Friday, July 08, 2016

Historical Introspection

"Not a single day [passes without introspection over decisions taken in the Iraq War."
"[About which he accepts responsibility, feeling] more sorrow and regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe."
"[But he did take Britain to war] in good faith [and] there were no lies [from his government pre-invasion]."
"I did it because I thought it was right."
former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

War in Iraq - Images of War, Destruction, and Madness

Was there ever an enquiry when the hugely popular Margaret Thatcher as Britain's no-nonsense prime minister decided her country would go to war over the perennial dispute on the Falklands Islands to blast the hell out of the Argentinian navy? Her popularity simply rose, and she was hailed as a heroic figure. That was a stupid war, to defend colonial ownership of an island far from the mother country. Attacking Iraq may have been no less stupid, when we weigh the unforeseen and ill-prepared-for consequences.

Except that people steeped in Middle East, Arabic and Islamic historical precedents warned that unseating Saddam Hussein, brutal monster and killing machine that he was, would unleash a hell on Earth for the country, inviting fanatical Islamists to invade and compete for followers, and this is just what happened, thanks to Syria's infamously porous borders, happily admitting al-Qaeda jihadis into a forlorn Iraq, freed from its murdering tyrant.

And, of course, freeing majority Iraqi Shiites and minority Sunnis recently kicked out of the seat of power along with their strongman, to mount bloody attacks against one another, leading to the deaths altogether of an estimated 150,000 Iraqis. So, despite Saddam's war against the Marsh Arabs, against Iran, against the Kurds in Iraq and any who might dare to challenge his power, it wasn't such a good idea, even based on the fears that were pumped into a belief that he was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair's bad decision to join the impulsive U.S. President George W. Bush in his private mission in Iraq, to bring Democracy to the benighted savages, eager to slaughter one another aside, the weapons of mass destruction that never were, now are. For the removal of the Sunni Baathist Saddam gave opportunity to the Islamic Republic of Iran to increase its influence and power and Iran is now on the cusp of acquiring its very own nuclear weaponry arsenal; what Saddam only dreamed of doing.

As for the Western passion for removing bloody tyrants, we now have Syria's President Bashar al-Assad far outdistancing Saddam in mass slaughter. Close to a half-million Sunni Syrians have lost their lives because Assad considers them "terrorists" for rebelling against his Alawite Baathist rule. All of which goes to prove that in the Middle East there are no assurances, and it doesn't take much to upset a tenuously flinty applecart.

Where, with the U.S.-led invasion into Iraq, a million refugees resulted, the decision by the U.S. to do nothing when Assad began to slaughter his own has resulted in half of the entire Syrian population becoming both internal and external refugees; the external refugees languishing in camps in neighbouring countries, with well over a million flooding into Europe.

Which really speaks volumes in unintended consequences.

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