The Iraq War
20th March 2003

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That the Iraq War left a nation divided is not in doubt. A million people marched against military action before a single British soldier put their boots on the ground and its political legacy remains toxic a decade on. As Iraq remains at loggerheads with itself and is existentially threatened by the forces of the so-called Islamic State many doubts remain as to whether the conflict was ever justified.

In today's febrile political atmosphere, there is little wonder that the conflict has attracted a slew of conspiracy theories - from almost all shades of opinion. Some on the left believe that the UK was drawn into a war proxy war for resources on behalf of corporate interests - particularly in the USA. On the right, the war is seen as a totem of a strand of hopeless idealism inherent in the left and a kind of self-aggrandising lunacy in the DNA of the last Labour administration.

Perhaps most toxic of all is the way in which minority groups within the UK - most obviously Muslims - have come to the war as part of a larger story in which Islam itself is the target of what is nebulously called 'The West.' The 7/7 suicide bombings on London's underground system and the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby are said to be the 'pigeons coming home to roost' of the UK's involvement with the Iraq War and its Middle East policy in general.

Suspicions abound about the involvement of the security services in the allegedly politicised intelligence offered by the Government as its justification for taking us to war.

The apocryphal story is often told of the French historian who, when asked what the outcome of the Napoleonic Wars was, replied: "it is too early to tell." In a sense, almost all wars can be viewed through different lenses - from the rose-tinted view of the 'winners' to the bitter hatred felt by the 'losers.'

Iraq, however, stands unique in recent times. No other war has so divided opinion or attracted so many eccentric opinions. Often lost among the claim and counter-claims of conspiracy theorists is the very real cost in blood and treasure that it caused - and arguably continues to cause to this day.

See also: conspiracy theories

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 5th November 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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