally, we have experts who are ignored or marginalised.
No experts were present at President Bush’s Prairie Chapel ranch when Prime Minister Blair agreed to support a US-led invasion of Iraq. Of course, Prime Minister Blair was determined to uphold the US-UK alliance, but he does not seem to have made even the slightest attempt to stop his friend President Bush from driving us drunk into Iraq. Back home, we needed to find reasons to go into Iraq, and we created the infamous dossier in a sort of late-night essay crisis. So late into ​the night did they work in Downing Street that they managed to read the bit from the top-secret, single-source report about missiles but failed to read the “analyst’s comment” section of the CX. They failed to see the comment that there was no way in which the missiles referred to could still be in the hands of Saddam Hussein.
Most of the public, as well as many people in Parliament, were in good faith convinced by the Prime Minister. Later, we convinced ourselves that we were in Afghanistan to “fight them over there” so that we did not have to “fight them over here”. Several years ago, after I had given a presentation to an immensely senior person in a previous Government, he asked me, “Adam, are you really saying that the Taliban are not a threat to the UK?” That revealed a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between the Taliban and al-Qaeda; it almost beggared belief. That difference between a local xenophobic tribal traditional movement and a death cult was not, and is still not, understood.
I recommend you read the whole thing at

I must try and pay attention to this Holloway fella, bearing in mind I blogged my bafflement over afghanistan only eight days ago (Icons passim).

Update: might be a good place to start.

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