"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." –Vice President Dick Cheney, "Meet the Press," March 16, 2003
Five years on and the total and utter disaster and complete charnel house that is Iraq is still killing, maiming, breeding terror and eating money like a black hole. So how did we get into this? We must not forget that there are people in our communities who put us there. They must take their share of the guilt and blame for the over a million dead, the millions of refugees, the boost to militant Islam and that they have leached they from the South West - just over £1.2 billion by my calculations.
(I make it £1,232,590,223 - that is the proportional SW cost per person in the UK based around the independent Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz's calculation that the war will cost the UK £20 billion)
There is still, rightly so, so much anger at this clusterfuck, to quote John Harris writing about the failed protest march before the war;
"But the larger tale of what the march and its aftermath say about our estrangement from Westminster still seems bleak. At its heart is a feeling that is still with us: the disorientation that comes from passing through the biggest political rupture in living memory - a matter not just of the disastrous invasion, but the deceit that surrounded it - and beholding a political elite that still wants to keep the public's sustained disquiet at arm's length, and carry on speaking the language of Business As Usual."
Just so we don't forget, this is a list of the South West politicians who voted against the rebel amendment saying there was no moral case for war against Iraq in 2003;
Ms Jean Corston (Lab, Bristol East)
Ms Dawn Primarolo (Lab, Bristol South)
Dr Liam Fox (Cons, Woodspring)
Gary Streeter (Cons, Devon South West)
Hugo Swire (Cons, Devon East)
Ben Bradshaw (Lab, Exeter)
David Jamieson (Lab, Plymouth Devonport)
Mrs Linda Gilroy (Lab, Plymouth Sutton)
Mrs Angela Browning (Cons, Tiverton & Honiton)
Laurence Robertson (Cons, Tewkesbury)
Ian Liddell-Grainger (Cons, Bridgwater)
Adrian Flook (Cons, Taunton)
David Heathcoat-Amory (Cons, Wells)
Michael Ancram (Cons, Devizes)
Michael Wills (Lab, Swindon North)
Ms Julia Drown (Lab, Swindon South)
James Gray (Cons, Wiltshire North)
Robert Key (Cons, Salisbury)
This list is far from exhaustive; there are other ways you could interpret the various twists and turns in the run-up and persecution of the war. There are also plenty of people within big-business and the media of the South West who, either through subtle or blatant policy and editorial helped to push us into war; for example newspaper magnate Sir Ray Tindle’s decision to stop printing anti-war stories. They must also share the blame.
Iraq is not going to go away. It is good to see people looking at the root causes of war; such as the arms trade and how we can stop it, such as the Smash EDO tour. The elites cannot be trusted to stop the killing or with our future. Take the words of Tom Bradby speaking on the ITN Evening News, April 10, 2003;
"This war has been a major success"