Further evidence that our leaders are out of touch with reality is not needed.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday that the world is a better place because of the Iraq War.
Perhaps he has stopped watching the news. That would be understandable, considering that the ripple effect of the US-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 continues to this day. On Sunday, 281 people were killed in a bomb blast at a shopping mall in Baghdad, the capital.
When I heard the news I thought of the period between the two world wars, after the Treaty of Paris created Iraq and Syria out of the rubble of the Ottoman Empire. I remember reading a couple of novels by Agatha Christie titled “Murder in Mesopotamia” and “They came to Baghdad.” The novels were set in Iraq, which Dame Agatha knew well – she had lived there for a few years with her husband, Max Mallowan, the famed archaeologist. They first met in the ancient city of Ur in 1928 and lived in Mosul on and off when they were married. Their association with the country continued until 1963. They discovered many artifacts from ancient Nimrud, most of which were looted by the Assyrians when they invaded Lebanon and Syria. Agatha Christie used her face cream to clean these treasures. During this period of time, Iraq was at peace and the people lived under a fairly liberal constitutional monarchy. It all changed after a revolution in 1958. 58 years later, it continues to get worse. Thankfully, Dame Agatha died in 1976, three years before Saddam came to power. She did not live to see the disaster the country has become.
Mr. Blair’s press conference followed the publication of the Iraq War Inquiry, a six-year project chaired by Sir John Chilcot. The Chilcot Report was scathing in its criticism of Mr. Blair and his role in the war. Amongst other things, he was criticized for so readily going to war alongside the Americans, when peaceful options had not been exhausted. In a memo to President Bush, Mr. Blair wrote he was with him “whatever.” 179 British men and women were killed and hundreds injured. The invasion, which began in March, 2003, brought to the surface the 1,400 year struggle between Sunnis and Shi’ites – a conflict seemingly without end.
Sir John Chilcot finally published the report of the Iraq War Inquiry on Wednesday. I’m surprised it got so little attention in the US as there are implications for former President George W. Bush. There are calls in the United Kingdom, following the publication of the report, for former Prime Minister Tony Blair to be prosecuted as a war criminal. Demonstrators yesterday carried signs with Blair’s name spelt “Bliar!”
To be fair, both Bush and Blair were presented with faulty intelligence that showed Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.” This turned out not to be the case. Mr. Blair said yesterday that if he was presented with the same evidence today, he would make the same decision.
What is utterly amazing is Mr. Blair’s claim that the world is a better place following the removal of Saddam.
One Iraqi in Baghdad, asked to comment on BBC World News following the report, said that if he had the opportunity he would tell Mr. Blair, to his face, that “he is a criminal – and I would spit in his face!” No doubt, feelings about George W. Bush are the same. The invasion of Iraq will negatively affect relations with the West for decades to come. It has already led directly to the creation of ISIS and the growth of Al-Qaeda (which did not exist in Iraq prior to the war). These two terrorist movements seriously imperil the West.
One contributory factor to the war was the naivety of the two western leaders, believing that the overthrow of Saddam and the “introduction” of democracy, would bring regional stability as democracy would spread and, as we all know, democracies do not go to war, a fallacy in itself!
Perhaps all this had to happen. The Middle East is the epicenter of the final apocalyptic events found in both the Christian Bible and in Islam. Thanks to the invasion of Iraq, we now have a Shia arc that embraces Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Over 2,300 years ago, following the death of Alexander the Great, this was the territory of his general Seleucus, the “King of the North” we read about in Daniel 11. Some of the area was taken over by Rome in the first century BC.
A revived King of the North plays a major role in end-time events.
The decision to invade Iraq triggered off so many inter-factional conflicts, it’s impossible for western leaders to begin to comprehend it all. That alone is a very good reason why we should never have got involved in the first place.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done and we will all have to live with the consequences.