The European football championship is almost over. 22 teams have lost and only France and Portugal are left, though it is possible to argue that Iceland and Wales are winners, given their expectations. But an analysis of the 10 year long (some would argue still continuing) Iraq War Championship – the Chilcot Report – was released this week. Many have wondered just who ‘won’ this event, but Chilcot made it clear. Everyone lost. And Chilcot explained why.
The Report released this week after 7 YEARS… reported that 179 UK people died in a war justified by President Bush and Prime Ministers Blair and Howard with lies, and implemented blindly with mistakes,secrecy, no end game plan and poor management, a war totally unjustified by the evidence at the time, a war decided by political leaders, not military leaders or even political leadership teams it seems.
So who won? Australia managed to lose only 3 people during this war. The US lost 4,400 people. Perhaps we ‘won’ because we lost the least. Certainly no one seems to argue that the US or the UK ‘won’, despite Saddam Hussein being toppled and democracy being imposed (now there’s a mixed metaphor…).
But no one seems to focus on the Iraqis. Chilcot notes in passing that THEY LOST AT LEAST 500,000 PEOPLE. I’ll say it again. 500,000 PEOPLE.
And is ‘winning’ determined by the number of dead? The numbers of injured are far, far higher, injuries that are often lifelong and personally alienating, with flow on effects such as streams of refChinaugees from Iraq and broken families everywhere.
And what has been achieved by this? The rise of first Al Qaida, and now the rise of ISIS, not to mention all the bombings all over the world and the rise of millions of refugees. Yes, that’s right. The refugees are an outcome of us – the all knowing ‘West’ – and our wonderful attempts to impose democracy on unwilling, unprepared nations. Their lives are ruined because of what our political leaders did in starting the Iraq war.
So who won the Iraq war championship? Australia, because we had the fewest deaths? Iraq, because they got Western democracy for the price of 500,000 lives, lucky them? Or is it really Al Qaida or ISIS, because they became powerful as a result of our stupidity?
No. We all lost. There is not a single ‘winner’ from this war, which is ongoing even after we think it has ‘ended’ because we withdrew finally, having achieved nothing that will last.
What did we learn?
What did we learn? Nothing it seems. The US has subsequently committed troops to Afghanistan and Syria (both total and continuing failures), the U.K. committed to Afghanistan and to bombing Libya), Australia went within an ace of committing troops to Ukraine (really!) after a single (non-Australian) plane was shot down. Now that would have been a good new war game – Australia v Russia played in Ukraine….
What should we learn?
Fighting wars in other people’s countries, in other cultures, without historical context, without global support, based on the lies of power-hungrypolitical and military leaders is rarely – rarely – going to lead to a ‘win’…for anyone.
if I were a dictator, I’d rapidly reduce our international military activities, whatever country I led. We only need to defend our borders, not enter other countries. I’d reduce the amount we spend on military equipment to that required to defend those borders. Australia could almost solve its budget deficit by doing This. Military spending is generally wasteful spending of virtually no value to our health or wellbeing as a society.
When will we learn that military spending, military power does not lead to ‘success’ in someone else’s country? Not so long as we are linked to the US foreign policy. Not till we have the guts to stand up for ourselves, be independent, and let other countries largely sort out their own problems without us invading them. We certainly don’t seem to be able to ‘help’ them.
Despite Chilcot, the first shots of the next war championship already loom. The US – despite its appalling record – wants us to join it in taking on China…in the China Sea over some disputed islands!!! Watch this space for the lessons of the Iraq War Championship (and the Afghan and Syrian and Libyan wars and more) to be ignored again.