Denying blame for the Iraq War

Various political office holders and civil servants and spin doctors have trooped in an out of the inquiry about the Iraq War. Each one has tried to distance himself from the decision to go to war. “Nuffin to do with me, Governor,” seems to be the party line whether it was the former Minister of Defence Mr Hoon, or Mr Alistair Campbell the defence to the invasion of Iraq is a mixture of “let’s blame the intelligence agencies and or George Bush and or Tony Blair and others.

What the Chilcott Inquiry will not enquire into is the number of Iraqi deaths that have occurred as a result of the war. The history books tell us that around 303,000 British service men and women were killed in the Second World War, along with 100,000 Commonwealth troops, and 40,000 merchant seamen. We know that the Germans and Italians suffered far greater losses as did many Soviets and that there were millions of civilians killed because of their religion race or ethnicity. Greece suffered 35,000 military deaths in the Second World War but 700,000 civilian deaths, mainly as a result of starvation, which was a loss of about a fifth of its population.

No one should wish to fight a war unless it is absolutely necessary. In order to decide whether a war is necessary you have to consider all aspects of it and in particular balance the evil that the war is supposed to cure against the outcome. You do not want to use what is supposed to be a medicine as a poison.

How many Iraqis have been killed as a result of the Iraqi war? How many allied forces have been killed? These are two critical questions; yes, the war rightly or wrongly ended the political career and life of Saddam Hussain but at what cost? Mr Blair asserts that the war was worth it.  How can he know without all the facts? Key amongst those facts are the numbers of dead, injured and mutilated as a result of the war.

The British losses have been 179, there have been 4,373 American deaths and 139 soldiers from other forces who have been killed, but no one knows because quite deliberately Mr Bush, Mr Blair and the former Defence Minister Mr Hoon, and all those others failed to put in place any system for counting Iraqi deaths.

It strikes me that until we know how many Iraqis have died as a result of the war, it must be difficult to know whether the war has simply replaced one evil with another equal or worse evil.

For now we shall have to draw assumptions based on the distance that each witness to the Inquiry asserts is the right distance between that person and the Government’s decision to go to war. In the meantime if the war has proved wrong perhaps we should blame Tom Pearce, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, and Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

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