A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Known knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns etc

This is probably a sure-fire way to make myself political toast with Labour colleagues but I actually feel rather sorry for Donald Rumsfeld and find the gloating at his resignation distasteful.


1) Well for a start off his strategy in Iraq was our Labour government's too so if he's such a bad/wrong person so are we - or at least everyone of us that supported the government line.

2) If you are going to have Republicans in power (and I'd rather we were now 6 years into an Al Gore Presidency) I would rather they were idealistic ones that believed in spreading democracy to the Middle East than Kissinger/Nixon style cynics practicising real-politik and focussed just on national self-interest rather than some higher ideological ends.

3) He's the fall guy for his boss in the White House who in a European political system would be the one resigning after these elections.

4) He actually did the traditional job of Defense Secretary very well - overseeing two stunning military victories in Afganistan and Iraq in a matter of weeks - what he is being blamed for is the subsequent failiure to rebuild Iraq and of the US armed forces to peacekeep - neither of which traditionally were or should be core US military functions.

My hunch is history will say Rumsfeld made all of us a lot safer by destroying the Taliban/al-Qaeda base in Afghanistan and removing Saddam from power so he wasn't around to refresh his WMD arsenal and marry it with N Korean missile technology.

There are a lot of Afghans and Iraqis (particularly Kurds and Shiites) who have a lot to thank him for.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Luke it wasn't our Labour government's strategy.

We did the right thing for the right reasons.

Bush and Rumsfeld did the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Our motivation was to make the world a better place. Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney did it for greed and national self-interest.

I am still pro the Atlantic alliance, despite the actions of these nasty foolish men who have done more to damage American and British interests than all who have gone before.

11:20 pm, November 08, 2006

Blogger Owen said...


Why don't you just give up the pretence, tear up your Labour party card and join the far Right of the US Republican party?

The fact I am in the same party as a neo-con disgusts me, to say the least.

Be gone!


12:13 am, November 09, 2006

Blogger Benjamin said...

Having read a quite a few pro-war liberal responses on the subject of Iraq, I can see a pattern emerging amongst those who still cling to their position.

They say that the central cause of the fiasco is pure incompetance by Rumsfeld and co, and (rather self servingly) say thay can still hold their heads up high because the "motives" (at least theirs) were good. I regards these arguments as specious, deluded and self serving.

5:38 am, November 09, 2006

Blogger Liam Murray said...

And re: the quote you're referencing in the post title - I seem to recall in the middle of all the stick Rumsfeld took over that he was actually commended by some organisation like the 'Plain English Society' (and genuinely commended not ironically)who pointed out that the phrase actually made complete sense and was a very well articulated explanation of the difficulties in handling intelligence.

By then of course the story had already been picked up, chewed over and spat out by those who didn't have the intellect to follow him.

Happy for a multitude of labels to be thrown Rumsfelds way but 'stupid' is one that will never stick...

6:00 am, November 09, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Stuart, I think we will have to agree to differ on their motives. I am far more worried by the guy from the a grassroots conservative organisation in the US who was on Newsnight last night saying he was glad the neocons were in retreat because "American soldiers and money should not be used to bring democratic municipal elections to the suburbs of Baghdad".

"Harry", the point about the neocons was that the thinkers behind it were not by background rightwing Republicans - they were anti-Communist Democrats like Henry Jackson who were horrified by Democrat grassroots opposition to the Vietnam War and believed their liberal values were universal and should be exported.

9:55 am, November 09, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld is not a neo-con, he - like Cheney - is a brutalist.

They thought the most important thing after 9/11 was to project American power in dramatic ways to deter future attacks.

Unlike the Neo-cons they were never interested in national-building or exporting Liberal values, which is why they undermined the effort in Iraq.

For them the most important thing is that American military power is seen as unchallengeable, and, most crucially, that America is willing to use it even in cruel ways.

Shed no tears for Rumsfeld.

12:59 pm, November 09, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anti-communism was handled in quite a different way to Iraq, and where it was handled in a similar way... well, would you call Vietnam a success for anticommunists?

Vive containment. Vive Marshall aid.

And by the way, you were wrong to support the government line, because the line was wrong. I can't believe that you prefer to stand up for Donald Rumsfeld and the ideology of the republicans against our Democratic siblings. If the Democrats had intervened, there probably would have been far less bloodshed, and accordingly, I probably would have backed it at the time.

But instead all we got was 'kill em all' idiots calling the shots.

A fantastic motivation to embrace democracy, I'm sure.

1:02 pm, November 09, 2006

Blogger Shamik Das said...

Typical bollocks from Harry. He's pissed off with Rumsfeld bacause he got rid of his best mate and put his neck in a noose ...

Oh well, never mind Harry, there are plenty more dictators you can jump into bed with. How about a march to keep Ahamdinejad in power, or maybe a box of chocolates for your new hero Kim Jong Il???

7:46 pm, November 09, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sham, I can't speak for Harry but I'm pissed off with Rumsfled because his policies have made an absolute dogs dinner of reconstruction in Iraq, thereby costing thousands of lives.

Your attack on Harry is about as infantile as Harry's attack on Luke. Maybe the problem with today's Labour party is we're all to busy slagging each other off on blogs...

3:52 pm, November 10, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes me sick that people like you are in the Labour party. Yur grasp of reality is so perverse and out of touch with vast majority of this countries sentiments on the Iraq War. Have you ever travelled to teh Middle East or spoken to an Iraqi? No one in the anti-war movement will shed a tear for Saddam Hussein, whatever his fate. Many people opposing the Bush/Blair wars today campaigned against Saddam's tyrannical regime in the 1980s, when he was supported by both the US and British governments, who sold him chemicals for his weapons of mass destruction, and defended him at the very time he was committing the atrocities for which he has now been sentenced. Whatever the justice of the Baghdad court's verdict, the reality of who controls Iraq's judicial system is all too obvious from its timing, coming just two days before the US congressional elections, with George Bush's Republican party apparently facing a collapse in its support. This is due largely to the disastrous war in Iraq, with only 8% of Americans now supporting Bush's policy of "staying the course". (SEE http://tinyurl.com/yzvo5y) But the reaction of George Bush, Tony Blair and their partners in war crimes to Saddam's conviction is nauseating. As writer Robert Fisk says, "Have ever justice and hypocrisy been so obscenely joined?" Fisk describes "the hell-disaster we that we have inflicted upon Iraq": "Death is now visited upon even more Iraqis than Saddam was able to inflict on his Shias and Kurds and - yes, in Fallujah of all places - his Sunnis, too. So we cannot even claim moral superiority. For if Saddam's immorality and wickedness are to be the yardstick against which all our iniquities are judged, what does that say about us? We only sexually abused prisoners and killed a few of them and murdered some suspects and carried out a few rapes and illegally invaded a country which cost Iraq a mere 600,000 lives ("more or less", as George Bush Jnr said when he claimed the figure to be only 30,000). Saddam was much worse. We can't be put on trial. We can't be hanged." (SEE http://tinyurl.com/y3cuek) Saddam's death sentence will not be a decisive moment in Iraq, any more than all the other "milestones" that George Bush has announced in the last three years. Whether Saddam is hanged or not, the carnage in Iraq will continue, because it is foreign occupation which is causing death rates among Iraqis to run at higher levels now than at any time since the illegal invasion in March 2003. (For the latest statistics, SEE: http://tinyurl.com/eg5gn) There is only one solution to the mass slaughter and destruction which has turned Iraq into hell on earth. All occupation troops must leave now so that Iraqis can decide for themselves how they want to be governed and control their own resources.

11:54 pm, November 10, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

akehurst, get a life you freak.

11:58 pm, November 10, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you really are a dick .. i wish you would fuck off out of hackney with all your other middles class mates .. like the americans are bringing civilization to afghanistan you are bringing civilization to hackney .. arn't we the lucky ones .. pissoff and leave us alone ..

p.s. are readers aware of pipe/ake/carswel/nich's plan to brick over green space in a load of hackney estates? .. pricks

5:52 pm, November 11, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Ho hum. Exactly the temperate, balanced reaction I expected. For the person that asked if I had travelled to the Middle East - yes, to Israel on a Labour Friends of Israel study tour, during which I also went to Ramallah to meet Palestinian politicians.

The utter crassness of the anti-war left is summed up by the comment "There is only one solution to the mass slaughter and destruction which has turned Iraq into hell on earth. All occupation troops must leave now so that Iraqis can decide for themselves how they want to be governed and control their own resources."

The Iraqis already did elect a government which has asked the US and UK forces to stay. They are there under a UN mandate. Their departure would probably cause a civil war where the current daily toll of car bombings would be replaced by wholesale ethnic cleansing.

There is a legitimate criticism of Rumsfeld et al articulated by John McCain - that the Iraqi army should not have been disbanded and that the US should have put 500,000 troops in to keep the peace, not 150,000.

7:27 pm, November 11, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, I am anti-war, but the fact that the movement is dominated by SWPers and Marxists, who like to conflate totally seperate issues fir their own political ends makes me sick. I was proud to march against Iraq, but how can I ever be proud to march with people who endorse terrorism, the outright murder of working class people in Israel, and indeed in Iraq.

Being antiwar means opposing the war: not ignoring it when it is waged against Israel or the US, or indeed a country's own population.

Opposing the war should not be about opposing 'the west', or calling for the slaughter of it's populace in 'resistance'. It shoud be about sticking up for the people who suffer most from wars like this, ie. everyday Iraqis. The antiwar movment has been complacent, and criminally negligent. Indeed, thee days it basically is the SWP, in political terms.

Broad front my peacenik bum.

people left of centre should be supporting the spread of comparitive (if you adhere to marxism) democracy with peace, and realise that the two are mutually dependant; something that most blairites and the SWP seem unable to accept.

PS. Anyone else get the feeling that a lot of these comments are coming from just 1 source? How about a mature debate people?

9:19 pm, November 11, 2006

Blogger Owen said...


You hilariously unstable Blairite. You are a stuck record. I suggest that you simply create a computer program (if you haven't already done so) which repetitively denounces George Galloway and accuses people of being stooges of Saddam Hussein. After all, this is the only contribution you ever make.

You are fully aware that I denounced the murderous Saddam Hussein in the harshest possible terms on my blog. Of course, that's an irrelevance as far as you're concerned - because if an individual doesn't support the American-led destruction of Iraq, then they may as well be a member of the Ba'athist party so far as you're concerned.

Go away, you thick, demented McCarthyite tosser.

10:52 pm, November 12, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think your name says it all... I'm sure your views go down a bomb with most of your peers, all of them crying with such passion at Mr Blair's "emotional" last conference speech (not), really understanding how Blair is "with the kids", "listens to our concerns", that everyone who does not agree with him is a "traitor"... or if brown takes power, will you slit your wrists, or perhaps you'll adore him equally? Is loyalty above principles? Does the majority of the country support Saddam or Love george Galloway because they are against the war? Are you such a Blairite Schism because of some major insecurity in your perosnality? Frankly.. are you sane?

2:01 am, November 13, 2006

Blogger Shamik Das said...

"Harry", if that really is your name,

I'm going nowhere, you gormless, yellow-bellied coward.

So you "denounced the murderous Saddam Hussein in the harshest possible terms" on your blog ... Well done! Congratulations!!! I'm sure his victims will be delighted that you've finally seen the light.

Pity you weren't denouncing him in 2003, instead of marching to keep him in power.

He's on the end of a rope thanks to Bush and Blair. Fact. And instead of congratulating them, what do you and your Commie pals do? Bleat on about "miscarriagies of justice" and "unfair trials". Pathetic.

You carry on believing that supporting Galloway and opposing the war equates to supporting democracy and opposing Saddam if you want.

Then ask yourself this: Who's the real insane, insecure and demented tosser?

4:16 pm, November 13, 2006

Blogger Owen said...


Two words:

"No platform"

See ya!

7:41 pm, November 13, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to see you've lost your sense of humour. Sham is a satire - the whole point is that he's attempting to caricature the most obnoxious Blairite possible. I thought that was pretty obvious, I'm sorry that people have taken him seriously! I don't want to be rude Harry, but I'd argue that he's done more to discredit Blairism than you have!


9:18 pm, November 13, 2006

Blogger Shamik Das said...

You reckon? On the contrary, the reason Harry's got his knickers in a twist is 'cos the far Left have totally discredited themselves!

Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling, ...

12:00 am, November 14, 2006


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