BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Not Blair

Nick Robinson | 18:00 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

This is not Iraq. Nothing like it. I am not Blair. Nothing like him.

That was the central message running through a politically adept and remarkably assured Commons performance by the prime minister.

His performance was low key rather than impassioned. It came in a debate which will end with a proper vote (rather than the vote on the Iraq war which ended with a more technical parliamentary voting procedure). It followed the publication of legal advice.

The key to it, though, was David Cameron's invitation to a series of potential critics to ask him questions and raise their doubts. Whether they were left-wing Labour MPs, the leaders of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, or backbench Tory sceptics, he told them that they had made a very important point and sought to reassure them. It took all the potential heat from the occasion.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

He stressed that this was not his war but one to enforce the will of the UN. Its aims were limited to enforcing a no-fly zone and protecting civilians. It would not involve "knocking down" the government of Libya, nor occupying their nation. This seemed to settle nerves in the Commons for now about possible mission creep. Even his long term critic Dennis Skinner declared himself satisfied that the objective was not regime change and would not involve an invasion.

The result was not just widespread parliamentary consensus but a sense that everything had been said before the leader of the opposition stood up. Ed Miliband also made a powerful speech but the cruelty of opposition is that few will notice.

Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband speaking in the House of Commons

PS: What, though, of the confusion about whether Gaddafi can be targeted? Here's my understanding.

Yes, he can be, providing that ministers could show that it was "necessary" - in the words of the UN resolution - to protect civilians.

General Richards misspoke this morning when he said it was illegal. However he was trying to reassure those with concerns that the objective of the military action was regime change - to stick in line with the US military and to avoid undermining support at the UN, in the Arab world and, indeed, in Libya itself.

Gaddafi is not currently being targeted as it would be politically counter-productive to do so. But that could change and ministers want to keep him guessing.

This is what David Cameron said this afternoon: "Targets must be fully consistent with the UN Security Council resolution. We, therefore, choose our targets to stop attacks on civilians and to implement the no-fly zone but we should not give a running commentary on targeting and I don't propose to say any more on the subject than that."

He also said: "The UN resolution is limited in its scope. It explicitly does not provide legal authority for action to bring about Gaddafi's removal from power by military means."

PS Thanks to the colleague who pointed out that my post gave the impression that the vote on the Iraq was a vote on the adjournment. It was - like today - a substantive motion. The conflict in Afghanistan began controversially without what many MPs regarded as a proper vote.


Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Nick Robinson.

    "This is not Iraq. Nothing like it."

    true, the 'intervention' in Libya is even more cynical and callous than Iraq.


    "I am not Blair. Nothing like him."

    again, probably true; I have not been able to detect spray tan on Mr Cameron's face.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes, Ed Miliband was particularly good, I thought. A class act.

  • Comment number 3.

    So Parliament is going to vote on action that’s already started & happening as we speak?

    Cart before the horse springs to mind.
    “Proper vote” hey Nick...Mmm.

  • Comment number 4.

    2. S

    Well that's two of us who noticed.

  • Comment number 5.

    We'll see about that!

  • Comment number 6.

    So we are saying: "The UN resolution is limited in its scope. It explicitly does not provide legal authority for action to bring about Gaddafi's removal from power by military means."

    And we are saying: "Gaddafi can be (legally) 'taken out', providing we can show that doing so is necessary to protect civilians."

    Thus, applying the boring but traditional rules of verbal reasoning, we're saying that our armed forces killing him - Colonel Gaddafi - does NOT constitute his 'removal from power by military means'.

    I like it!

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes a proper debate and vote; no words of mass deception and no corrupt views on legality but if Gaddafi why not Mugabe and so on.

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree - this is nothing like Iraq.

    Iraq had stated aims: chuck Sadam out of power, allow WMD inspections, install a government elected by the people. It was a disaster for years on end. There was no WMD. It took too long and too many lives. But at least they had some idea of what they were trying to achieve.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that Lord Snooty has absolutely no idea of what the goal is in Libya.

  • Comment number 9.

    It isn't Iraq - it is Kosovo.

    However, depending upon how the defence spending uproar plays out, it may still serve as a khaki-election style boost for ailing coalition fortunes.

    I don't remotely think it is orchestrated, and I don't actually oppose the action, but it is a great distraction from the BMA's (and Lib Dem) position on the Health Bill, growing tensions over education and the possible split over nuclear power prompted by Japan.

    Looks like Cameron has lucked out... I wonder if Osborne can dodge the bullet too?

  • Comment number 10.

    6. At 18:55pm on 21st Mar 2011, sagamix wrote:
    So we are saying: "The UN resolution is limited in its scope. It explicitly does not provide legal authority for action to bring about Gaddafi's removal from power by military means."
    ======================

    I'm not sure it is explicit on that.

    It says 'all necessary measures' and the only thing it specifically excludes is an 'occupation force'

    The full text is easily available and not all that long (less than one fubar post) if you want to read the exact wording.


  • Comment number 11.

    'Ed Miliband also made a powerful speech but the cruelty of opposition is that few will notice.'

    Ed who ?

  • Comment number 12.

    Ed Milliband? The man who a few days ago was saying that Cameron was doing nothing for the people of Lybia and whose spokes people were saying that a no fly zone would not work; that David Cameron did not know what he was doing.

    Once again Ed the typical opportunist. Perhaps his friend Mr 'Balls it up' will now take credit.

    Ed will always be Ed Who and Ed Was and Ed never did!

  • Comment number 13.

    Nick Robinson.

    "This is not Iraq. Nothing like it."

    Very true. The French were vehemently apposed to the Iraq war but they are in this one up to the hilt. So what is different for the French? Understand that and you will understand why it is different.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    @9 True nothing like a good war to distract public opinion , budget what budget. As for the end game well the French are pretty high profile with this and given their track record I would be highly suspicous of them. Can we also drop this protect civilians guff unless of course all civilians in Libya drive about on tanks armed to the teeth. Regime change and of course OIL thats what this is about.

  • Comment number 16.

    Iraq had stated aims: chuck Sadam out of power.

    Illegal under the UN Charter. Always has been and always will be.

    Allow WMD inspections

    They were still happening, albeit with opposition, but were still taking place.

    Install a government elected by the people.

    A futile aim right from the word go. Installing a demcoracy in a country that has no history of democracy in the space of a few years was always doomed to disaster. Democracy can only come from within, never without. The only system of government that can be installed from without is a dictatorship.

    So what really were the aims?

  • Comment number 17.

    Jon @ 10

    And a tad easier to follow, I'd wager, than a Saunders post. But yes, reading the actual text is a good idea. Hope David Cameron has (despite what Nick quotes him as saying). Sounds like we might be in 'not explicitly allowed but not explicitly excluded' territory; and something not explicitly allowed being different to it being explicitly not allowed. One can do a lot with that.

  • Comment number 18.

    The debate isn't for our benefit. It is for the benefit of those in other countries who are watching us. It is a difficult balance to strike between appearing strong and appearing sensitive to other people's concerns. Cameron is doing a better job than Blair did, but then he has learnt a lot from Blair's mistakes. Whether he has got it right I don't know. The problem is how do you topple the Colonel without appearing to do so?

  • Comment number 19.

    Its all about oil, iraq was about non existent WMD and this is about stopping non existent Genocide. A armed conflict between a government and a armed protestors of the same ethnic and religion group is not a genocide

  • Comment number 20.

    8 jon112dk

    "It is becoming increasingly clear that Lord Snooty has absolutely no idea of what the goal is in Libya."
    =================================

    An interesting point of view, but not one that really withstands any scrutiny. Is that honestly what you think ? The thing is that this is a complex situation, and one can change very quickly - it doesn't come with a book of instructions and who knows where all this is going to end?

    The media frenzy hardly helps matters, where every comment and nuance from anyone is twisted to to fit with scenarios of what might happen. The bottom line is what happens next is very much dependent upon the actions of Gaddafi himself, who hardly gives the impression of he is a trustworthy model of rational thought and tolerant of others. Trying to second guess his actions to arrive at any sensible conclusion is very difficult - we'll just have to see how it all pans out to an extent. In the meantime, you can continue your contribution to the speculation by using the name "Snooty" in your posts.

  • Comment number 21.

    jon112dk@8
    "It is becoming increasingly clear that Lord Snooty has absolutely no idea of what the goal is in Libya"

    And Snitch Milliband and Snatch Balls would do so much better?

  • Comment number 22.

    The vote on Iraq in March 2003 was on a substantive Government motion. I suspect you are confusing it with earlier votes on the principle of military action, which took place on a motion to adjourn the House, usually forced by left-wing Labour MPs.

  • Comment number 23.

    17 sagamix

    "And a tad easier to follow, I'd wager, than a Saunders post. But yes, reading the actual text is a good idea. Hope David Cameron has (despite what Nick quotes him as saying). Sounds like we might be in 'not explicitly allowed but not explicitly excluded' territory; and something not explicitly allowed being different to it being explicitly not allowed. One can do a lot with that."
    ==================================

    Saga, perhap you could go to Libya yourself - explicitly or otherwise - you know, as a sort of "Weapon of Mass Distraction".

  • Comment number 24.

    @18 Ok so we get rid of Gaddafi then what? By all accounts these rebels aren't all the put upon citizenry they claim to be. So as in Iraq we could be in for a protracted period of bloodletting and then they will turn on us as we are almost certain to be in there on the ground despite what Cameron says and as I said earlier given France's recent record they are much to high profile in this. If this is not Iraq then what is it if it is to be the new benchmark can we expect in the coming days to move on to Bahrain ,Syria Yemen ,Ivory Coast to name but a few of the many equally unpleasant regimes worldwide.

  • Comment number 25.

    21 PercyPants

    "And Snitch Milliband and Snatch Balls would do so much better?"
    =========================

    Don't you mean Scratch and Sniff ?

  • Comment number 26.

    robson90 #19.

    "..iraq was about non existent WMD.."

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Iraq/Iraq_dollar_vs_euro.html

  • Comment number 27.

    At 20:04pm on 21st Mar 2011, robson90 wrote:
    Its all about oil, iraq was about non existent WMD and this is about stopping non existent Genocide. A armed conflict between a government and a armed protestors of the same ethnic and religion group is not a genocide

    What are you talking about. I don't think I have seen any mention of genocide from any reputable source in relation to Libya. I have read a lot about a mad man intent on killing anyone that opposes him, but not genocide.

  • Comment number 28.

    Cart before the horse springs to mind.
    “Proper vote” hey Nick...Mmm.

    If the goverment looses the vote it will have to:

    1) hold a no confidence vote
    2) cease the military action
    3) cameron would probably resign

    I think its proper vote!

  • Comment number 29.

    "The thing is that this is a complex situation, and one that can change very quickly - it doesn't come with a book of instructions and who knows where all this is going to end?" - strictly pickled @ 20

    That's quite insightful, Mr P. You should have your own column somewhere or other!

  • Comment number 30.

    "19 - Its all about oil, iraq was about non existent WMD and this is about stopping non existent Genocide. A armed conflict between a government and a armed protestors of the same ethnic and religion group is not a genocide."

    Incorrect. Genocide, under article 2 of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) also includes acts of murder against 'national' groups as well as religious ones.

  • Comment number 31.

    Make no mistake, just like Iraq, IT ALL ABOUT OIL!
    Do you think we'll step in to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to protect those for protesting for democracy? Of course not.....
    its oil...its oil...its oil

  • Comment number 32.

    If Libya is different then Iraq. What about Bahrain? What about Yemen ? etc
    or is dying by Saudi bullets different then dying by Gadaffi bullets ??

  • Comment number 33.

    @13 "Very true. The French were vehemently apposed to the Iraq war but they are in this one up to the hilt. So what is different for the French? Understand that and you will understand why it is different."

    Why, I think you could be TOTAL-ly right.

  • Comment number 34.

    I think that we should arm the rebels rather than sitting on regulating this civil revolt like.... game players, regulating the war so neither side has an upper hand. taking out Gaddafi's troops is not good enough until they are as ill- disciplined as their enemies. don't get me wrong, Gaddafi must go, but the Libyans must not win their war because ' they're older brother knocked the bully down. the Libyans must stand up to their own bullies.'

  • Comment number 35.

    I fear this will end in complete confusion and the so called Western Allies will split assunder very quickly if the USA backs off.

    There are differences with Iraq... rightly or wrongly, interfering on Iraq had public support by some measure...I fear this doesn't.

    Plus there are so many pitfalls to this...does the resoltion expect the protection of all civillians in Libya or just the Anti Ghadaffi Civillians??

    Mark my words this will change the ballance of power in favour of "The Rebel" forces and then the pro ghadaffi Civillians in the West will pay a heavy price...What then? Bomb the Rebel forces??? or what if its just a long grinding stalemate/civil war...."Peace Keeping" force anyone...

    Like everything that this Government has embarked on, there has been to much haste.... and we will be repenting at leisure when we reap what has been sewn here

  • Comment number 36.

    Cameron thinks he has everyone fooled, I have never met such despair from all my Conservative friends as there exists now. Not only is he cutting the country into rececession for ideological reasons but wants to play the International Statesman without having a clue as to what what he is doing and what the effects of his actions are. Exactly like Blair he is driven by self-aggrandisment - pure and simple. When will he wake up to the fact that the electorate are not all the fools he thinks they are - any talk of regime change should be applicable to this country, not Libya.

  • Comment number 37.

    One can only hope that David Cameron has not shared too many cosy conversations with Mrs Thatcher at the Carlton Club?

  • Comment number 38.

    The irony is, for all Cameron's efforts to distance himself from Blair, this was exactly how Blair started. Dayvine hit the nail on the head - this isn't Cameron's Iraq, it's Cameron's Kosovo. What worries me is that if, like Blair, Cameron gets a few early military successes under his belt, he might get carried away and commit us to another invasion without international support which turns out to be harder than we thought.

    Blair's mistake was that he believed all the good things people said about him. Only time will tell if Cameron does the same.

  • Comment number 39.

    #33

    TOTALly true and very sad, why do politicians insist on maintaining this veneer of humanitarian intervention. Does anybody really believe it anymore?

    How many tomahawks were launched in Darfur someone remind me.

    There is nothing we will not do for oil influence it seems, placating a despot and smoothing the way to contracts by releasing a convicted mass murdered...no problem.

    But watch out would be oil ally, if the game changes and it looks like you may no longer be able to secure the precious oil on our behalf we will shoot you in the back at the first available opportunity and claim it is for the good of the people.

    Maybe we are the ones who made gadaffi crazy in the first place, what options does someone like him have in the face of such rank hipocracy dressed as the moral compass of the world no less!!!

    Enough to drive anyone mad.


    Meanwhile back in Bahrain the relative news blackout continues while our oil allies over there do our dirty work to secure the precious oil on our behalf under the sensationalist media umbrella and fireworks in libya.

    Makes me sick to my stomach the whole thing and ashamed.


    What was the war in Iraq about again someone remind me ...oh that was it ..weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a morally corrupt regime.


    hmmmmm.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 31, Byron Jones

    I wouldn't be so quick to belittle Saudi Arabia with regard to oil. They do own more of the stuff than any other nation on the planet...

  • Comment number 41.

    Correct! He's not a luddie bliar!

  • Comment number 42.

    The whole thing is another ill-thought through cock up in the middle east which we shall undoubtedly pay for in blood (mainly other people's of course). A good opportunity for Cameron to show his virility ..... And stupidity. Check the opinion polls - we don't like it at the 'local' level. Time to pull the condom over your eyes, Big Dave!

  • Comment number 43.

    How to gain public support in a low paid dictatorship that just can't get the staff to do what you want without complaining about working conditions with walkout and industrial action on the cards, burning bridges is a way of life in Westminster.

  • Comment number 44.

    The USA are now looking to take a back seat on this matter and hand the lead role over. Thats awfully nice of them to yet again start some thing and have everyone else tidy up the mess. Why are we poking our noses into other countries affairs again, we neither have the stomach or finance to push on with another war.

  • Comment number 45.

    Nautonier from Prev Blog

    Cameron's first war?

    Wrong again Mr Robinson... Cameron's first 'cease-fire'

    ............

    Doh

  • Comment number 46.

    Ps. It's hardly ever a good idea to fight someone else's war for them. Better for the Lybians to do it themselves.

  • Comment number 47.

    I heard Ed Miliband in the Commons today responding to the PM's statement describe Qadhafi as "evil". Excuse me, Mr Ed. What did you think as Tony Blair - your former leader and my former PM - kiss Qadhafi on the cheeks, and have tea in his tent? Did you think then, as of now, that Qadhafi was "evil"? Yea, sure you did. I am sick to bloody death of our hypocrisy in handling the Middle East. The PM is apparently proud of the fact the Arab League is on board for this operation. Yet obviously he hasn't chosen to actually look at the Arab League and who comprises it: nearly every one one of those states could be argued to be just as BAD as Qadhafi. They'd all be quite happy to turn their guns on their own civilians, just as Yemen and Bahrain are doing. None of them is a true representitive democracy. Nice allies, Prime Minister. And incidentally, if this stupid operation is so legit why does it need credibility in the form of Arab support, at all?

    I would suggest the PM chooses his friends in the Arab world a bit more carefully, but frankly seeing that they're all as bad as each other, there is little to choose from.

  • Comment number 48.

    NICK

    No it isn'i Iraq. It isn't Egypt either, where EGYPTIAN public will forced Mubarak out.

    Is there any evidence the sovereign will of the LIBYAN people is to get Gadaffi out?

    I doubt it-if it's like anything, it's like Biafra or Chechnia; an armed uprising likely to lead to a bloody civil war, whichever side eventually prevails.

    For earlier posters, France is involved in this because it's one of their ex-colonies & that's one reason we got involved in Iraq-spheres of influence & all that rubbish.

    Frankly, this whole thing is a knee-jerk reaction from people who really haven't given the consequences a moment's thought-but that's what politicians are for!

  • Comment number 49.

    Clearly it is despicable if a country turns the military on its civilians. But why is it our problem? I thought we had no money. Why not leave it to Belgium, or Greece, or Brazil or Canada or someone else to take the lead, why our small and apparantely poor island? Also is there not a bullying element to all of this, in that Libya can't really fight back, or retaliate. If East Germany, for example, rose up and Germany mobilised its army against them would we be so keen to raise military action? And what if Libya start to kill civilians by more subtle on the ground means, will we then invade with ground troops? And then there is Indonesia, Zimbabwe, China, Saudi, other parts of Africa, where do we draw the line, what happened to sovereignty which presumably extends to the right to oppress ones own people? When will we learn that sticking our size tens into other peoples affairs ends in tears, this is true at a personal level as it is at a diplomatic and international level. Defending oneself against the likes of Hitler is one thing, becoming a moral barometer and bombing other states is another. And if the so called rebels prevail are we going to be happy dealing with the new leader? Didn't the USA support the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan when the USSR got its fingers burnt, and then find the Mujahadeen were in fact pretty evil in their own right, the repurcussions we are still dealing with. Libya call the "rebels" Al Qaeda supporters, is this true? Sometimes I think our leaders just believe they are born to lead and their decisions are driven by divine arrogance and not divine intellect, they want their place in history but I fear history will not view them very favourably when hindsight becomes that history.

  • Comment number 50.

    As usual, those accusing the UN and "the West" of hypocrisy in getting involved in Libya, are probably the same who decried those same players for FAILING to do exactly the same thing in Rwanda, Palestine/Gaza and Zimbabwe.

    Either ALL interventions are wrong or All can be justified.

    Can't have your cake and eat it too!

  • Comment number 51.

    There's that Nick Robinson on TV on the news at the moment. Fancy that!

    Right hand waving about like a windmill, left stuck down his trouser pocket.

    Now it's Obama, doing the same. Except his hands are the other way round.

    I wonder if that's symbolic. Or ironic? Hard to tell these days.

  • Comment number 52.

    CNS @ 38

    Yes, that's exactly what may have happened with Tony Blair. Still, at least we don't have a Bush Cheney ethic in the White House; I can't easily imagine David Cameron, even if this works out and puffs him up, doing much military stuff on his own. There's also the fact that public opinion here in the UK, post Iraq/Afghanistan and at a time of economic crisis, is unlikely to be supportive of our armed forces getting heavily involved in a whole series of torrid overseas engagements.

  • Comment number 53.

    Good to see decisions being taken in the correct way, through cabinet and the UN rather than the Iraq Labour years. See Mr Milliband has now finally decided that a no fly zone is right.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm not Blair , no your more stupid , David.

    What, Gadiffi is going to give up ? because you bombed is radar stations ?

    At best Libya , will end up being partitioned , at worse you will create an open sore for a decade.

    Don't bank on your fellow politicians , when things get tough they will drop you like a stone, that is what politicians are trained for - being politicians.
    It's up to Libya to sort out its own internal power structure , not the West..

  • Comment number 55.

    NICK

    Forgot to mention the name of the only likely winner in this:

    Osama Bin Laden

    Looks like our PM & Szarosky may turn out to be as equally good as Al Qieda recruiting sergeants as Tony Blair.

  • Comment number 56.

    Saga@52

    Ironically this is Blair's legacy - more accountability to Parliament and a legal mandate as opposed to Iraq.

    Putting politics aside, I think by and large Parliament rose to the occasion today - good to see Denis Skinner can still bark if not bite.

  • Comment number 57.

    PS Where is all the money coming from.

    Estimated cost is approx £10 million a day for this no flight farce. So that's £30 million so far . That's enough for 1000 nurses pay for a year...

    I thought we were skint. Plenty of cash for bombing third parties but not enough for old peoples homes and disabled day care centres. The double standards of Cameron is beyond believe...

  • Comment number 58.

    #36
    big jim 1 has got it right. in camerons case he has had greatness thrust upon him.
    but will he be able to deal with the cards he has been dealt. first their was the bankers recession and now libya,the first one, kid gloves for the bankers and hard tack for joe bloggs.the second who knows,where the money will come from maybe
    we could sell a spare battle ship being built on the clyde.
    for

  • Comment number 59.

    #20 Strictly Pickled
    If it doesn't come with a book of instructions, then why don't we mind our own business and let the Libyan people sort it out amongst themselves? Have we learned nothing from the awful foreign policy of the previous regime? Just consider that Ghadaffi hangs on to power. What shall we do then? Try to re-establish a relationship? And even if he doesn't, who is to say that the next lot are not going to be just as bad? After all, we supported Saddam and Bin Laden in the past. Our judgement track record is poor. We would be far better served keeping our noses out and then make friends with whoever wins.

  • Comment number 60.

    50**

    Get you hands in your pocket and start writing the cheques , because I know 95% of the UK population would rather the money was spent here , than given to arms manufactures. RR and BAE shares both up today , should be increased divs for the shareholders this year !!

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    52. sagamix:
    CNS @ 38
    'Yes, that's exactly what may have happened with Tony Blair. Still, at least we don't have a Bush Cheney ethic in the White House;'

    S, watch Part 2 of 'The Secret War On Terror'*, BBC2 - should be on iPlayer soon.
    Obama is just overseeing a change in strategy, death by remote control. He has already ordered 4 times as many drone attacks in AfPak as Bush. With the attendant 'collateral damage'. Great recruiting agent for the Taliban and al-Q.

    *Highlight is a flaky former CIA director. Calls it (the remote assassination strategy) 'the best game in town'. They sure have a way with words.

  • Comment number 63.

    8. jon112dk wrote:

    'I agree - this is nothing like Iraq.'

    Really?
    Embrace unstable dictator to suit own self-interests, protect regional political allies and strategic resources etc.
    Things turn sour, marriage off, have to dispose of unstable dictator.

  • Comment number 64.

    Nick, you slaughtered Blair daily in the media during Iraq conflict. The reasons are the same dictators murdering women, children, men, not acceptable, you and your fans ignored this was going on for years in Iraq. So where is the BBC coverage of the token anti war protesters this time round? Cameron this is your Iraq, or is it Thatchers Falklands, many lost their lives so she could win an election, but the media never talk about that fiasco. Cameron, you think you are Blair and I look forward to millions of pounds of tax payers money that will be wasted on the enquiry , which I hope when you are called you do answer the questions asked, because up to the present you seem to have a problem doing this on all policy issues. Libya is your Iraq and I hope the BBC treats you with the same contempt that Blair received. Finally Nick and your posse decided Cameron was the man to lead this country, as a media orgnisation you backed him with your biased coverage. Well done, the mess you lot have caused is a disaster for all of us, unless you are a millionaire of course. All we hear is about cuts in funding for everthing, so where is the money coming from for this conflict?

  • Comment number 65.

    coats @ 56

    Yes it seemed like a decent enough debate. Surprised though (and slightly disappointed) that only 13 MPs voted against.

    blame @ 62

    Really? Oh. Maybe I'm just assuming the best about him (especially compared to the last mob) because he's the first black president and he speaks so well.

  • Comment number 66.

    all this talk about making war purely for oil is ridiculously naive. its too simple to say we go to war to protect only when oil assets are at risk - war in any shape or form is a complex thing and is always fought formore than one reason. in this case it was because it became politically unacceptable for the West to ignore gaddafi's actions. and anyway, a war can hold both just and unjust reasons concurrently - if we do protect our oil (which i dont believe is the reason, at least the main reason) then we are protecting civilians too, and that makes it a worthwhile exercise.

  • Comment number 67.

    they are going miles away only for oil..........that only USA and it's pet UK want.........
    They can't even their own country and talking about changing other country.........only because of oil.........

  • Comment number 68.

    War-Man #66.

    "..war in any shape or form is ... always fought formore than one reason."

    hm, access to/control over resources apart, which reason(s) do you suggest?

  • Comment number 69.

    65. sagamix wrote:

    blame @ 62
    'Really? Oh. Maybe I'm just assuming the best about him (especially compared to the last mob) because he's the first black president and he speaks so well.'

    He is certainly a vast improvement. But when it comes to US national security interests and related foreign policy no President is going to buck the system. Classic example was the recent US UNSC veto on the Israeli settlements issue.

  • Comment number 70.

    As always we, by we, I mean the Western led coalition are imposing our values in a country we have no business interfering in. When will the West ever realise that democracy is not the panacea to world peace. Modern democracy takes 100's of years to mature.
    We have no interest in Iraq, Kosovo or Lybia just our own jealous hoarding of resources to feed our ever hungry consumer driven lives
    Would we tolerate other countries interfering in our government? Let Lybia and any other country conduct its business how it wants, if you don't like it then you don't have to trade or deal with them
    As usual the UK feels it necessary to be in the front line of this type of action, earning yet more derision from the middle east and Africa. What good does it do us?

    Despite my views Cameron seems to be saying the right things, and keeping things as transparent and up front as the situation will allow him, knocks Blair into a cocked hat....if it goes on for three years he might get re-elected of the back of it? Nah, then he would be like Blair.......

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    Libya, according to the reading I have done, appears to have a high standard of living. Excellent free healthcare, free education, no poverty at the lower end of the income range, and not a great gap between the richest and poorest. Whatever else he may be accused of Gaddaffi does appear to have spread the oil wealth around the country. Can we be certain that our media is being honest with us? It does seem strange that a country that provides so many benefits for all it's population should have fifty one per cent of the population against it.

  • Comment number 73.

    what amazes me is why has the invasion of bahrain by Saudi been ignored, of course they are our 'friends' silly me

  • Comment number 74.

    I have a quick question... Do the Rebels count as civilians?
    Cameron talks about Giddafi/government forces and protecting the civilians from them... We know the rebels have heavy artillery and maybe even aircraft after Libyan army personel switched sides.
    Should the UN not be protecting the populus from both sides?

  • Comment number 75.

    #57
    "I thought we were skint. Plenty of cash for bombing third parties but not enough for old peoples homes and disabled day care centres. The double standards of Cameron is beyond believe..."

    But the UK forces have all these new fangled aircraft now and they need to make sure they work, don't they?

  • Comment number 76.

    Simply none of our business and we can't afford it anyway.

  • Comment number 77.

    NOOOOOOO,

    No. 39 and No. 76..

    No. 39, whether rightly or wrongly, you just vomited all your deeply held feelings into your

    not so tightly held Thoughts handbag :) no offense.

    No. 76, It is our business--as human beings with feelings, BUT

    You ARE right/correct about us/the West not being able to afford it.

    All we really Can afford is to alleviate Japanese suffering and get it back up and running...

    Is this good--this affordability question--Third World need vs. First World need?

    Gosh, who knows? Ethics and business ..too unfriendly sides..being brought together...uh ohhhh!

  • Comment number 78.

    1. I still don't understand this no-fly zone business. We're flying in it and we're not on the naughty step.

    2. Does Libya have oil?

  • Comment number 79.

    'but the cruelty of opposition is that few will notice.' Yes...particularly when the BBC's Chief Political Correspondent (and ex Chairman of the Young Conservatives) dedicates exactly ONE SENTENCE to Ed's speech.

  • Comment number 80.

    If Libya's oil dried up tomorrow, I think it would shorten the war and not only would everyone be home by christmas, but they would all be home by the weekend.

    Cameron has only been in the job a few weeks and already he's started a new war. Him and his jolly chums should shove off back to whence they came and leave running a country and foreign relations to those who are better able to make judgements. I'm not sure who that is, but it's not him.

    Moral of the story - if you have oil, then better make sure you also have great defences (the latest equipment - Dave and the French would sell it to you no problems), maybe even long range rockets and nuclear bombs, definitely something to bring down allied aircraft and to knock out those subs and ships firing missiles from far away, or maybe just some nuclear bombs.

    North korea doesn't have oil but they recognise the only way to security from the west is by having nuclear. Cameron the coward would not rattle his sabre in that direction as he knows the stakes are too high. He is just picking on a country that can't match his firepower, just because he can.

    I don't want to see Libyan civilians killed, no-one does, but there are clearly two sides to this and Gaddafi has support too. Do you think that is the west gives support to the rebels they will give a free pardon to all Gaddafi supporters? No, you just end up with the loyalists being slaughtered instead.

    There is no answer, and we shouldn't be anywhere near this crazy conflict. Half a million squids per cruise missile - while that may not be much to multi-millionaire cameron and his cabinet, I would have thought that for the rest of us it would be better to save that money and put it towards the deficit. £50 million per lost plane. Ridiculous amounts, we surely can't afford the wars we are in, let alone these new ones.

  • Comment number 81.

    In this time of cuts (sorry Savings) that the country has to make, when are we going to be told how we are going to pay for this or will the "Bankers" pay for it.

  • Comment number 82.

    re #2
    At last? By whose standard? Can he keep going?

  • Comment number 83.

    When one listens to the full quote from General Richards it is quite clear he gave a proper, nuanced response to a tough and rather simplistic question. It is only when the first part of his response is omitted that he appears categorical, and his meaning is misconstrued.

    If we stop playing the truncated answer, it is more clear what he actually meant -- and it is, as you said, the right answer in intent, if not in phrasing.

    Everyone should keep in mind that the Libyan dictator was given an ultimatum, and plenty of opportunities to remove himself from any actual danger. He has committed outright atrocities over the years and even in the past two days. Atrocities are bound to provoke police action, so no surprises if as a result of that action even the perpetrator gets injured or worse. His fault for committing the crimes in the first place. then!

    As even the Turkish Prime Minister declared, all the Libyan regime needed to do was change its tack and none of this would be happening.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hmmm, still too much spleen venting on here today

    Maybe tomorrow....

  • Comment number 86.

    What do the Lybians want? A difficult question to answer. The best comment I have heard was from a Lybian Doctor living in Tripoli. Yes, he wanted change, BUT only if he knew that things would improve. Otherwise he was prepared to put up with life under Gadaafi. The point is that they saw what happened in Iraq after the Americans 'freed' the country. Thousands more died. They don't want that.

    The question is whether Lybia is a viable country. Even long established countries have their regional or tribal divisions which at times can cause problems. Lybia is a European creation, made up of many nomadic peoples. Gadaafi and his tent are a symbol of that. Maybe a 'strong man' is the only way to keep the country together. The point is that in the past alternatives have not been explored. Many Lybians prefer the certainty of Gadaafi even if they don't like it. They need time to explore new ideas, come up with new structures and select the way ahead. Maybe two smaller countries will prove more viable. Because they have an inbuilt organisation Islamists will come out and be more persuasive than othet more secular and as yet unorganised groups. This raises a problem if they get hijacked who want to corrupt and use Islam as a means for promoting their extreme views. How do you get free speech in a country where free speech has lead to death. Do they know how to compromise in order to maximise attention to people's views? They have never been allowed to function as a democracy or even a society where questioning the authorites is permitted.

    If the aim is to leave it to the Lybians to sort it out, we are going to have to keep the factions from beating each other up for a very long time.

  • Comment number 87.

    BBC R4 is joining in this getting into a lather over whether 'we' are allowed to kill Gadaffi. The mission is not regime change but Gadaffi is a military man.

    If Gadaffi as a Colonel (CiC, Libyan forces?) chose to visit or even command a SAM battery or took a military flight then he would have put himself in harms way. If a bomb or a missile took out the SAM installation or the plane was shot down, then that event must fall within the terms of the UN resolution.

  • Comment number 88.

    'Assets' has now become a buzz word amongst armchair military strategists and the media.
    Interesting choice of word.
    Earlier this month a CIA operated 'asset' killed at least 36 civilians in Afghanistan, it was reported.

  • Comment number 89.

    45. At 21:52pm on 21st Mar 2011, Eatonrifle wrote:

    Nautonier from Prev Blog

    Cameron's first war?

    Wrong again Mr Robinson... Cameron's first 'cease-fire'

    ............

    Doh

    ............................

    Armchair whingers like you ... bah.

    Freedom has to be paid for by the blood of those who go and fight ... that is why Britain has been free for almost a thousand years ... but the downside is that it creates a dangerous breeding ground for the coweing whinghing naysayers ... that exist in the peculiar safe conditions that Britain has created for them to thrive.

    However, one day Britain may come under threat again and the whinging naysayers will all be shouting ... Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! and be screaming for British millitary protection (providing they're all excused from front line service, of course).

    The allied NFZ and millatry intervention in Libya has averted a large scale massacre as proposed by Gaddfai ... and a lot of credit for achieving the tentative cease fire that exists ... should be attributed to Messrs Cameron and Hague ... unless you think that a better initial outcome would have been for hundreds, thousands of civilians to have been massacred?

    What people like you need is a real rifle and do some drill in British National Service!

  • Comment number 90.

    And a haircut.

  • Comment number 91.

    I agree with War-Man. Why is it about oil? Surely if we wanted the oil we would just deal with Gadaffi like we had been doing. He's recently been bought in out of the cold to open up Libya to investment (i.e. oil companies) and this seemed to be working just fine without a shot being fired. Why then would we want to disrupt oil supplies by attacking him when the previous deal was ticking along nicely?

    I get very tired of hearing that the West is only interested in oil. Can someone please tell me how many oil producing countries we have attacked since the end of the cold war? Oh, yes, that's it: 1. Iraq. Yes, it was a total disaster but attacking one country does not mean the West is out for oil and against muslims. Kosovo doesn't have oil, nor Bosnia, nor Afghanistan yet we're there. So out of 4 muslim countries where we have troops on the ground, only 1 has oil and that isn't producing as much as when Saddam was in charge.

    If we really wanted the oil, don't you think we would have invaded Iran? It's America's biggest enemy, has massive oil and gas reserves and is ripe for revolution. It would be very costly in terms of manpower and equipment, many lives would be lost, but if the theory is correct then all that oil would be worth it. But wait, we're not attacking Iran and are in fact limiting there ability to export oil.

    The best way to control oil is NOT to mount a costly invasion and an even costlier occupation, but to just work with the rules of these countries as best as possible and NOT intervene. Just like we have been doing for decades in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait and just like we started to do again with Gadaffi in Libya.

    The same people complaining about western intervention in Libya and accusing it of only being interested in oil and against muslims are the very people who complain that the West didn't do enough in Rwanda or Darfur, were too late in Bosnia and aren't doing enough to sort out the Israelis and Palestinians. How many are complaining that the West is attacking Libya but turning a blind eye to Bahrain whilst in the same sentence chastising the West for intervening? According to these people, if we ignore Libya, we're only interested in the oil and being chummy with dictators but if we get involved, we're hypocrites and only interested in the oil. The West is not anti Islam or only out for oil, the problem is the rulers of Arab countries who oppress their people and use oil and the West as a scapegoat for their many ills.

  • Comment number 92.

    snuff @ 82

    We'll see - it's not an obviously great issue for him. Best approach for Miliband (IMO) is to stay supportive (of British military involvement) as long as it remains UN sanctioned and has support in the region; if this were to change - or if it looks like it's dragging on with no clear endgame in sight, or if we appear to be taking an inappropriately large role, or if the casualities (British and/or other) get heavy - then he should switch first to scepticism and, after a decent period of that, to outright opposition. Course, Labour can't with their record make much capital from what would otherwise be a powerful point; that we were courting and arming the Gaddafi regime until very recently.

  • Comment number 93.

    "Ed Miliband also made a powerful speech but the cruelty of opposition is that few will notice."

    It was a good speech but neither he nor anyone in, or interested in, his party should expect it to be noticed much. His role in opposition at the moment is to support government in this operation, something which he is doing admirably I feel.

    BTW, does anyone know who the Tory MP was that stood up and interrupted Miliband's speech in order to attack him for the UK debt?

  • Comment number 94.

    To answer the original point... we are not at war with Libya.

    A ceasefire was declared and then not observed by Libya. The United Nations supports all actions carried out by the coalition of nations.

    It is faintly ironic that all the lefties on these psots are lsuting for more blood and the declaration of war. Is it because it proved to be the undoing of their previous leader? Could it be that they associate war with electoral disaster and ejection form office and are hoping for the prime minister to make the same mistake. They will be waiting a long time. He has the backing of the United Nations and that's all there is to say about anything at the moment; anything else is just muck raking. (and we all know how much of that the left get upo to)

    It's grim up north London...

  • Comment number 95.

    89. nautonier wrote:

    'What people like you need is a real rifle and do some drill in British National Service!'

    :)
    As opposed to what? One made of ice cream?
    I can imagine a few recruits for your Dad's Army on these blogs.
    Andy as QM.

  • Comment number 96.

    If this intervention in Libya was about protecting civilian lives, why are the intervention forces not demanding that EVERYONE in Libya lay down their arms?

  • Comment number 97.

    96. Megan wrote:

    'If this intervention in Libya was about protecting civilian lives, why are the intervention forces not demanding that EVERYONE in Libya lay down their arms?'

    Absolutely, should be a bilateral ceasefire until peace-keeping forces can be introduced. Never happen though. Both sides want blood.

  • Comment number 98.

    Robin @ 94

    Here's how it is, Robin. You are standing on the terraces chanting abuse at the opposing fans, but there is no match being played, there are no opposing fans, nobody else at all in the stadium. Except for one groundsman, repainting the white lines on the pitch and thinking, who is that nutter, why doesn't he go home?

  • Comment number 99.

    cordero @ 91

    I agree the oil aspect gets overstated; it's not the driver of everything we do in the region. It's very important (and why wouldn't it be, given our reliance) but, no, not the whole story by any means. There is the humanitarian angle, this is not completely bogus. Also overstated, however. The factor which tends to get underplayed is to do with neither oil nor really with humanitarianism; it's the belief we in Britain have, to a greater extent than most countries of our size, that we can (and damn well should) play an active role in the affairs of others.

  • Comment number 100.

    Insiders often have a tendency to speak in jargon.

    Thus, this outsider has not got a clue what a 'substantive motion' is.

    Something related to bowel movements?

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.