I try and steer clear of posts about Iraq, but as this has wider consequences I feel a need to contribute to the debate. The news that Blair has started the process to involve Iran and Syria in settling the problems in Iraq is something I feel is deeply disturbing.
Because this is exactly what "giving in to terrorists" means.
Let's start by considering the violence in Iraq - where it comes from and how it is carried out.
First of all, it is ridiculous to believe that the violence is somehow the work of ordinary Iraqis who have become "insurgents". Why would they do now what they would not do under Saddam's brutal regime? If these were ordinary Iraqi people who just disliked the current regime, then why were they not prepared to do the same thing to get rid of Saddam? It can't be because they were concerned about the consequences - the current "insurgency" shows little regard for the consequences of their actions on ordinary Iraqis. On the contrary, most of their attacks are aimed at ordinary Iraqis.
The "insurgents" consist of two groups. The first group are former Saddam supporters who were in the military, police or secret service. While everyone was celebrating the fall of the Saddam regime, I was loathe to do so. The reason being is that I am always wary of short wars - and especially when those short wars result in a prolonged occupation as was bound to happen in Iraq.
Think back to WW2. The German "Blitzkrieg" was very effective at defeating opponents quickly. Germany successfully occupied most of Europe in a very short time, but for all the time that they remained in those countries the Nazis were dogged by "insurgency" - even though the Nazis tried to clamp down on the insurgency in a brutal manner.
When the Allies finally forced Germany back, it was only achieved slowly on both fronts. When Germany finally surrendered it was utterly defeated, worn out and incapable of fighting on (though, even then, there was still "insurgency"). That is the problem with short wars. Even so, if it were just the former Saddam regime members it would be easily manageable - but it isn't.
The second, and most important, group carrying out the attacks in Iraq are the imported terrorists. These people - who originate from all over the Muslim world (including Iraq) come in through Iran and Syria, they are funded by Iran and Syria and they are supplied by Iran and Syria. The answer Blair and Baker are advocating is that they know it is Iran and Syria who are behind these attacks so it makes sense to involve them in stopping these attacks. Right?
Wrong. By doing that you will simply be legitimising their tactics and helping them towards their ambition to become regional superpowers. Some people have likened this approach to the appeasement of Hitler by Chamberlain in the run up to WW2, but is more like the involvement of The Soviet Union as an "ally" in WW2. The Soviet Union started WW2 by invading Poland - the nation we were pledged to defend - and were our enemy. When the Nazis invaded Russia the Soviet Union became our ally by default.
The eventual outcome was the creation of a new superpower that occupied half of Europe - including the country we went to war to defend - Poland. This is what will happen in The Middle East if we continue along the path of involving Iran and Syria. The nation we were supposed to be liberating will become the new "Poland" and a new Iron Curtain will descend across the Middle East. This Iron Curtain will share many similarities with the old one including a dominant and totalitarian doctrine and, soon, a nuclear arsenal.
And it won't stop at Iraq. Once it has established this new Union it will, as the regional superpower, be powerful enough to intimidate other nations into joining. Just like The Soviet Union it will spread - Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Jordan and Pakistan. Eventually even Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be swallowed up. By then it will not be just a regional superpower - it will have a global influence. The one thing sticking out - Israel. That won't last long. Israel will finally be "wiped off the map" and a new Palestine will emerge.
So what should we do? Well, we could threaten them. Tell them to stop or suffer the consequences - but that won't work as they know we won't do anything without UN approval or the support of public opinion. And we won't get public opinion to approve such action while our media continue to work against us. So what else? Simple, fight like with like. Train Iraqis and dissident Iranians and Syrians to penetrate Iran and Syria. Get them to recruit Iranians and Syrians who want to overthrow their regimes to the cause. Start off insurgencies in those countries. Fund them and supply them. When "insurgents" are setting off bombs in Tehran market squares and detonating IEDs in the heart of Damascus you'll find Iran and Syria will suddenly be less willing to supply the terrorist funding, weapons and recruits.
No doubt some people will look at this and think I'm legitimising terrorism. Am I? Is it me who is legitimising terrorism as a means to achieve a goal or is it Blair and Baker? What I am actually doing is pointing out that you can either be opposed to terrorism as a means to perpetrate a war or you can consider it acceptable. If you are opposed to it, then you should accept that those countries that use such methods are abhorrent regimes and should be forced to stop. They certainly should not be rewarded with an invitation to the top table. If that can not be done through diplomatic means - which have been tried and have failed - then you have to accept that the only other way is through conventional warfare. If you think that their methods are acceptable, then there is no reason why we should not use those methods too. We did it during WW2, why not now?