David Miliband expresses regret over Lebanon invasion fiasco


by Sunny
15th June, 2010 at 10:10 am    

Well here’s a surprise. Asked what were his top three policy regrets were, David Miliband cited Israel’s invasion of Lebanon as the top one.

Lebanon: he argued in Cabinet and wished he had been more successful in persuading his colleagues and senior colleagues.

You’ll remember that over 1000 civilians died in Lebanon when Israel decided to invade and bomb. I’m surprised the elder Miliband is willing to admit he wasn’t successful enough in convincing his colleagues to take a stronger stance against Israel, but it’s better than nothing I suppose.

He also admitted it was stupid of the party to try and stop Ken Livingstone running as Labour’s candidate for Mayor. And he repeated his line: “The worst thing to happen to Tony Blair was George Bush.” The ultra-Blairite is saying things that even now the decent left and neo-cons will not admit to. Maybe he has more sense than I thought.


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  1. House Of Twits

    RT @sunny_hundal Blog post:: David Miliband expresses regret over Lebanon invasion fiasco http://bit.ly/cb3jnC


  2. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: David Miliband expresses regret over Lebanon invasion fiasco http://bit.ly/cb3jnC


  3. blogs of the world

    David Miliband expresses regret over Lebanon invasion fiasco. by Sunny on 15th June, 2010 … http://reduce.li/aoq6jy #expresses


  4. Lebanon is David Miliband’s Top Labour Policy Regret | The Beirut Spring, a Lebanese Blog

    [...] The man who hopes to Lead the Labor party in the UK tried unsuccessfullyto Lobby PM Blair and others to stop Israel from bombing Lebanon in 2006(via Pickled Politics) (via Pickled Politics) [...]


  5. Youssef

    RT @sunny_hundal: D Miliband expresses regret over Lebanon invasion fiasco http://bit.ly/cb3jnC Starting to like him.Might even vote for him




  1. cjcjc — on 15th June, 2010 at 10:45 am  

    Or maybe he’s simply dissembling, like baby brother and Balls.

  2. MaidMarian — on 15th June, 2010 at 10:46 am  

    The worst thing to happen to Tony Blair was George Bush? This despite his re-election following the Iraq war? This despite a strong poll rating when he stepped down?

    Sunny, with the greatest of respect (and I do mean that) Iraq obsessed the political classes and the talkboard crew far more than it did most other people. If Al Gore had won (or more specifically, had he won in the electoral college) in 2000 I really doubt that things would have turned out that differently.

    As to Israel, the UK has little influence over either side and we should stop looking to our government to ram other people’s conflicts down our throats.

    Tell me again – what is it that you have against Burnham?

  3. BenSix — on 15th June, 2010 at 10:52 am  

    The ultra-Blairite is saying things that even now the decent left and neo-cons will not admit to.

    Yes – because they’re not running for leadership of the Labour Party.

    Sunny, with the greatest of respect (and I do mean that) Iraq obsessed the political classes and the talkboard crew far more than it did most other people.

    I think it figured rather prominently in the minds of, er – Iraqis.

  4. Random Guy — on 15th June, 2010 at 11:01 am  

    Backpedalling should not be mistaken for intelligence.

  5. Jemmy Hope — on 15th June, 2010 at 11:28 am  

    Powerless politician, radical; politician in power, reactionary.
    Compare Nick Clegg.

  6. All We Need Is Time — on 15th June, 2010 at 11:45 am  

    Even if this is Machiavellian bullshit from David Miliband (which I think it probably is), at least there is some concession that him and the other candidates need to appeal to progressive (or even “left-wing”, if you want to use the term loosely) mindsets.

    Don’t forget also that Miliband has also attacked the Bush administration just before Obama’s inauguration.

  7. MaidMarian — on 15th June, 2010 at 12:11 pm  

    All We Need Is Time -

    I will probably get a pasting for this, but…

    The New Labour governments has much in common with both Atlee’s government and Wilson’s government as regards being pragmatic and centrist. Atlee started Britain’s nuclear program in 1947, Wilson negotiated Polaris in 1963, and Blair and Brown renewed Trident. Brown has authorised the building of new nuclear power stations (something that successive Conservative governments didn’t (or couldn’t) do.

    Atlee in the late 30′s also led the Labour opposition to Appeasement (which Tories voted for) and was also the bulwark against negotiating with Hitler and Musolini in 1940. This is part of the reason there was a Labour landslide in 1945 – the electorate were clearing the appeasers out of Parliament.

    Labour in government have always had a robust foreign policy – Korea was one of Attlee’s first major foreign policy decisions. If we really wanted to be controversial we could also add the creation of a Zionist state and the partition of India to Attlee’s foreign policy decisions.

    The trouble is that the media like to portray Labour circa 1983 with it’s anti-nuclear stance and excessive leftiness as being “true Labour” even though Foot’s Labour was a total abberation in the entire Labour movement that goes back to 1901, and lasted just a few years. And Foot was elected by traitor SDP types who deliberately voted for him in a wrecking motion and then left to found the SDP, believing that they had successfully destroyed the Labour party. Luckily they hadn’t – real Labour in the pragmatic, centrist government mould re-emerged with Kinnock and Blair.

    Labour will remain mildly centre-left. Iraq was a manifestation of Atlanticist and outward looking foreign policy. It is not always popular, sure but that is the very nature of foreign policy. The conflicts of the 2000s blurred identity and foreign politics, but there was no real qualitative difference.

    I’ll step back and let you all shout at me now.

  8. All We Need Is Time — on 15th June, 2010 at 12:36 pm  

    MaidMarian: an interesting post, and I certainly won’t be doing any shouting. (Nor will anyone else, I hope)

    I said using the term, “left-wing” “loosely”, because I don’t think foreign policy, however hawkish or isolationist it might be, is anything to do with left-right spectrum.

    You tend to find that a lot (not all) of the pro-war left seemed to initially have an expectation that their way was the right way for the “left”. So did some of the anti-war left, also, but as it turned out, it could never have been so simplistic as that.

    I think, whilst your analysis is fair minded, it misses out one aspect, which is quite commonly overlooked. When measuring the spectrum alongside a party or a government, you don’t just consider what they’ve done, but also just as importantly, what they haven’t done. Or what they’ve maintained, or wish to maintain.

    And New Labour, whilst in power:

    Have nationalised not a single thing that the Tories privatised in the 80s.(And privatised many more, such as our air traffic)

    Have continued to pursue an awful and failed policy on drugs.

    Have maintained the most disgraceful cold-minded bureaucracy and “blind-eye turning” mentality when it’s came to our asylum system, and the mass deportations of legitimate claimants.

    Not to mention their enthusiasm for eroding our civil liberties in this country, which I could give a list of those.

    I respect your opinion MaidMarian, but I just can’t agree that New Labour are centre-left.

  9. BenSix — on 15th June, 2010 at 12:43 pm  

    Iraq was a manifestation of Atlanticist and outward looking foreign policy.

    You’ll get no vitriol from me, MM, but what does “outward looking” actually mean? It could apply to a dovelike humanitarian or a twisted, scheming imperialist.

  10. soru — on 15th June, 2010 at 1:11 pm  

    It could apply to a dovelike humanitarian or a twisted, scheming imperialist.

    Which I think brings us neatly back to Millband’s point about the worst thing to happen to Blair.

    Though I suspect ‘Cheney’ might actually be a more precise answer…

  11. Javid — on 15th June, 2010 at 1:23 pm  

    This is brilliant satire

    The World Turned Upside Down by Melanie Phillips

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jun/14/melanie-phillips-digested-read

  12. MaidMarian — on 15th June, 2010 at 1:47 pm  

    All We Need Is Time – Thank you for a considered reply. I agree that when it comes to Iraq there is complexity and nuance.

    ‘When measuring the spectrum alongside a party or a government, you don’t just consider what they’ve done, but also just as importantly, what they haven’t done. Or what they’ve maintained, or wish to maintain.’

    Point taken.

    ‘And New Labour, whilst in power:

    Have nationalised not a single thing that the Tories privatised in the 80s.(And privatised many more, such as our air traffic)’

    Well, the voters might have had a part in that. However some of the privatisations were explicitly designed to be impossible to reverse – rail is a good example. A better point here is that Labour carried on the awful tory practice of privatised monopolies with regulation. These are little better than medieval fiefs and our energy network in particular has suffered.

    There is a good argument that Thatcher was a great nationaliser – she brought under central control the schools, hosptials, universities, trade unions, local authorities. Labour never really decentralised and that is, to my mind, a more important argument and a more winnable argument than 80s debates about national ownership.

    ‘Have continued to pursue an awful and failed policy on drugs.’

    True, though this is always a minefield. I don’t think that there is anything that would please all of the people all of the time.

    ‘Have maintained the most disgraceful cold-minded bureaucracy and “blind-eye turning” mentality when it’s came to our asylum system, and the mass deportations of legitimate claimants.’

    Again, the voters have a say in this. I am more relaxed on this point than most on PP. Labour of Attlee and Wilson were more open on immigration, though that was as much to do with post-war conditions.

    ‘Not to mention their enthusiasm for eroding our civil liberties in this country, which I could give a list of those.’

    There are good arguments on this and there are bad arguments. Attlee maintained ID cards post war and these were abandoned by Churchill. You might want to check, but I think that Wilson introduced internment and Diplock courts.

    Left and right can be something of a misnomer. In government, ministers have to respond to events. I would like to see a government that is more responsive and does not have arguments about issues from 10 or more years ago.

  13. Carl — on 15th June, 2010 at 2:48 pm  

    DMil was a 1000 times bad last night, EdMil is a gamechanger

  14. All We Need Is Time — on 15th June, 2010 at 4:24 pm  

    MaidMarian, thanks again for your well thought out reply, and I agree, that we need a government that is more responsive. (Particularly to the public, and not the tabloids, like the past New Labour administration)

    I’d just like to discern though, immigration with asylum.

    “Again, the voters have a say in this. I am more relaxed on this point than most on PP. Labour of Attlee and Wilson were more open on immigration, though that was as much to do with post-war conditions.”

    With me bringing up asylum, I wasn’t including the issue of immigration at all; more the detaining of asylum applicants (of which our government doesn’t publish any figures or information on), the deporting of legitimate asylum applicants, and so forth. I think it’s important not to confuse the two issues of immigration and asylum as being one, and the fanatics at MigrationWatch have came to realise that. I generally don’t like to talk about immigration, as I find that people in general very quickly (even unintentionally) switch the focus of the matter onto the immigrants, which is murky territory in my eyes.

    Thank you very much for your civil and intelligent response though, and I’ll have to check on whether it was Wilson that introduced internment and Diplock courts. In the meantime, I’ll have to profess ignorance on that one.

  15. Tom — on 15th June, 2010 at 11:30 pm  

    Labour nationlised Railtrack and went further in bank nationalisation than any previous Labour Government – albeit neither were out of choice.

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