Leading article: A dire intervention

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The Independent Online

In one sense, the comments by Jack Straw this week that the situation in Iraq is "dire" are unremarkable. Anyone glancing at the news dispatches from Baghdad would come to the same conclusion. It is also true, as Mr Straw has pointed out, that the Bush administration's failure to devise an adequate post- invasion plan in Iraq led to the appalling bloodshed now taking place in that country.

What is remarkable is that Mr Straw speaks as if he were merely an honest observer to the foreign policy catastrophe that Iraq has become, when in fact he was Britain's Foreign Secretary at the time this folly was taking place. For the five years in which Mr Straw held this position, he did not utter one word of caution on Iraq or dissent from the Government's position.

This shameless attempt by Mr Straw (as he seeks the deputy leadership of his party) to disassociate himself from the consequences of an invasion he helped bring about will not wash.