Iraq 10 years on: Blair and Bush have blood on their hands

Published: March 21, 2013
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In an ideal world I, like many, would like to see both Blair and Bush tried for war crimes in an international court.

When former British Prime Minister Tony Blair proudly proclaimed on BBC News that he had “no regrets” about the war in Iraq 10 years on, I was so disgusted, I had to switch the television off and try to calm myself down.

In these 10 years, over 600,000 civilians have been killed, a civil war ensues and no so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were ever found. I must highlight that people died on both sides. Despite whatever opinion we may have of US troops, 4,488 American soldiers and marines were killed and thousands were left with severe disabilities in the aftermath.

Tomas Young, a veteran paralysed by injuries sustained while serving in Iraq and now on the brink of death, wrote a personal and heart breaking letter to George Bush highlighting the horrific realities of the US-led invasion.

He said;

“I write this letter on behalf of the some one-million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all – the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.”

“I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans -my fellow veterans – whose future you stole.”

It is fair to say that Bush and Blair’s war was, in fact, based on a big lie.

The constant fear reiterated over and over about Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons programme being deployed – a public relations strategy used to try and win over support for this illegal and preemptive invasion failed to convince the masses, yet the “coalition of the willing” still went ahead.

At the time, we took to the streets all over the UK and marched in thousands chanting “Not in our name Mr Blair,” in the biggest anti-war demonstrations Britain has ever seen. But our prime minister didn’t listen. Our taxpayers’ money was going to be spent on a war we didn’t want.

What was the real reason for this war?

Was it 9/11 even though Iraq had nothing to do with the twin tower attacks?

Oil?

Evidently American company Halliburton couldn’t wait to get its fingers deeper in the black gold of the Middle East. Or, was Saddam Hussein really a danger to the west and its allies?

Saddam Hussein was a hero to some, but a tyrant to others. Who can forget how he persecuted Shia Muslims and more notably, when he gassed thousands of Kurds in Halabja with chemical weapons. Images of dead children from the 1988 massacre should have been enough to try the Ba’ath party leader for war crimes.

When I ask Iraqis if their country is better off since foreign troops touched the ground, opinions are varied. But a vast proportion agree that Iraq is now worse than it has ever been.

A corrupt puppet in office (Nour al-Maliki), that discriminates against Sunni Muslims, further poverty and sectarian violence at its peak has crumbled the country and proven costly to America, which spent over $800,000 billion so far.

For me, one of the most saddening things about Iraq is the post-war effect. Fallujah was at the centre of the US and UK military campaign and now, more than half of the babies conceived after the foreign invasion are born with deformed and missing limbs, brain damage, tumours and heart defects.

These innocent children were born into an uncertain country because of Bush and Blair.

Iraqi babies will continue to grow up suffering the side effects of depleted uranium weapons used to bomb their towns.

What about Tony and George?

Where are they now?

After standing down as prime minister, Tony Blair, for reasons I still cannot understand, was appointed as the UN Middle East peace envoy, which is like pouring salt over a wound.

British MP George Galloway once famously remarked:

“Tony Blair being Middle East peace envoy is like making Harold Shipman spokesman for Help the Aged.”

Shipman, who he referred to, was one of the most prolific serial killers in UK history.

George Bush, whose idiocy was synonymous to that of a clown while in office now enjoys a “low key” role in charitable organisations, but his past actions will never be forgotten.

Ten years on, a BBC correspondent walked calmly through Baghdad’s book market, telling viewers that filming openly would never have been allowed during Saddam Hussein’s time. In this particular news package, a free democracy was portrayed, all of which is not true in my eyes.

I see a country ruined because of a pointless war that will take decades to fix.

After British and American troops withdrew from Iraq, there was no triumph or victory. What is there to celebrate?

During the same BBC interview, Tony Blair suggested that there should also be military intervention in Syria. I kept thinking, doesn’t he have enough Arab blood on his hands?

In an ideal world I, like many, would like to see both Blair and Bush tried for war crimes in an international court. This is the only positive thing I can hope for.

Motown producer Norman Whitfield famously wrote the song War to protest against the US campaign against Vietnam back in 1969:

“War means tears

To thousands of mothers eyes

When their sons go to fight

And lose their lives

I said, war, huh

Good God, y’all

What is it good for

Absolutely nothing.”

These lyrics will always be applicable before Iraq and after.

Read more by Zab here, or follow her on Twitter @zabmustafa

Zab Mustefa

Zab Mustefa

Zab Mustefa is a British journalist who specialises in women's rights and culture. She tweets @zabmustefa (twitter.com/zabmustefa)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Umar

    After reading this text I’m sure that West is running from their responsibility. A responsibility which they should take after this war. They should help all the Iraqi people and not run away. This is Western countries real face. We all know why they attacked Iraq and what was there real intention?. My hate to these people is growing and growing. We Muslims should always use the mouth and not anything else. We should believe on justices from Allah (subhanahu wa’ta’ala) and don’t lose hope brothers. Recommend

  • antanu g

    @author
    what have u written? beware of the so called liberals in your own country who will be after your blood since for them US and UK are the truest champions of human rights and secularism. BUSH and BLAIR are like demigods for them.Recommend

  • antanu g

    but is equally surprising how an article instead of ridiculing your own country could dare to criticize another.Recommend

  • antanu g

    but is equally surprising how an article instead of ridiculing your own country could dare to criticize another. as for your views are concerned though an Indian I fully agree with you . present state of the world is due to the evil acts of the two gentleman u have mentioned.it provided previously subdued groups with weird ideologies to terrorize the planet.Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @author

    What do you have to say about Saddam Hussain and 9/11. I supported th war because Saddam was a terrorist. Also what do you have to say about 07/07/2005 ? What do you have to say about British pakistani who blew up buses and subway stations in London. Once you condemn them, I will restart assessing my view points. Saddam gassed Kurds and killed shias in scores. Please read the history and provide a balanced perspective on things. Recommend

  • True that!

    You have simply hit the nail on its head! Atleast someone dared identify criminals, well written!Recommend

  • I read it too…

    Gotta say it is a great peace. The real thing is that our corporate dem-mock-cratik (‘democratic’) leaders learn from such debacles; or we make them understand…Recommend

  • Stranger

    Yes till date after 2 decades they are not able to find the WMD Weapons of Mass Destruction. thats one unpardonable sin. Ganging up in a planned manner and slowly spreading ( some true / some false ) propoganda against one nation in a systematic manner .What they have done to the next generation is unpardonable. The land beneath is now infertile for new cultivation. No scholorshops for Iraqi children / no med care. what is going to happen.Recommend

  • Maha Ahmad

    @Mehdi are you stupid? Didn’t she just write a whole paragraph on the Kurds and Shia? Did you actually read the article? Before you get all angry actually try reading the full thing.Recommend

  • Maha Ahmad

    I agree 100% on this post. The author didn’t imply that Saddam Hussein was good. It’s put in the simplest terms about Iraq. What has Pakistan got to do with this @Medhi? Iraq was never involved in any terrorist attack including 9/11 and July London 7/7 so what’s your point? Recommend

  • Vista 1

    I’m still baffled that someone like George “Dubya” Bush was ever in office.Recommend

  • Bashir

    Since Bush and Blair started their war mongering, the ME and SE Asia has never been the same. They caused havoc with their so called war on terror, first in Iraq, then over to Afghanistan and now it shifted over to Pakistan.

    Poor Afghanistan has never seen peace. The Soviets then Taliban and now NATO. We in Pakistan never had these problems of extremism until American soldiers landed in Afghanistan. Recommend

  • abdul g mohommed

    Colonialists…… What else are they good for? They go to other lands, steal it, take the natural resources and then leave the country in shambles. Proven through history.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Your anger is justified.
    The first lie to justify the invasion of Iraq is now being watered down to ‘ regime change was necessary ‘ In time the human cost will not allow this lie also to stand, and then maybe the truth in Bill Clinton’s now famous lines ‘ because I could ‘, when asked why he indulged himself in the Monica case, will come out.Recommend

  • Insaan

    Most people in Iraq have died of in fighting.Recommend

  • mr k

    The writer of this article rocks! Hits the nail on the head about 9/11 and the “black gold”!Recommend

  • mehdi

    @Maha Ahmad:

    Please refrain from name calling such as “Stupid”. I have read the the entire article. If the author wants to condemn US and all allied forces for the atrocities committed in Iraq, then she is completely wrong. I do understand her feelings. I also expressed my anger too. Because the author failed to explicitly condemn Saddam Hussein and shia killings. Post 9/11 security situation warranted war in Iraq, Afghanistan,covert operations in Pakistan and many other places. I am Muslim and I want to live in peace. But there are many extremists who use Islamic edicts and verses from Holy Qur’an to justify terrorists acts. Please try to see things from a balanced perspective. In US where I live, many Muslim showed their displeasure towards me for supporting the war. I am not a war monger er, but at times war is a necessary evil. In many Muslim countries I am considered an infidel because I am a shia and killing me is considered a great act according to some.

    I am guessing you are living in a free western society, please exercise your right to protest against atrocities.

    This is a Pakistani newspaper, it is considered fashionable and great act to condemn the west for all bad things happening to Muslims. The difference between you and me is that when Islamic edicts are used to abuse women, I find that to be an act of terrorism. My vision for peace has a wider coverage. If Bush and Blair has blood in their hands so are many Muslim leaders and Ulemas. In hind sight, what would you have done to remove Saddam Hussein ?Recommend

  • mehdi

    @Bashi If you can have a bigoted leaders like Zia, then Bush compare to him is a saint. Talking in relative term.Recommend

  • Demi

    What goes around comes around. Need I say more? People will always get their commupances Recommend

  • Ayesha

    I hate how Tony Blair looks in every TV appearance I see him in. Ever notice how he never answers the question. He’s firmly professionally trained in PR speak. Recommend

  • star of david

    Yes they should they are worse than criminals. Recommend

  • Raj

    Saddam didn’t bring Islam into it so yes I agree Americans had no business being in Iraq. But, Afghanistan is a completely different story. We’re now in a long battle against extremists and innocent people are dying needlessly at the hands of terrorists which have came to India so we need armies here to protect us. Recommend

  • Salma

    yes yes so right about these men.Recommend

  • amused

    LOL @ George Galloway quote. Legend!Recommend

  • zahid r

    Talk more about how America preaches about human rights Where is the justice there??!!Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @author

    I would humbly request you to examine the Muslim world closely. Maliki was elected by Iraqis in an election that was deemed to be fair and free. You can dispute that and I am willing to accept your credible references. So please don’t call him a puppet because Sunnis don’t like him. If Sunnis are suffering in Iraq then it is their own doing. All act of terrorism in Iraq are carried out by Sunni extremists. Other minorities have been affected by them. They can easily cooperate with the current govt and build a prosperous Iraq. But again they just don’t want to give up their elitist attitudes that they were so used to during Saddam era. They want to continue oppressing Shias. Iraq now belongs to the rightful majority people, who were oppressed by minority for hundreds of years. Like you were angry at BBC, I am also disappointed at your biased writing. I do see some hidden bias towards Shia from you. Falluja was a hotbed for Sunni takfiris.

    Let me inform you something about UK laws, they are fair. If tony Blair was responsible for killing so many innocent Iraqis, then legal action would have been taken against him and Bush by now. It was not Blair who declared the war, it was your parliament. I do understand your point of view since you are Muslim. being a Muslim, you can view this war an attack on Islam but that is not the case. Many Muslim were unhappy when Saddam Hussain was executed. I do respect your right to an opinion and I commend you for doing so. My wish is that all Muslims should live in peace among themselves, and respect other faith and their follower as they would like to be treated.Recommend

  • Khaksar

    Never ceases to amaze me, why Muslims raise their voices only when their namesakes are involved. Guess the rest of humanity is just…well……sad.Recommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN

    I wonder where did my comment go??? Or was the truth too much to handle for the author/ moderators? Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Iraq did not have WMDs, we all knew. Indian Govt had at the time said so, many world powers had also said this.

    This is not news.

    I am more observant why people only concentrate on the injustices of West, India, Israel. I am not saying such issues don’t have their merit, they do.

    What my point it when was the last time you saw Pakistanis discussing the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Or, the Tibet issue, where Tibetan monks are setting themselves on fire in protest of Chinese occupation.

    The latter will not be discussed(I’ve barely seen news reports mentioning the burning monks) as Pakistan is an Islamic country, they are more concerned with the lives of Muslims.

    But, you never hear columns(to be fair you do, but only people like Irfan Hussain of Dawn does discuss, but people like him are in minute numbers) about the Chinese persecution of Uighurs in Pakistan. And, Uighurs are Muslims.

    Why are Pakistanis writing articles about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, about US/UK’s injustices against Iraqis, but never… ever.. against the Chinese?

    Uighurs are Muslim too, just like the Iraqis. Does it have to do with the money China gives to Pakistan and all the weapons? Does money and weapons and influence vetoes the feeling of Ummah and Islamic Brotherhood? Uighurs are right next door to Pakistan, just like the poor Kashmiris.

    US, UK, India, Israel bad. China good. The mind does not want to think about or even entertain any narrative which informs of the opposite. Nowadays I hear even Russia is favorable for most Pakistan. Is that the reason why you don’t hear about Chechnya? Recommend

  • antanu g

    @mehdi you are speaking the language of hate and under shia _sunni backdrop. sadly you missed the point raised by the author… obviously a biased mind is foggy… and borders on stupidity. the question is if killing over a million people in iraq is justified by the west and people like u then why US and its allies placed a resolution in UN. agInst Sri Lanka for human rights violations…? funny thing is US failed in iraq and Afghanistan but Srilanka succeeded in wiping out the terrorism. it is clearly the matter of intentions..Recommend

  • Abbas

    It’s true. I feel the same sick in my belly when I see the insane war on Iraq and Afghanistan . Shame on their western values, ethics and morals which I so much value and practice. Recommend

  • Abbas

    I feel sorry for all those Americans soldiers and Iraqis who lost their lives in Iraq war …….! Both parties who lost their lives or love ones were and are still innocent …….because the Americans trusted those who send them to this fake WMDs war ….the Americans believed their govt and that’s why for me that’s why the Americans are innocent …..I know Americans if they know the truth they would never dare to attack any innocent Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii

    I like people who propogate Human rights/peace etc., in this world.
    I like people who say that we should negotiate and only negotiate against any armed/violent attacks.
    I like people who said that saddam was bad for some good for some.
    there suggestion is the so called world leaders should only talk (give lip service) to all human rights violations in other countries……
    …………………
    moral of the above story.
    America should not have attacked Iraq until Iraq had attacked america.
    Until then what ever happens in between it should simply keep negotiating, keep talking.
    ……………………
    are we seeing WWII repeat………
    America was not intervening ( taking active role ) in WWII until US was bombed.
    Until then it was only shipping out materials for war.
    …………
    Recommend

  • Super Star

    @Bashir

    “We in Pakistan never had these problems of extremism until American soldiers landed in Afghanistan.”

    Wrong! You were happy during that time as the extremism was being exported from Pakistan to Afghanistan and India. After 9/11 the Americans came to Afghanistan and the snakes which you nurtured and fed came to Pakistan and started biting you. It hurts now isnt it ?
    Noe deal with their sting!Recommend

  • Esa

    Zab I was at the Edinburgh demos at the time. They still didn’t listen. I remember that the public was against the war in all the polls but try still went ahead. Surely that’s illegal?Recommend

  • Suzanne

    Some people commenting have to pick a fight for the sake of it and always bring irrelevant things to the table.

    If you ain’t got something worth saying, don’t say it!!Recommend

  • Sohaib
  • Hey Joe

    Haha @Mehdi. The UK is a free country but yet the politicians were dwindling expenses while taxpayers struggled to survive and they still walk free. Greedy bankers stole millions and messed up the economy yet they get huge bonuses while the average person can face jail for dodging taxes. But it’s a democracy right? Where do you get such inaccurate views from about the West? Recommend

  • brit pak

    Excellent article. I was at the anti-war demos 10 years ago and we had hope that British democracy wouldn’t let us down but it did. The majority of the public was opposed to the war and Blair didn’t listen to the people.

    I read that Jack Straw wanted to resign at the time. Blair’s own defence secretary! What does that tell you!??

    Yet Blair is so proud of it all as you said. Just disgusting. Recommend

  • usman

    No way ever will these criminals see justice.Recommend

  • Javeria

    sister, you are so right. best article about this issue i’ve read. straight to the point :)Recommend

  • aleem in singpore

    only time these twowill be on trial is judgement day unfortunately. very unlikely any justice will be done in this lifetime.Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Hey Joe:

    Democracy is not defined by greedy bankers, I lost you there mate. I have been living in USA for half of my life and democracy have done great things for me.Recommend

  • Anam

    Dear, if you feel Blair and Bush will ever be tried for war crimes then you are a dreamer. I’m a realist. It’s never going to happen regardless of how much you hope for it.Recommend

  • america

    Tomas Young’s full letter to Bush and Cheney is so so sad. I had tears in my eyes reading it. The next time an American right-wing hawk criticizes my views, I should definitely show that same letter.Recommend

  • Haneen Rasul

    Very bad memories if that war.Recommend

  • sonya

    @author “Saddam Hussein was a hero to some, but a tyrant to others.” Can you elaborate on how he was a hero?Recommend

  • @vladimir

    @Umar:
    you wish some foreign warbringers who don’t care a SH!T about your people to help you? To take responsibility? Where are your OWN HANDS?Recommend