Monday, July 30, 2007

He was right the first time

Credit the BBC's Nick Robinson for being on the spot in real time to catch what was apparent from the instant it was uttered a mis-statement by Gordon Brown, or least a mis-statement relative to what George Bush wanted him to say. Because Gordon said --

Afghanistan is the front line against terrorism, and as we have done twice in the last year, where there are more forces needed to back up the coalition and NATO effort, they have been provided by the United Kingdom.

Thus going completely off-message on Iraq as the central front in the war on terror. Hence Nick's question --

And Prime Minister, you talked of Afghanistan being the front line in the struggle against terror, not Iraq. Do you believe that British troops in Iraq are part of the struggle against terrorism, or as many people now believe, making that harder, not easier, to win?

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: Well, perhaps I should deal with it first and then pass on to you, President.

In Iraq, you're dealing with Sunni-Shia violence, you're dealing with the involvement of Iran, but you're certainly dealing with a large number of al Qaeda terrorists. And I think I described Afghanistan as the first line in the battle against the Taliban, and of course the Taliban in Afghanistan is what we are dealing with in the provinces for which we've got responsibility, and doing so with some success.


Gordon's account of what he had said just a few minutes before is clearly wrong, with his new version being close to redundant as the Taliban are an Afghan movement.

UPDATE: The Telegraph's Toby Harnden subtitles Gordon's faux pax (via Iain Murray).