War is a messy business: it rarely has winners.
To lead a country to war is an action that should only be taken when there is genuine fear of being attacked. It should, therefore, be a defensive action – to do otherwise is nothing but aggression.
Were there reasonable grounds for the UK government, led by Tony Blair, to order military action against Saddam Hussein? Was there a genuine and imminent threat to the population of the UK or were we being fed a diet of misinformation and scare stories? Were traditional protocols followed before reaching a final decision?
Tony Blair maintains the threat was real and weapons of mass destruction could be raining down onto UK soil with only a 40 minute warning. He had based his claim on information received from MI6. It was information which was subsequently found to be totally without foundation.
He chose to ignore the much reported scepticism of UN weapons inspectors under the leadership of Hans Blix. They had been dispatched to Iraq with unfettered access to search facilities used in the possible storage and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction – they found nothing.
Blair chose to exclude the majority of his cabinet from his decision making process. Instead, he stood back while those closest in his team publicly discredited anyone who dared to question his belief, and his desire for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
He chose to ignore the protest of over a million members of the UK public, who took part in a demonstration against any military action.
He failed to disclose his earlier private conversations with US President George Bush, during which they had discussed invading Iraq and toppling Saddam some two years before the conflict eventually commenced.
He failed to ensure British troops were adequately equipped for conflict or were prepared for any possible fallout following military action.
It seems in almost everything to do with Iraq…..he failed!
After seven years, Sir John Chilcot has finally released his report and has heavily castigated Blair and his team for their actions.
Blair remains adamant his decision has made the world a better place today.
It is unlikely the families of 179 dead British servicemen and those of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed either directly in the conflict, or because of it, would readily agree.
In war, the truth often becomes distorted by emotion and emotion becomes divorced from fact!
“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
(Blair photo courtesy of The Guardian)