LibLink … Nick Clegg: Crying wolf in 2003 destroyed all trust in Britain’s leaders

In today’s Telegraph, Nick Clegg writes about the opening of the Chilcot inquiry into the invasion of Iraq, and launches a broadside against Labour’s botched foreign policy, and calls on the Prime Minister – who as Chancellor signed the cheques for the Iraq war – to apologise for his part in the devastation that has unfolded. Here’s an excerpt:

The opening of the inquiry into the Iraq war reminded me that one of the greatest tragedies of Labour’s foreign policy is that they focused on Iraq, not Afghanistan. They focused on winning the argument for an unjustified war, instead of winning a justified war.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will be brought before the Iraq inquiry to explain their support for the invasion of Iraq. But, with our troops still fighting in Afghanistan, they must also explain why they committed us to a second war when they hadn’t even worked out how to win the first. We are still paying the price for their obsession with Iraq and their neglect of the war in Afghanistan. …

The price of delay in Afghanistan has been huge. We now need a complete change of strategy, which we still hope President Obama will announce next week. But even then, the chances of success are limited because the country has fallen so far. Just imagine how different it would be if the police and military training and economic aid we are delivering was going into a stable society with a government people could trust. Just imagine how many fewer of our brave soldiers would have died. …

The Iraq war inquiry offers the chance for us to examine again, and come to terms with, the fact that the people of Britain were deceived by our government. No event in recent history has done more to destroy public confidence in the government, in its justifications for war or in its ability to assess threats to Britain’s safety. … An apology from the Prime Minister for his part in the Iraq fiasco, signing the cheques for this illegal war, would help begin that process of healing. For the sake of our troops in Afghanistan, I urge him to make one.

You can read Nick’s article in full here.

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