On the 23rd March 2003 the UK / US coalition forces embarked on the invasion of Iraq. Ten years on I look back in my diary of that ill-fated day and the growing feelings of fear, anger and sadness which followed.

I wrote:
I am against this war because the case for war (weapons of mass destruction) has not been proven; and because the unilateral, pre-emptive strike policy of the Bush administration, combined with their rejection of global legal systems, which have taken decades of diplomatic work to assemble, places us all at risk from future unilateral actions by like minded and even less “friendly” regimes.

This evening, with alliance troops in Baghdad, I could write at length about how things might have been had inspections continued for several months; how the country should have been flooded with thousands of inspectors armed with the locations of the three hundred sites of weapons of mass destruction as specified by the US security services; how any invasion should have been UN sanctioned.

If weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq and paraded as justification for the war, should we believe that evidence when it is revealed? Some may insist that our leaders would never lie to us about such things. I wish I could share that view. They have, at the very least, misled us in the past. When these weapons are found I hope I will be able to believe that “we” didn’t put them there. Or does this suggest more faith in the sanity and honesty of our democratically elected leaders than is justifiable?

I find it worth noting, albeit with a healthy dose of scepticism, we have a long and dishonourable history of arming and supporting “pro-west” fascists and despots, the liberation of Iraq for the Iraqi people (if that is what happens) will be a rare and welcome example of us doing the right thing. I could accept the responsibility of war, if (and it’s a big if) the philanthropic, humanitarian, “liberate and leave them” motive to govern themselves is adhered to.

But ten years on, why do I still hear that voice in my head saying “Get real man, who you trying to kid?!” I couldn’t quieten that voice, history will not allow me to silence it.

By 67paintings

A dialectical site of poetry, painting and the odd musical excursion into the unknown.

6 replies on “Iraq”

A timely reminder for us all to take a moment and reflect on then and now. Is it really 10 years. A reminder too of the passage of time and what it means to those directly affected by the ravages of war and those of use who are lucky enough not to be/ have been.

Viewed from India, the Iraq war was a sad mistake. I do not understand politics very much, but war is usually the culmination of a chain of events it is hard to ignore. The Iraq war was one such culmination that was seen as not only being morally indefensible, but also simply a bad political gamble. Everyone said with scorn “it’s about the oil…”

The human tragedy of the Iraq war was seen and felt in Delhi directly, as we heard refugee stories of people escaping to India, and saw events unfold from another prespective.

10 years on and the war goes on… from this perspective we need to ask which is the best investment? A war machine which incurs contempt and hatred everywhere for Britain? Or funding for hospitals, nurses, schools and child-care?

The ravages of war falls heaviest on women and children. The aftermath of war too… “Cluster bombs” have left a dreadful legacy, as children’s natural curiosity makes them frequent victims of unexploded ordnance.

The first casualty of war is paranoia. In Britain refugees of war fared no better. many Iraqi (and Afghan) citizens became victims of Islamophobia, or an irrational fear of Islam.
This led to untold damage to our values as a civil, tolerant and free speaking society. We must work hard collectively to earn these values back…

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