The view from planet Phillips

Take a look at this — a post from Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips’s Diary…

Wars are often characterised by mistakes in analysis and strategy. This one can be won — provided the President now understands the strategic and operational errors that have been made, and puts them right. Putting more troops into Iraq will not be enough unless the Iranian regime is taken out. Clearly, this is not a great prospect. But it is a prospect which as time goes on will become even less palatable as it becomes ever more unavoidable. The longer it is left, the more difficult it will be. We are now in a world where the only calculation to be made is between rocks and hard places. There are no good options. The only sane course of action is the least worst option.

There will be scant support for this, it goes without saying, from the British media which remains largely on a different planet. Thus Anatole Kaletsky in the Times thinks war with Iran would be

…a disaster on [sic] the Middle East, beside which the war in Iraq would be a mere sideshow… What now seems to be in preparation at the White House, with the usual unquestioning support from Downing Street, is a Middle Eastern equivalent of the Second World War. The trigger for this all-embracing war would be the formation of a previously unthinkable alliance between America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain, to confront Iran and the rise of the power of Shia Islam…

The fact that the ‘Middle Eastern equivalent of the Second World War’ has already been declared and is being waged upon the west does not seem to occur to him. No, the war-crazy villains of the piece are ‘trigger-happy’ Israeli ‘hotheads’ who are ‘hell-bent’ on stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Yes, these are actually the terms he uses. Clearly, on planet Kaletsky it is those who seek to protect their country from the nuclear genocide that is being openly prepared for it — of which he makes no mention whatever — who are to be blamed for ‘trigger-happy’ aggression rather than those who are planning such a holocaust. No mention, either, of the fact that Iran has directly threatened America, has for years attacked America and in Iraq is currently waging war on America, which all might be thought to constitute a somewhat overdue reason for a response by America. But no, it’s those wretched Jews again. What moral and intellectual sickness is this?

Alas, it is the default position in British media and political circles. It is also rampant in the US, but there at least there is now an argument going on. On the outcome of that argument the course of this war — and the fate of the free world — now depends.

So now you know. Andrew Brown thinks that this is the way Dubya thinks.

Hmmm… Suppose he’s right. There is a strange, rather weary, liberal consensus (to which I subscribe) about what’s happened in Iraq, namely that the failure of the neocon project in that benighted land is so manifestly obvious that it’s inconceivable that the US Administration doesn’t now see it that way. (After all, the result of the mid-term elections suggests that the majority of American voters have come round to the view that the whole adventure has been either a mistake or a catastrophe.) In that sense, the report of the Iraq Study Group seemed to us to be just a statement of the obvious.

But it’s just possible that Bush & Co don’t see it like that at all. Maybe they see the difficulties in Iraq as a symptom of not applying enough force? Or of not applying it to the right points — e.g. Iran? Maybe they are seriously thinking of a strike against Iran?

Excuse me while I go and lie down in a darkened room.