About me
Bookshop

Get new posts by email.

About me

The Chatham House report

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

Chatham House has published a report (PDF) whose conclusion is, in a nutshell…

There is no doubt that the situation over Iraq has imposed particular difficulties for the UK, and for the wider coalition against terrorism… The UK is at particular risk because it is the closest ally of the United States.

Jack Straw and Tony Blair, who have published precisely zero reports into this, are absolutely convinced that Chatham House is wrong:

“I’m astonished that Chatham House is now saying that we should not have stood shoulder to shoulder with our long-standing allies in the United States,” Mr Straw told reporters before chairing an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

“The time for excuses for terrorism is over,” he said. “The terrorists have struck across the world, in countries allied with the United States, backing the war in Iraq and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq.”

Of course, he’s very helpfully misrepresnted the contents of the report, which does not say that the UK should not have supported the USA, and also does not say that if we had not done so, there would be no terrorist attacks. The report merely suggests that antagonising terror cells increases the chance of a terror attack occuring. Which, logic says, it does.

Whilst terror cells are quite happy to attack many places in the Western world in order to make their voices heard, they are doubtlessly going to expend greater efforts attacking the countries which most greatly represent the ideology which they wish to attack. And if this country is attacking Muslims around the world, logic follows that we’re going to be somewhere near the top of the list. If we weren’t attacking them, we’d probably be a little lower down.

It’s also interesting to see today that Charles Clarke has decided that his ‘crucial’ new terror laws, which he claims are necessary to secure the country and help prevent further attacks like those in London, are now to be introduced only in December, because our hard-working MPs need a summer holiday, and really can’t be expected to stay back for an extra couple of weeks. If Charles Clarke continues to say that these laws are so ‘crucial’ after the summer, then I hope someone will point out to him that his own government have delayed their introduction twice – once by calling an early General Eleciton, and once by refusing a summer recall – and so they really can’t be that important.

As serious a story as this is, I think there’s room for a little humour. The Times provides this for us, with possibly the most ridiculous heading for a newspaper graphic so far this year: ‘Tentacles of Terror‘. Whoever said The Times was becoming more tabloidesque?

In all seriousness, Mr Blair and his government must begin to accept that their foreign policy has an impact at home as well as abroad. Until they do this, the country will be in much greater danger than is truly necessary.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Recently published posts




Random posts from the archive




Comments and responses

Comment from JTC


    20.33, 18/07/2005

The front of todays daily mail says that the report directly links the London bombings with the Iraq war!! they’ve been on all the newschannels now denying it!!!!


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


    20.35, 18/07/2005

The denials are probably as a result of the fact that the report doesn’t directly connect the two – it merely says that the actions of the British Army abroad increase the threat of terrorism. I’m not entirely sure from your comment whether you thought the report did or didn’t connect them…




Compose a new comment

I'm not taking comments on my blog any more, so I'm afraid the opportunity to add to this discussion has passed.




The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. Information about cookies and the handling of emails submitted for the 'new posts by email' service can be found in the privacy policy. This site uses affiliate links: if you buy something via a link on this site, I might get a small percentage in commission. Here's hoping.