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The Word on the Week

Iraq War Results

The exam results are out – Tony Blair failed. Sir John Chilcott has published his findings. They run to 6,000 pages and took 6 years to compile.
The desire to topple Saddam Hussein, euphemistically called ‘regime change’, became the driving objective in 2003 aided by a USA still smarting after the 9/11 attacks. There was an unhealthy tying of the UK war machine to George W Bush’s ambition to go to war. A strategy was developed around the notion that Iraq had stockpiled ‘weapons of mass destruction’ despite the dubious nature of the evidence to support it. In fact WMD were never found.
Saddam was the President of Iraq who surrounded himself with his relatives in office. He was a despot who remained in power by killing any who opposed him. He fought with the neighbours in Shiite Iran and did horrible things to the Kurds. Strangely he did not persecute minority religious groups. He was eventually hunted down, tried and hung for his crimes. This fate is unlikely to be meted out to Blair or Bush although some war widows are finding it difficult to understand the reason why.
Perhaps the worst part of the atrocities was not the slaughter of the fleeing Iraq army on that road of death at the end of the hostilities but the absence of any plan for peace. The ensuing vacuum, without strong leadership, descended into anarchy out of which came recruits for Al Qaida then, more recently, ISIS. The disruption continues to this day.
Not many wars have received the scrutiny that this one has had. With hindsight it is easy to see how Blair put too high a value on the relationship with the US and lost the run of himself in trying to keep up with Bush.
The Apostle James gives us a personal report! “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions… Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. ”Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (Chapter 4 verses 1 to 7).
Jesus invites us to draw near, “Come unto me (in prayer) all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (St Matthew Chapter 11 verses 28 to 30). This is the rest of the redeemed, those who have taken up the invitation find that the war is over. Both the external war and the war within!