Iraq.

History
“It would be nice to know who the reliable sources are and what makes them reliable. We are told what the intelligence covers, but we aren't given specific instances. Let me put it this way. In film going terms what we have here is the equivalent of a friend telling you that the new Vin Diesel movie is a classic and you should go and see it but not actually telling you why. That's OK because it's just a film. It's £3.50 (or £7.50 in Paris).

Here we are talking about going into war. Lives and governments are at stake. For that kind of thing there has to be some accountability and trust that when given the full truth the general public will be able to make a constructive choice. If we’re going to de-stabalise a whole area of the world I want to really know we're doing the right thing. I want to know that whoever's telling us to do this knows what they're talking about ...”
That was my review of the first dossier released in the run up to the Iraq war which was posted here on 27th September 2002 and which I also suggested was written like a university dissertation. Little did we know.

It’s one of the few occasion when this blog, when I’ve addressed, the war in Iraq. Once the conflict had begun, I talked about how remote the conflict seemed and said that I preferred Euronews’s coverage which on reflection sounds like a Ron Frique (Baraka) film without the Philip Glass’s haunting music. I later commented that I was firmly against the war (which surprised me for reasons I’ll return to in a moment) then later pitied the lack of literacy and statesmanship in the politician’s speeches in the run up to the war and since.

What surprised me is that I have a memory of backing the decision to enter Iraq. I remember thinking that if indeed there were WMDs that it was the right thing to do. I remember subsequently standing outside Beaver Radio’s window in Whitechapel Liverpool watching on a giant television screen, Saddam Hussein’s statue being pulled over in the centre of the Baghdad and feeling elated for a job well done. The memory cheats it appears, thinking the worst of myself when my cynicism really began in 2002 and continues through until today. If I was elated, was it perhaps because I thought the war was over?

Again, little did we know.

My anger about the decision to go to war has only increased over the past few years. If Saddam had been a clear and present threat then of course we should have gone to defend ourselves. But between whitewashes and cover-ups and a Stalinist approach to rewriting history (of which this enquiry is turning out to be another example) it’s become apparent that, the threat posed wasn’t any different between the 10th September 2001 and two days later, it was just that Blair’s perception that shifted – at least that was his justification today as though that’s justification enough. He believes what he did was right and that he has no regrets.

I’ll remember that when I need a new television. Perhaps I'll decide to literally just pick one up in the shop and take it to the taxi: “I believe what I’m doing is right and I have no regrets.” “Very good, sir. Let me get the door for you.” That's a flippant comment but flippancy is my repose when I have to distance myself from the decisions taken in my name then and which continue to be made now. The subjects of Iraq and Afghanistan have become so complex, the facts so obscured that I find it difficult to put into words more intelligent than these how I feel about them. Sorry.

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