Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A great anniversary, and so many more to come

So here we are at the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq invasion. It’s an action still vehemently justified by Tony Blair, who beats Tricky Dicky Nixon in the honest politician stakes only because he looks straighter (I never understood how anyone could look at Nixon’s jowly face and shifty eyes and expect anything even remotely resembling the truth from him).

Tricky Dicky: the caption says it all

Blair has a powerful argument that he deploys with increasingly tedious frequency against any critic: ‘surely you can’t disagree that the world’s a better place without Saddam Hussein’. 

I always want to answer him, ‘it surely is. As it would be a better place without car bombs going off daily around Baghdad, without the one hundred to several hundred thousand Iraqi civilian deaths the war caused, without powerful nations trampling on international law, and without countries going to war on the whim of policy-makers instead of solid evidence.’

Come to think of it, perhaps the big question to put to Blair (and Dubya, and their supporters) is what’s happening in Iran. Way back in the days of the Iran-Iraq war, the West’s darling was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, because anyone who was against Iran had to be democracy’s friend. In fact, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, he always claimed that he’d been given the nod by none other than the United States, and it certainly seems that at the very least the Americans had sent him some pretty mixed messages.

Today, the bogey man’s Iran again. Our good friend Israel keeps threatening military action to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power. The West rattles its sabres, deploys its battleships, ratchets up its sanctions.

In between, the West had a couple of wars with Iraq. And where’s Iraq now? Run by a Shiite government that’s turned it into a client state of Iran. For instance, Iran is actively backing the Assad regime in Syria, and channeling a lot of its support through Iraq.

So Iran was the enemy of the West and is its enemy again. In between the West helped make a regional superpower of Iran by installing a friendly regime in Iraq.

Is it just me or does that seem – how shall I put this – a trifle incoherent?

But an anniversary isn’t it just a time to look backward. It’s a time to learn the lessons of the past and prepare for the future. So let’s see what lesson we can learn from the ten years in Iraq.

Again, it’s Tony Blair who gives us the clue. What was he telling the BBC tonight, apart from the fact that he has no regrets about what he did in 2003? That the price of not intervening in Syria might be higher than the price of intervening.

In other words, things went so well in Iraq, he can’t wait to repeat the experience in Syria.
Straight-speaking Blair, in a role he can't wait to reprise
So what’s the lesson? When you’re in the kind of place Blair inhabits, you never learn any lessons from history.

And, sadly, most of the people in power today are the worthy successors of Blair, Dubya and their mates.

On this glorious anniversary, look forward to celebrating a lot more of them in the future.

2 comments:

Faith A. Colburn, Author said...

AGREED. ALL OF THE ABOVE.

David Beeson said...

Thanks Faith - always glad to be in agreement with you