The Iraq War Was ‘Illegal,’ Says Jeremy Corbyn, Who Would Apologize As Labour’s Next Leader

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.

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.

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.

[Featured Image courtesy of Regulus Star Notes]

[Gallery images via Getty]