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Was the Iraq war lost at home? Intro why go to war Paper

Words: 2360, Paragraphs: 30, Pages: 8

Paper type: Essay , Subject: 2003 Invasion Of Iraq

Was the Iraq war lost at home?

Intro: why go to war with what was once ‘the cradle of civilisation’ (Justin Marozzi – The Sunday Times). Was it Nuclear non-proliferation, no as they would’ve attacked N Korea. Was it to prevent a totalitarian leader, to some extent, yes. Was it for personal advantage, yes as he aimed to get closer relations with the US. However, look at the world pre-2003 and post-2003, they have a resurgence of terrorism and more problems to deal with than to start with.


One argument that strongly supports the Iraq war being lost at home is Blair mis-leading the British public. Blair led his campaign on the Iraq war with nuclear non-proliferation at the forefront of his argument. Claims were made that Iraq posed a potential nuclear threat to the UK as well as to Iraq’s neighbouring countries. However, from the offset, the British public knew they were being lied to; only 30% of the polled UK population approved of Blair’s handling of the situation of Iraq with a net approval rating of 24%. Furthermore, just 24% voted in favour of the war at the current situation when polled on March 16th (four days before the war). 1Blair had claimed the UN forces had been ‘thrown out of Iraq’,2 however, at that current situation, the UN security council had declared that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction. ‘The Iraqi weapons programme had ended in 1991 and nothing new had been produced for the next twelve years’3. It was evident to the public, even before it was found out after the invasion, that there were no weapons of mass destructions possessed by Saddam Hussein, as suggested by the approval rates of war, on March 16. Therefore, one can argue that, since the public’s support had already been lost before the war commenced, Blair and the coalition forces really were trying to win ‘the unwinnable war’4. However, the public only had very limited knowledge, relative to the truth unveiled in reports like the Chilcot, or otherwise known as, the Iraq inquiry. Despite several claims by Blair and the UK government that ‘war was a last resort’ Chilcot discredits this, unveiling that the inquiry ‘concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action was not a last resort’. Furthermore, Chilcot goes on to reveal Blair’s exaggeration of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. The intention of war with Iraq was not something new on the agenda. Blair had long been searching for excuses to invade Iraq as he sought to make a case for military action to MPs and the public5. Was the intention then for nuclear non-proliferation or was there a different incentive for Blair? Of course, we know it was sold with the incentive of disarmament, however, in 2016, the Chilcot report reveals that ‘the judgments about Iraq’s capabilities … were presented with certainty that was not justified’. Blair’s incentive may have been, rather fulfilling his own desires, to gain a closer alliance with the US, so, consequently he disregarded the valuable information of the British intelligence in favour of relying on his personal views instead. This is a breach of democracy in several fashions; the public opinion, as seen in the polls on March 16 were discredited and Blairs personal opinions were favoured over the necessary facts that were lacking to justify war. In a letter to Bush in 2002, Blair states that removing Saddam would free up the region’ even if the Iraqi people felt ‘ambivalent about being invaded’. There was no just incentive for invasion, rather Blair promised Bush ‘I’ll be with you whatever’ in order to secure the British-American alliance and justified the invasion through a regressive memory of Iraq in the early 1990s. To support this, Blair influenced the British intelligence to produce ‘flawed’ information so that the information put out by Britain would match that of Bush’s; Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction. However, even Blair’s personal incentive was distorted. Though many of his actions were justly and judiciously articulated to strengthen the American alliance; ‘Blair was right to weigh the possible consequences for the wider alliance with the US very carefully’ (Chilcot report), it was also true that ‘If the UK had refused to join the US in the war it would not have led to a fundamental or blasting change in the UK’s relationship with the US’. However, it is understandable to comprehend Blair’s stance due to the US’ views on Germany and France’s disapproval on the coalition. In both September 2002 and February 2003, two dossiers were issued by Blair’s government; the September Dossier and the Iraq or ‘dodgy’ Dossier. These epitomise the extent of the breaches of democracy made to enable war. Robin Cook aptly writes in his resignation letter ‘I cannot give my support to military action in these circumstances’, without a second UN resolution. ‘With regret I resign’. Lies sold to the people, (approval ratings- Blair moved the Labour Party so central he may have crossed over to right, given his robust manner on the Iraq war).

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30% approve Blair’s handling of the situation by March 16 with a net approval rating of –24%. ( 26% voted in favour of war, in March 16th, telling us that Blair effectively betrayed his people by invading and though he may have claimed otherwise, he was not acting with the national interest in mind. Labour supporters are split on the Prime Minister’s performance: 46% approve of Tony Blair’s handling of the Iraq situation, while 41% disapprove. Conservatives disapprove by 56% to 34%, and Lib Dems by 71% to 16%. It is evident that both the public and Parliament were against the war on Iraq, so, this leaves one jarred as to why Blair would decide to commence war. His defence was

As of March 2006, approximately ?4.5 billion ($6.8 billion) had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq. (

All of this money has come from a government fund called the “Special Reserve” which at the time had an allocation of ?7.4 billion ($9.49 billion). According to the Ministry of Defence, the total cost of the UK military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2009 was ?8.4 billion.(

Official calculations stated that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined cost ?20.3 billion (up to but not beyond June 2010). ( “Afghanistan and Iraq ‘have cost taxpayers ?20bn’ (October 2011)”. The Daily Telegraph. London. 2010-06-20).

No-Blair, America’s puppet; lies sold to him. So, why would he lie to his people, to some extent one can argue he believed what he was doing and it was him being lied to by America –

Bacevich – ‘One senses that this was what the likes of [Vice President Dick] Cheney, [Secretary of Defence Donald] Rumsfeld, and [Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul] Wolfowitz (urged on by militarists cheering from the side-lines and with George W. Bush serving as their enabler) intended all along. By leaving intact and even enlarging the policies that his predecessor had inaugurated, President Barack Obama has handed these militarists an unearned victory. As they drag themselves from one “overseas contingency operation” to the next, American soldiers must reckon with the consequences. So too will the somnolent American people be obliged to do, perhaps sooner than they think’. (

They were conned by these three and Bush, for example

IJ- One can conclude that, although America certainly played a role in luring Blair’s alliance and enforcing distorted facts for Blair to voice to the British people, Blair certainly wasn’t a puppet to the US. Blair actively ignored British intelligence information that proved Saddam not to be an imminent threat. The loss at home occurred as, with any war, it is fundamental to solely give straight facts to the public. This was not the case with the Iraq war, so, Blair’s innate desire to persuade and therefore involve emotion into what should only be straight facts played a significant role in the lies the British people were sold, to justify the catastrophic war with Iraq. When considering the public consensus, Blair effectively betrayed his people by invading Iraq. Although he may have claimed otherwise, he was not acting with the national interest in mind and rather ironically, acted in a totalitarian fashion, breaching the voice of democracy, whilst claiming to stop a dangerous totalitarian leader. Arguably the coalition caused more danger than a that Saddam could have caused without invasion.

Though to a certain extent he was fooled by the America’s incentive, he wasn’t completely blind to this. As were the British public who avidly questioned his decisions in the special Newsnight Iraq war special on BBC, hosted by Jeremy Paxman. He did lie to the British public even with the information he was given, and this was essentially because, when ignoring the incentives for America, Blair felt his duty was to sustain his position as America’s closest ally. Especially in a time where other countries were weary of America’s motives, for example France who were against war, it was his chance to solidify his relationship with the superpower and increase Britain’s power on a global stage, outside of Europe. Chose to ignore UK intelligence by Campbell. Wanted to accept lies of America to gain alliance.


We should question media’s involvement. We always ask what can we learn from history, despite us not necessarily learning from history even though the question is asked so frequently e. g. didn’t learn from Vietnam, hence Iraq) but, should we instead not have learnt from the significant role the media plays rather than the political actions carried out. After all, it is the media that lure the public into support for the war, playing a big factor in enabling it to happen. So, when the public comprehend the unjust causes of the war, they feel the war was lost due to them being ‘tricked’ by the media at home.


Ultimately they still used information from politicians and only voiced these views, they aren’t responsible for creating the incentive in the first place.


should be fair reporting act in UK, democracy can’t run with this, undermines democracy, its what we vote for, so, allowing misinformation to go around causing the public opinion to be led


Poor handling of the situation once war commenced. as although it was already lacking support before, by March 16, the approval rating dropped further after the war due to the catastrophic consequences. This is especially interesting as unlike many other wars, the approval, dropped rather than rose after soldiers were deployed. Of course, no other war was as unpopular beforehand as this one was. The results after led to ISUS (explain) and instability in the power vacuum in Iraq. Didn’t fill this vacuum. Saddam had ISUS and all the other religious sects totally under control until the invasion, which, destabilised Iraq, killed 150,000 Iraqis and ‘opened a can of worms’ (Saddam Hussein). Arab League chief Amr Moussa rounded off a foreign ministers meeting in Cairo with a warning that a strike against Iraq would “open the gates of hell” in a region already “angry and frustrated” at Israel’s actions against the Palestinians during their nearly two-year conflict. “We will continue to work to avoid a military confrontation … because we believe that it will open the gates of hell in the Middle East,” Moussa told a news conference after the two-day meeting ended with a statement rejecting “any threat of attack” against Iraq. ( Geography of conflict changed, diverting focus from campaigning focus on the Palestinian.

Boston University’s Andrew Bacevich says the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, but stresses that the “disastrous legacy” of the war transcends lives lost or dollars spent. (

CFR’s Max Boot says it may be premature to assess the benefits but there remains a chance for Iraq to serve as “a model for the Arab Spring.” (ibid)

Michael Ignatieff, an academic, human rights advocate, and initial supporter of the war, says groups like the Kurds and the Shia in Iraq have gained. But it’s “difficult to believe the war was worth it,” he says, given the damage to U.S. credibility, the strengthening of Iran, and the lack of stability in Iraq. (ibid)

Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and History, Boston University Yet few of those defenders have demonstrated the moral courage — or is it simple decency — to consider who paid and what was lost in securing Saddam’s removal… Recalling that Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to al-Qaeda both turned out to be all but non-existent, a Churchillian verdict on the war might read thusly: Seldom in the course of human history have so many sacrificed so dearly to achieve so little. (Ibid).

As of March 2006, approximately ?4.5 billion ($6.8 billion) had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq. (

All of this money has come from a government fund called the “Special Reserve” which at the time had an allocation of ?7.4 billion ($9.49 billion). According to the Ministry of Defence, the total cost of the UK military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2009 was ?8.4 billion.(

Official calculations stated that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined cost ?20.3 billion (up to but not beyond June 2010). ( “Afghanistan and Iraq ‘have cost taxpayers ?20bn’ (October 2011)”. The Daily Telegraph. London. 2010-06-20).


Critics will claim that no gains could be worth the price we paid — over 4,400 lost lives and untold hundreds of billions of dollars. But we paid a far higher price in the Korean War (36,000 dead). Few would have thought in 1953 that this war, which ended with a deadlocked and ravaged peninsula, was a raging success. The outcome looks considerably better nearly six decades later, now that South Korea has become one of the most prosperous and freest countries in the world. Also kurds now more liberated and free, like S Koreans.


We always fought for democracy but since we allowed for untruth to go on, allow lies and exaggerate problems, and do war despite democracy not wanting. Fair reporting very important. Despite several inquiries they were labelled as ‘white wash’ inquiries – nobody actually held accountable, sitting on the fence, spreading faults across so many points.

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