Maggie Goes Wobbly


And Tina Brown—yes, she's still alive—gets an actual, real-life scoop! Even if it's an annoyingly presented, Woodwardian second-hand quote, presented as the verbatim truth:

The former chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, Lord Palumbo, who lunched with Mrs. T six months ago, told me recently what she said when he asked her if, given the intelligence at the time, she would have made the decision to invade Iraq. "I was a scientist before I was a politician, Peter," she told him carefully. "And as a scientist I know you need facts, evidence and proof—and then you check, recheck and check again. The fact was that there were no facts, there was no evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the most serious decision you can take is to commit your armed services to war from which they may not return."

Love that "carefully." The Independent (UK) follows up:

Lady Thatcher's office did not dispute her reported remarks but said she had been—and remained—in full support of the decision to oust Saddam by military means, which she always believed would be the only way to remove him. Aides said she wished that had been achieved by the first Gulf War, prompted by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, which took place shortly after she was forced to resign as Prime Minister after losing the confidence of her cabinet.

In the National Post way back in March 2003, I explored the historical revisionism of the "Finish the Job" coalition, and the far-stronger public backing for Gulf War II than I. I will now violate the second rule of Fight Club by quoting myself:

Despite a UN mandate, 33 coalition partners (including Syria and Saudi Arabia), and a clear-cut rationale, domestic support for Gulf War I paled in comparison to its sequel. Four days before hostilities, the U.S. Senate approved military force by the razor-thin margin of 52-47, compared with the 77-23 vote in favour of Gulf War II last fall. Public opinion polls in 1990-91 showed deep ambivalence toward the conflict and a desire to maximize diplomacy, followed by a last-minute spike of two-thirds support; the same pattern held in 2002-03, only higher.