Menzies Campbell surpassed himself on the Today programme this morning. John Humphrys broke with tradition and gave him a couple of critical questions on Iraq.
Humphrys: But we can’t cut and run because we’re losing soldiers, can we?
Campbell: … I think you have to be careful, if I may say so, about words like ‘cut and run’, because they are incredibly emotive. … It’s four years since the military action ceased, and in that time we have committed a lot of money, we’ve committed a lot of fine young men and women and we’ve lost more than 140 of them. There is a point at which we can no longer justify that degree of commitment.
Humphrys: But surely that point is not when the country is in the kind of chaos it is in.
Campbell: Well, just examine the logic of that proposition. Does that mean that so long as there is any threat or anxiety about disorder then we will continue to stay there?
Humphrys: You could argue yes, if it was our – I emphasise if it was our responsibility, what is happening there now, then yes we should stay. You could argue that, and it is argued.
Campbell: Well, I accepted, although I was someone wholly opposed to this, I accepted a moral obligation. But that moral obligation can’t be open-ended. And we have a moral obligation to our own young men and women.
There is an argument sometimes made that the US/UK presence in Iraq is doing more harm than good – that our troops’ presence serves to inspire sectarian violence and prevent a political accommodation based on the domestic balance of power.
But Campbell isn’t making that argument. He’s not urging withdrawal based on a judgement of what’s in the best interests of Iraqis. He’s saying that even though we did take on a moral responsibility for the security of Iraq, now that the going has got tough, we should do the expedient thing and quit.
Waste of space.