Parliament must be allowed to debate the troops issue

Share

The United States talks up an impending attack and raises the bombing rate on Fallujah. The insurgents respond with one of the most devastating bombs so far around Baghdad, this time on the headquarters of the Iraqi national guard. The civilian losses in all these attacks rise to several hundred in the past week alone. And into this maelstrom the US is now inviting British troops.

The United States talks up an impending attack and raises the bombing rate on Fallujah. The insurgents respond with one of the most devastating bombs so far around Baghdad, this time on the headquarters of the Iraqi national guard. The civilian losses in all these attacks rise to several hundred in the past week alone. And into this maelstrom the US is now inviting British troops.

To pretend that the escalating pace of violence in Iraq has nothing to do with the timing of the US election would be as idle as to pretend that all is going according to plan in the occupied country. Yet, this is the line pursued by the Defence Secretary, Geoffrey Hoon, in the House of Commons on Monday and by the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, yesterday.

This is merely a military matter, they say, which will be decided by the advice of the soldiers on the ground, after a reconnoitring of the ground today. This is arrant nonsense. Whether or not the request for British troops to plug the US line as it prepares for an all-out assault on Fallujah is a subtle plot to entangle the British in President Bush's electoral campaign may be debatable. What is almost indisputable is that the build-up to the Fallujah attack is part of the US election debate and that any troops Britain may send to the US zone cannot be kept clear of those politics.

What is even more deceitful is for the Government to pretend that it has not already made the decision. On that matter at least, the hapless Hoon let the cat out of the bag on Monday when he replied to the question of whether we could refuse the US request: "We will have failed in our duty as an ally if we refuse the Americans." In which case, why this pretence of independent military advice?

And why not also come clean and give the Commons a chance to discuss just what is the US-led strategy for suppressing dissent in Iraq and securing it for elections and when we hope to get out thereafter. Not for the first time in this war, the Government has relied on evasion and dissembling to avoid open discussion of its plans and the options behind them. As we now enter a new and more violent phase, Parliament must not allow the Prime Minister to get away with it again.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement