The war and the occupation have been a catastrophe in many ways—no wonder the Prime Minister has been desperately searching for a different legacy.
Attempts to justify that illegal war have fallen away one by one. We were told that there were weapons of mass destruction: none was found. The war would help to deliver a middle east solution: not done. It would promote human rights: numerous atrocities have been committed by the occupiers—Falluja, Haditha, the official and unofficial death squads, Abu Ghraib and the secret prisoners. Last March, Amnesty International said that 14,000 people were being held without charge or trial, in breach of international law.
We were told that the war would deliver freedom: freedom to flee. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says that 12 per cent. of Iraqis—approximately 4 million people—have fled their homes since the 2003 invasion due to violence. We were told there would be a chance for Iraqis to prosper; instead, there is impoverishment and millions still depend on food rations. Only 30 per cent. of eligible children attend primary schools, and 33 per cent. of children suffer malnutrition. No wonder the latest poll shows that 91 per cent. of Iraqis believe that their country is worse off now than before the 2003 war, and that 95 per cent. think that the security situation has deteriorated since the arrival of US forces.