Iraq? Is That Thing Still Going On?

19 March 2008

Here's a thought. When George W. Bush gave the ultimatum for Saddam, Uday and Qusay Hussein to leave Iraq, when Egypt offered them amnesty - what if Saddam had rung Hosni Mubarak and said "I'm just going to throw a few things in a bag; put some beers on ice and I'll see you soon"? Would the invasion have gone ahead anyway?

When Bush gave his "Saddam and his sons have 48 hours to leave Iraq..." speech five years ago, we all watched gathered around the TV in the office (it was ab out 1pm in Australia), and everyone turned to me, the office's 23-year-old international relations expert, for my opinion. "It's not going to happen," I said of the Husseins leaving Iraq, "and even if it did...we're going to war no matter what. And it will go on forever."

It's one of those times in life when I wish I'd been wrong. Five years after the invasion, that thing is still going on. Where do you even start, saying what's wrong with Iraq and what's gone wrong in Iraq? With the insane doctrine of pre-emption? The cost of the war, the civilian body count, or the Coalition troops killed? How about that, far from reducing the risk of terrorism, Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists?

Yes, all of the above. But Iraq is part of a far more ancient human problem: bullies who have to have their own way, and won't admit they're wrong. The Australian government was part of it, and I am ashamed.

History will regard the Iraq invasion and war as one of the greatest mistakes ever committed by government, anywhere.

And Dick Cheney says it's been a success.


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