One Year On
A year ago today the war on Iraq began. I was one of the people who marched in February 2003, urging the government not to go to war. My brother was a soldier in the war, which meant that the war was a time of worry and tension for me. I still think we were wrong to go to war - pre-emptive attacks are of dubious legality and a dangerous precedent. Saddam Hussein was a dreadful ruler who did terrible things, but there are many others. The time to intervene should have been to prevent the massacres, not to go in and dig up the mass graves.
Today the stop the war coalition is organising a series of rallies and marches around the world. But this time I will not march. It would be irresponsible to withdraw troops before the country is secure (and it clearly is anything but). Politicians must be held to account, and are being. The Spanish government lost an election, and Tony Blair may find that he loses the next one. But, like it or not, the war happened. It is over and we are now in a new situation. Marching against the war is bizzare - it can't be stopped now. Marching to call for the withdrawal of troops is irresponsible.
One year on is a time for reflection. It is a time to ask whether the war was justified, to ask questions of the leaders who took us to war. It is a time to redouble efforts to rebuild Iraq. But why march against a war that has already happened?