Mission Statement

Mission Statement

Friday, July 8, 2016

Iraqi Lives Don't Matter


The bitter political debate over the 2003 Iraq War resumed once again on Wednesday in the United Kingdom and the United States, thanks to the release of a report on the British role in the invasion and occupation.

Parsing the report, prepared by a committee of Privy Counsellors chaired by Sir John Chilcot, will take time since it runs to 2.6 million words, but the reaction online has already begun. Partisans for and against the war are sifting through the text for new details that might support their original positions, a reminder that Iraq has only ever mattered to most Americans and Britons as material for attacks on their political opponents.

That becomes glaringly obvious when you compare the intensity and volume of commentary on the report to how relatively little was said about a suicide bombing in Baghdad on Sunday that killed 250 Iraqis.

One current of reaction to the report in Britain focused on what it revealed about the startling lack of planning for the post-war governance and rebuilding of Iraq. Angus Robertson, the leader of the Scottish National Party in the British Parliament, compared the lack of foresight displayed then to the current government’s failure to prepare for the British exit from the European Union before putting the matter up for a vote in last month’s referendum.

One of the first former officials to defend the war, despite the deadly chaos it unleashed that has yet to be contained, was David Frum, George W. Bush’s speechwriter, whose claim to fame was coining two-thirds of the phrase “Axis of Evil.”

He was soon followed by an unrepentant Tony Blair, the former British prime minister whose private letters to George Bush released with the report revealed that he was involved in the plan to use the September 11 attacks as an excuse to topple Saddam Hussein as early as October 11, 2001.

When Blair appeared at a news conference to say that he still considered the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power the right call, he was condemned by the relatives of British soldiers who were killed in the war and roundly heckled online.

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