I knock Blair a lot, and deservedly so. I make no bones about declaring him one of the worst Prime Ministers the UK has ever had. But to be fair, even he got it right once. And as he strutted about in Sierra Leone I remembered this was it.
Sierra Leone was in an intense civil war and 20,000 UN troops could do nothing. Then Blair for once had the courage to do the right thing. British troops went in - a couple of ships, a battalion to reinforce Freetown.
Harriers buzzed the rebels without firing, an amphibious landing exercise nearby showed them what would happen, a single sharp and decisive firefight when some troops were kidnapped – and it was all over.
Minimal intervention provided a spectacular result. Yes, I know diamonds were involved, but it showed what could be done. Blair didn’t learn the lesson.
© Anthony North, May 2007
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