A real beneficial crisis

Yesterday was a momentous day, for the report on the inquiry into the Dutch 'political support' for the invasion of Iraq was presented. BNftN has the short-short version:
A commission of inquiry, presided over by former Supreme Court President Willibrord Davids, has submitted an extremely critical report on the Dutch political support for the American Iraq campaign before it started. The report says that, according to international law, there was no legal basis for this. The government said falsely that the Dutch intelligence services had an independent position on the matter and the government selected the information as it suited it. The report also said that Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende had shown little leadership in the matter.

The most damaging conclusions of the report are widely regarded to be that 1) parliament was not sufficiently informed and 2) United Nations resolutions on Saddam Hussein's weapons programme were not a sufficient mandate to justify the invasion of Iraq by the US and Britain. Hence, the commission of inquiry (the Davids 'commission') holds that the support for the invasion by the Dutch government was not legitimate.

Of course, what International Law does or does not mean is very much a matter of opinion. Which is exactly what our PM told the press, defending the decision made by one of his earlier cabinets.
The prime minister told a news conference late on Tuesday afternoon that parliament was fully informed about the Americans' request for help in preparing the invasion. The report said MPs had not been kept in touch with all developments.

And the prime minister reiterated the government's standpoint that it was up to Saddam Hussein to prove he did not have weapons of mass destruction, not the west to prove that he did. That was the legal basis for the invasion, Balkenende said.
Not in the report was the PMs remark that whether there was or was not a legal basis for the invasion is a matter of opinion, with the commission of inquiry of one opinion and the PM (and others) of another.

But this galvanized the political left in parliament into huffing indignation. Especially coalition partner PvdA (Dutch Labour) reacted as if stung, with the fraction leader demanding in high volume for Jan Peter Balkenende to make a new statement on the report. This on the principle that the PM should represent all coalition partners. Something which our intrepid PM conspicuously failed to do with his disagreement with some of the conclusion of the Davids commission.

So now the coalition government of the Netherlands are embroiled in a real crisis today. Today saw emergency meetings of the cabinets nucleus and (separately) of the head honchos's of the different fractions. An emergency session of parliament is scheduled for tonight. On Twitter (NL) rumours abound of the impending demise of yet another Balkenende cabinet (which would make it a pristine four out of four cabinets that did not reach term).

And just today Geert Wilders announced (NL) that his PVV will support a minority cabinet of CDA (christian democrats) and VVD (liberal conservatives). In the present conditions of the highly polarized Dutch political landscape this makes eminent sense. And I have to hand it to Wilders: This is the most statesman-like thing he's done to date.

With the high number of projected seats for the PVV, its support for a minority centre-right coalition would ensures this to be virtually the only possible outcome, should elections be held. And it would be the dream coalition to deal with a number of pressing, but still highly incorrect, issues: Immigration, economic recovery (without Keynesian debt spending) and climategate climate change.

Between Wilders' promise and the current crisis, things are looking quite hopeful all of a sudden...

[UPDATE001] For some more explanation of the crisis see Numan at GoV.

4 reacties:

Sir Henry Morgan zei

Yet another thing that is happening simultaneously in the UK - we have our own (not yet finshed) inquiry into the Iraq war.

Anyone else in the EU doing the same thing?

Klein Verzet zei

Not that I'm aware of. Then again, we all remember Germany and France (and much of 'old Europe') chickening out. So, no inquiry needed there.

The emergency session does make for some entertaining viewing. Even if it leaves me squirming in my seat when I hear the coalition members trying to deflect the crisis.

Sir Henry Morgan zei

Have you any contacts you can ask in Denmark? They conributed too didn't they? Or is that only in Afghanistan?

Talking of which ... how are your casualties running now? Do you ever hear of the inevitably greater numbers of sseriosly injured or maimed for life? Or is it like here - as much silence as possible on that topic?

Did you hear about the threatened protest march by muslims along the funeral route all our dead follow when their bodies arrive back here? Google Wootton Basset.

Klein Verzet zei

I don't know about Denmark's involvement in Iraq. Of the Western European states I think only the UK and the NL were contributing, but I'm not sure. In Afghanistan the picture is completely different.

Dutch casualties in Afghanistan are low. I believe that to date we suffered 24 fatalities, but this includes accidents and at least one suicide. The Uruzgan mission is a hotly contested issue in NL (as the emergency session of parliament yesterday showed) and every fatality is used by our media to pose the question: Should we even be there?

The Dutch MoD might try to downplay the casualties, but in this case I don't think the Dutch MSM would play ball.

Yes, I've read about that utterly disgraceful planned march by Islam4UK. I mean no offence, but I do think that particular episode is a sad commentary on how far things have deteriorated in the UK. It is a jarring illustration of how confident these cretins have become. I don't think that anywhere else in the EUnion a group with any kind of credibility would be as stupid as to come out in the open with that suggestion.

But, on a brighter note, there is a second lesson: These cretins will always overplay their hand. Choudary thought he could bully his way into this and now he managed to piss of even the Brown government (which would seem to be a feat in and of itself). As the Israelis said about Arafat and Palestinians in general: Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Having said that: In a way it is a shame the march has been cancelled. A public display of (violent) disapproval of the likes of Choudary may just be what Western Europe needs to get morale up.


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