Stumbing quietly into the debate?

by Andrew Mason

The publication of Kevin Marsh’s new book ‘Stumbling Over Truth’ seems to have attracted little media attention and has so far generated no wider commentary about the circumstances it describes and the issues it raises.

John Kampfner, writing for the Observer last Sunday, appears to be the only mainstream journalist to have currently written a review of the book. Admittedly, this account was posted only in the Observer’s less obvious Culture > Books > Politics section when it might have been read more widely had it been positioned in the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ section, but this piece (at the time of writing this post – on the following Tuesday afternoon) has not yet attracted so much as one single comment.

Marsh attended two separate debate events to launch the book. The first of these was held (and can now be viewed) at the Frontline Club on Tuesday 18 September, and the second was at the University of Westminster on Monday 24 September, the announcement of which we have already covered in a previous post. There appears to be no transcript or video coverage of this second event available in the public domain.

An interview with Kevin Marsh can be seen here on the Biteback Publishing website.

6 comments to this article

  1. John Bone

    on September 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm -

    It has always been my opinion that Straw spouted more nonsense than anyone about the invasion of Iraq, such as claiming that Al Qaida and Iraq were all part of the same picture and that the UK had tried to forge a consensus in the UN in February and March 2003.

    Once again he comes up trumps. “With countries that had signed up to the original resolution now backing away from its natural consequences, he made the gamble and chose to tough it out. When he refused to climb down, he left us with no alternative but to go to war.” This simply bears no relation to reality.

  2. andrewsimon

    on September 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm -

    @John Rentoul –

    Yes, but have you read the actual book yet?

  3. andrewsimon

    on September 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm -

    Another of those questions to which the answer is no?

  4. chris lamb

    on September 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm -

    In addition to Straw’s memoirs (referred to above), from which one can only marvel at his capacity to cram so many patently false statements and distortions into quite a confined space on ‘how he might have stopped the Iraq war but didn’t’, the memoirs of Kofi Annan have now appeared. This contends that Blair (rather than Straw) might have stopped the war (by walking away from Bush) but didn’t and displays a rather unhealthy hero worship of Blair until he became disillusioned (especially over Iraq but also the Israel-Hamas conflict).

    From Annan’s memoirs;

    “This was not the Blair with whom I had agreed so passionately about the moral necessity of a humanitarian intervention to halt the Serbian attacks on the Kosovar Albanians in 1999 … Something had changed in Blair, and with it, I felt, his ability to act as a credible mediator,” he said.

    Intrinsic to this paragraph are the origins of the problem (in respect of the United Nations) from which the Iraq invasion developed.

    Annan’s ‘passionate agreement’ with Blair and Clinton over military force in Kosovo on ‘humanitarian’ grounds was forged at the expense of securing the majority support of the UN Security Council (as required by the UN Charter).

    Widespread support for the removal of Milosevic’s loathesome regime deflected criticisms of the treaty being breached (although the outcome of the military action denied the Serbs their legitimate right to have their holy shrines in Kosovo included in the settlement).

    This blind eye to the Charter requirement that Security Council majority consent must reached for military action to take place posed the risk of creating a precedent. This was escalated in the case of Operation Desert Fox (1998) which went ahead without Security Council authorization and reached its climax with the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    The perpetrators of the Iraq invasion argued that because Security Council approval had (apparently) been waived with Kosovo and bypassed with Operation Desert Fox, the 2003 invasion of
    Iraq was covered by a precedent.

    Kofi Annan, who both knew and tacitly agreed with overriding Security Council authorization in the case of Kosovo must bear some responsibility for the development of this unfortunate predicament.

    The ambiguities of whether a precedent had been set and the compromising of the Office of the Secretary General in this possibly accounted for the failure in international will to refer the 2003 Iraq invasion to the International Court of Justice under powers in its Statute to investigate breaches of the UN Charter.