March 30, 2003

Robin Cook to Cheney, Rummy

Robin Cook to Cheney, Rummy and Wolfy--I Wish You Were "Embedded"

Robin Cook, fresh from leaving Blair's government, isn't staying quiet.

"We were told that the local population would welcome their invaders as liberators. Paul Wolfowitz, No.2 at the Pentagon, promised that our tanks would be greeted "with an explosion of joy and relief". Personally I would like to volunteer Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz to be "embedded"alongside the journalists with the forward units.That would give them a chance to hear what the troops fighting for every bridge over the Euphrates think about their promises."

Later, however, Cook clarified his position and says he wants the coalition to "see the job through."

Cook resigned with some dignity. I agree that a protracted seige, which Cook suggests is the new strategy for taking Baghdad without any corroboration, would be a public relations disaster (though better than increasingly aggressive bombardments that lead to more destroyed marketplaces and the like) . But Cook isn't privy to the strategy that will be employed to take Baghdad. And this war isn't even two weeks old. So why this piece, now?

It appears, all in all, that Cook was simply emoting in the pages of the Mirror. Like him, we all want the troops out as quickly as possible, this war ended swiftly, few civilian deaths. But as even Cook admits, there is no question of now retreating and leaving Saddam in power. Better to focus our collective thinking on the least messy ways forward to secure victory and begin the mammoth task of creating a viable, integrated, democratic Iraqi polity. Cook doesn't help us, at all, on that score. Which is one of the many reasons that Cook would never prove to be a threat to Blair as leader of the Labour party.

Posted by Gregory at March 30, 2003 08:36 PM
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