The fifth anniversary of the start of Iraq war is coming up in the next couple of days. As I wasn't blogging at the time I can't remember my precise views. I was though broadly in favour of it although I had reservations over how achievable some of the ambitions for the country were. After the massacres of Shias and Kurds after the allies had encouraged them to rise up at the end of the first Gulf War it seemed like a point of honour to rectify that mistake. Also I believed that a country in the Middle East that was a more or less open democracy would neutralise the attempts by Islamists to encourage young men into terrorism as the only way of accomplishing anything with their lives.
Overall though I did not enough attention to examining the claims of the proponents of the war and too much attention looking at what the opponents were saying. Just because the anti war case was mostly nonsense that did not preclude the pro war case from also being mostly wrong.
In my lifetime up to that point almost every war that Britain or the United States had entered (Falklands, Panama, Grenada, Iraq 1, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and others) had accomplished the stated aims in the face of nay saying by the anti war mob so I kind of assumed that any reservations that I thought of about Iraq, had been taken care of by the planners in the Pentagon and MOD.
Five years on I still believe that there was a case for entering Iraq but not a strong one, and not in the way that we did. There should have been far more troops, the Iraqi army should not have been disbanded and we should have moved to set up democratically elected bodies to administer Iraq within weeks of taking over.
At last, a journalist who ‘gets it’
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