If Jeremy Corbyn is elected, which seems likely according to a recent poll, he will apologize to the British public for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The apology follows years of analysis of the legality of the Iraq war and the Chilcot Enquiry results which are yet to be published.
New Labour, which began when Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister in 1997, began a series of moves which saw the government claiming that the will of the people, even if a majority of the British public, was inferior to the individual ideas of Tony Blair. Eighty-one percent of the British public disagreed that Blair had a mandate to supersede the U.N. in unilaterally attacking Iraq in 2003. This meant that Tony Blair and the Labour party had sided with the Americans in supporting George Bush’s plan to remove Saddam Hussain from power despite any solid evidence that Iraq posed a threat to the West or even its own neighbours.
The IAEA, for those keeping track, was the body that investigated Iraq and found no WMD, and who were dismissed as patsies by hawks.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 21, 2015
It is, of course, understandable that no political party would want to accept blame for anything, especially a war which has cost the U.K. alone £30 billion. The total cost of the war stands at $2 trillion. To put this into perspective, this amount of money could be used to end world poverty 11 times over. Instead, the money was used to destroy the regime and infrastructure of Iraq which, according to scholars, has resulted in the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) which poses a substantially greater threat to the world than Saddam, or any other force we have ever known, has posed before.
As heartening the apology is to people who have always believed the Iraq war would not help the world achieve peace, no apology could ever repair the damage — socially, politically and economically — to the world. The Iraq war has seriously damaged the credibility of the West, assuring that the “clash of civilizations” first described by Samuel P. Huntington, is closer to reality as tensions between the West and Middle East have never been higher as demonstrated by the murders at Charlie Hebdo, the publication who parodied not just Mohammed in his cartoons, but also all religious icons, including Christ himself. The consensus is that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam.
— Hard Copy News (@hardcopynews) August 18, 2015
On the other hand, the Iraq war is seen as a justification for such attacks against the West and Corbyn’s apology seeks to begin a new dialogue with extremists to show that not all people share the opinion that there is no debate to be had over the role of Western military intervention in sovereign Middle Eastern countries, despite a minority of detractors. Corbyn has said repeatedly that he is not friends with Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and Islamic State, but rather that he would, as his campaign asserts, support opening peaceful dialogues as opposed to repeating the mistake of the Iraq war which favored bombs over diplomacy.
“Peace will not be achieved in the Middle East without dialogue. Entering into dialogue necessarily entails speaking with groups whose positions Jeremy does not support.”
Just as the mistakes of World War I are the topic of historians a hundred years on, Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that we must learn from history and not answer violence with more violence. The Iraq war, and the illegality of the invasion orchestrated by Tony Blair and George Bush against the will of the overwhelming majority of their citizens, will most surely be a main topic for the next hundred years.
The Iraq War Was ‘Illegal,’ Says Jeremy Corbyn, Who Would Apologize As Labour’s Next Leader
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - APRIL 9: (FILE PHOTO) U.S marines and Iraqis are seen on April 9, 2003 as the statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is toppled at al-Fardous square in Baghdad, Iraq. The third year anniversary since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein will be marked on April 9, 2006 amidst continued unrest in Iraq, where over 30, 000 civilians have been reported to be killed since the start of the war. (Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie /Getty Images)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - JANUUARY 1: (FILE PHOTO) Iraqi President Saddam Hussein smiles January 1, 2001 while attending a military show in Baghdad, Iraq. The overthrown Iraqi dictator has been reportedly captured by US forces in his hometown of Tikrit December 13, 2003. (Photo by Getty Images)
IRAQ- DECEMBER 14: A handout photo of Saddam Hussein after his capture is seen December 14, 2003 in Iraq. U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein near his home town of Tikrit. DNA tests have confirmed that the man captured by U.S. forces in Tikrit was ousted president Saddam Hussein. (Photo by U.S. Army via Getty Images)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - MARCH 31: This image, showing the special security office in Baghdad, Iraq before a U.S. airstrike, was released by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) March 31, 2003 in Washington, D.C.. The DoD has released photos and updates of the war in Iraqi almost daily since the beginning of "Operation Iraqi Freedom." (Photo by DoD/Getty Images)
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: British Labour Party leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn addresses over a thousand supporters during a tea-time meeting as part of a nationwide leadership campaign at the Town Hall on August 18, 2015 in Middlesbrough, England. The Labour party leadership election was triggered by the resignation earlier in the year of Ed Miliband following the party's defeat at the general election. Four candidates were successfully nominated to stand, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall. The result of the campaign will be announced on Saturday 12 September 2015. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 14 : Labour Leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech during his campaign in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on August 14, 2015 in Edinburgh Scotland. Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn is holding rallies across Scotland, where he has spoken of his opposition to a renewal of Trident and his willingness to work with the SNP in fighting the Welfare Reform Bill. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
[Featured Image courtesy of Regulus Star Notes]
[Gallery images via Getty]