In the wake of Chilcot – a time for regret!

To John Howard, Tony Blair and George W Bush

In late March, early April 2003, Kayla and I attended a rally in Hyde Park protesting against the planned Invasion of Iraq by the “Coalition of the Willing”.

Specifically, these gatherings which numbered, from memory, over 250,000 people across Australia, were against the involvement of Australia in the impending invasion.

The rally was attended by many people very similar to myself and Kayla. People to whom protests such as this were quite foreign, but; who shared a singular foreboding as to what would unfold as a result of this crazy step into the unknown.

The following day I wrote a letter to the SMH setting out what I saw as the folly and pitfalls of this planned war.

The gist of my letter, which unfortunately I cannot find; was that; as the son of a man who had served his country in the second World War Two and as someone to whom Anzac Day had always had a special significance, I and people like me; dreaded the thought of this impending war and the can of worms it would open.

Whilst some of the people and organizations named in that letter have changed, and Al Qaeda has been replaced by ISIS as the chief bogeyman of the West, the prediction of violent turmoil which I imagined at the time of writing that letter, has certainly been played out as a result of our mistake in entering that war.

The so called weapons of mass destruction were being questioned fiercely at the time by Hans Blix, the man appointed by the UN unit to determine whether these weapons actually existed, and yet; you chose to ignore these qualms and proceeded to form an alliance on this vain glorious mission to revenge the tragedy of 9/11.

You had already launched the war in Afghanistan in 2001 in order to punish Osama Bin Laden and his Taliban supporters; I and many others could see the absolute folly of opening up yet another chapter in this personal vendetta whilst Afghanistan was still a major theatre of war.

The sense of frustration and anger experienced by many people as the war in Iraq unfolded, was palpable and yet here we are, some 13 years later; still embroiled in both of these misadventures as the Arab world has progressively deteriorated into schisms of power and conflict.

I don’t know what would have been the result if the West had not intervened in Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein, but the results of leaving this despot in place; could hardly have been worse than the situation which unfolded and which currently exists.

The Chilcot enquiry in England has delivered a scathing verdict on the reasons for, and the execution of; this war. I am bitterly disappointed that even in the face of this damning evidence; you still refuse to concede you may have been wrong.

I wish you had been right; but it is pitifully sad to see what has happened in the intervening years:

Hundreds of thousands of Arab lives lost, the loss of many Allied servicemen, the huge financial cost borne by the countries involved and it appears it has all been for nothing!

The Middle East today is in complete turmoil, Afghanistan is still an intractable basket case where for every minor victory there has been another demoralizing setback and terrorism has become part of all of our lives.

I still do not understand why; when Millions of people across the world could see what would happen as a result of this misadventure, you continued with this invasion.

That you were blinded by vengeance and hubris can be the only reason. This appears to be the sad and desolate findings of the Chilcot Enquiry.

 

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