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My submission to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War

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16 comments to My submission to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War

  • the other rob

    Very well said. I remain one of those who hold the view that taking out a tyrant was a worthwhile endeavour.

    In other news, my concealed handgun license was issued this week. So now I’ll be able to keep my own peace. It’s shameful that so much effort went into ensuring that those poor bastards weren’t allowed the means to keep theirs.

  • Pat

    Indeed, and thanks for the reminder.
    It seems to me that left leaning folks are keen to point out the evils of Saddam, the Taliban and others- but when someone undertakes the inevitably messy and dangerous job of actually doing something about it said people are sparing with their support.

  • Pollo

    Well said! It’s just such a pity that all the innocents that have died since the start of the war can’t let us know how much better it is to die at the hands of Westerners rather than Saddam.

  • Johnathan Pearce


    Interesting, isn’t it, that during the 1990s, certain “anti-war” folk opposed the sanctions against Iraq, which begs the question as to how they would have contained Saddam’s regime otherwise. Of course at this stage, such folk either change the subject or make a rude noise.

    BTW, it is not, in fact, true that there was no connection between Saddam and Islamic terrorism, as some have claimed. The link to 9/11 was tenuous, but the link to radical islamic groups with ill-will towards the West was not.

  • Richard Allan

    “I can’t afford it – I won’t buy it.”

    That doesn’t make any sense. No-one’s asking you to “buy” peace – the people who have to pay are those who pay outrageous taxes to fund the war effort. It’s war that the citizens of this country can’t afford! If they could, I’m sure they’d be happy to afford it by their own free will, like the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War.

  • the other rob

    Richard Allan – incorrect. Everything has a price. The “peace at any price” folks would be delighted that you’ve failed to grasp this fact. The reason that you’ve failed to grasp it is likely that sometimes the price of peace is so astronomical as to beggar belief. So the normal human reaction is to be penny wise and pound foolish.

  • jso

    I never forgot.

    Terrorism is caused by a lack of freedom, which is the exact reason why we needed to get rid of Saddam.

    It’s just such a pity that all the innocents that have died since the start of the war can’t let us know how much better it is to die at the hands of Westerners rather than Saddam.

    Dying of old age in bed surrounded by loved ones is probably very much preferable to dying in one of Saddam’s dungeons for children, but that’s just my opinion.

  • lukas

    So, who’s going to be next? Iran? Sudan? Somalia? Saudi-Arabia? Libya?

    So many barbaric Islamic autocracies, so little time.

  • David Gillies

    jso: terrorism is not caused by a lack of freedom in the case of modern Jihadism, but simply by the recalcitrance of a large segment of the world’s population (among which I proudly and vocally include myself) to refuse to submit to the barbarous idiocy that is Islam. They don’t want to butcher us and convert our cities into funeral pyres because they are not free: they want to slaughter us and drape themselves with our viscera because we either deny or reject their childish, ghoulish caricature of a God.

    As a hotbed of Islamic radicalism, Iraq was way down the list when the ‘War on Terror’ started. But as a strategic location for bringing the fight to the barbarians it could scarcely be bested. We in the West have seen some five thousand of our bravest and best die in this fight. What is sometimes overlooked is that we have extirpated perhaps 200,000 of the new Janissaries. I don’t mean ‘collateral damage’ – regrettable if unavoidable civilian casualties. I mean real soldiers of Islam. We’re wiping those cockroaches out by the bushel. We can sustain (albeit grievously) our level of losses. The barbarians cannot.

  • I must say it’s lovely to see such ardent supporters of the non-aggression principle first thing on a sunday morning.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Whoops, then you plainly haven’t understood the concept
    of the just retaliation against attack. Saddam not only was
    in bed with terror groups but he also
    violated numerous ceasefire terms , gassed Kurds,
    attacked Shia Muslims, etc. Attacking
    this monster was defensible from a libertarian
    point of view even if there might have
    other grounds for skepticism.

    So there!

  • Gareth

    Does that make the case for the invasion ‘fake but accurate’?

    I do agree with the removal of Saddam. There is no question he was a barbaric, murderous crackpot and had offspring of the same mind. He needed to be dealt with. Containment was not working as he was starving and murdering his fellow Iraqis.

    I do not agree with the way the invasion was prosecuted politicially.

    Did it require skulking around looking for an excuse and then cooking up a flimsy justification to sneak in with UN support by default? Mixing things up with al-Quida created a firestorm of resistance that could have been avoided were regime change the true and only goal.(If there were large elements of the Iraqi army ready to turn on Saddam we should have exploited that.) Perhaps tacking on the international islamist terror threat was a wheeze to stop people saying ‘Why won’t you go into Zimbabwe’ etc.

    Saddam’s access to WMDs was not as concrete as certain Western leaders made out. There were questions over that line at the time. Those questions are beginning to get answered now.

  • Richard Garner

    Sure, Saddam was a Tyrant. Why was that a reason why the UK should have invaded? Are you saying that the UK government, and Allies, should conscript their nations’ people and resources into invading every country ruled by what you take to be a tyrannical regime? If not, then plainly even if the presence of tyranny is necessary for your case for war it is obviously not sufficient.

    At the very least, invading Iraq meant fewer resources to invade other countries with possibly even more tyrannical regimes, like Zimbabwe, for instance, so it is at least logically possible that invading Iraq meant tolerating even worse tyrants.

  • “Did it require skulking around looking for an excuse and then cooking up a flimsy justification to sneak in with UN support by default?”

    No, it shouldn’t have. The UN was originally created to deal with situations like this. The UN is required by its charter to identify threats to international peace and security, to consider whether sanctions would resolve the problem and if so apply them, and if sanctions either are judged likely to fail, or have failed, then the UN is required to take military action.

    Iraq, following its invasion of Kuwait, had been declared a threat to international peace and security. (You can argue about the correctness of that if you like, but they did.) The sanctions failed, with more than a dozen mandatory UN resolutions ignored over a period of a decade. Therefore, by its charter, the UN security council was required under international law to take action, and it was illegal under international law to seek to block it.

    Under international law the UN had to either withdraw its declaration that Iraq was a threat – which both the US and UK would veto – or it had to take action. No choice.

    And indeed, that’s precisely what it was set up to do, before it got corrupted. Because its authors in 1948 knew very well what happened if you let nutters develop unchecked.

    We chose not to make an issue of it for diplomatic reasons. And both sides tolerated the political fudge as a compromise, and agreed not to pursue the matter in exchange for under-the-table cooperation. Saddam owed the Paris Club billions, and had signed oil contracts with certain European nations conditional on the sanctions being dropped, and many other corrupt client states were looking on nervously. The Europeans couldn’t be seen to turn on Saddam after supporting him for so long. Who else would trust them, if they did? But relations with the US were ultimately of greater value.

    We picked Iraq because of the kakistocrats’ mistake in allowing the invasion of Kuwait to lead them into declaring it a threat. We’d love to invade quite a few other deserving places too, and strictly speaking according to the charter, we must and should. But Iraq was the only one we could do legally, because of the UN resolutions already in place. The rest are protected by the UN.

    Besides the diplomatic issues, the legal arguments are fraught because the charter’s authors never considered the possibility that the free nations would corrupt the process, and refuse to do what was required. There is nothing in there to say at what point interminable delay becomes outright obstruction. And there is always a problem with institutions being required to pass judgement upon themselves.

    But the reason for the political mess was undoubtedly the ongoing corruption and illegality of the UN. We simply have to live with it, and do the best we can.

  • Pa Annoyed:

    There was also a political mess because of the French and Germans’ wanting to get rid of the sanctions. It amused me how the anti-sanctions people were claiming that they were killing tens of thousands of children a year, but after the war, when the Lancet wanted to claim the war had killed hundreds of thousands of innocents, the death rate in the run-up to the war was suddenly surprisingly low, as though nobody had ever been killed by the sanctions.

    Remember that in the run-up to the war, both countries had general elections, and especially in Germany, the incumbent had to engage in BNP-style foreigner-bashing to win the election. It’s just that in Gerhard Schröder’s case, the group he was bashing was Americans, so the chattering classes thought such xenophobia was virtuous.

    If the anti-war people are going to ask where the WMDs are, they should have to answer where all those extra dead people are.

  • Bah, never trust the U.N. Food for Oil seems to have been forgotten by many people (not here…I mean in general). Sanctions accomplish little, if anything.