Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Invasion of Iraq - 10 Years On

Well done George W. Bush. Kudos to you too, Mr. Blair. How many lives lost? Homes destroyed? Families torn apart forever? And for what exactly, remind me? Oh yes, to liberate the people of Iraq. Funny how the media, at least on this side of the pond, no longer keeps up the fa├žade of commenting on the “liberation of Iraq” and now correctly refers to it as “the invasion”. What exactly has been achieved by this act of aggression, 10 years on? Saddam Hussein is dead, yes. But in his place Iraq now has what has been called one of the most corrupt governments on earth. The country has been turned into a breeding ground for militant extremism, and Iran has been freed from the threat of a powerful hostile neighbour, allowing them to focus their energy on quietly building their nuclear capabilities while the rest of the world looks on in impotent horror.

Nobody talks about the weapons of mass destruction any more. Yes, I mentioned the WMD. The ones the war was fought over. The ones George W. said we'd find sooner or later. The ones dear Mr. Blair said Saddam could use to hit us within 45 minutes. If we wanted to hit a country which was clearly developing deadly weapons the target in 2003 was obvious. North Korea. (The fact that they kicked out the UN nuclear inspectors and said they were going to restart their nuclear programme for electricity purposes was a big hint). But of course that would've been too complicated. I'm sick and tired of the leaders of powerful countries treating their citizens like imbeciles. A little honesty now and again wouldn't go amiss. For example, “I don't care if Saddam has WMDs or not. He tried to kill my pa, so he's going down.” I get that argument. Or “Listen chaps, if we don't get alongside America on this one, we could get sidelined on the world stage. He really needs our help, and I trust him. Let's do this; I'm not sure of the details, but I think it's the right thing to do and we should stand by our special friend.” Loyalty, while admitting ignorance of the details; I get that too. Alas, we didn't get much honesty leading up to the invasion. It was instead a symphony of lies, half-truths and not-so-hidden motives (oil anyone?).

I used to have an online friend from Iraq, many years ago. She used to say that the Americans made things bad in Iraq and she wished they'd never come. Recent interviews by the BBC in Iraq echo the same sentiment. Perhaps those truly helped by the invasion, you know, those cheering crowds who are thrilled that the Americans and the British stormed in to give them back their freedom, are camera shy. Or maybe I just watch the wrong channels.

A lot of us have got over the anger triggered by the war in Iraq. Unfortunately it's not so easy for the Iraqis to do so, nor for the families of the departed soldiers; brave men and women who put themselves in harm's way, following their leaders' orders to the bitter end.

Mission accomplished, Mr. Bush?   

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