Martin Bright

The Iraq fury still burns, fuelled by unanswered questions

I was fascinated to read the reaction to Nick Cohen’s article expressing his view that after 10 years he still believed the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. The heart of Nick’s argument is this:

‘I regret much: the disbanding of the Iraqi army; a de-Ba’athification programme that became a sectarian purge of Iraq’s Sunnis; the torture of Abu Ghraib; and a failure to impose security that allowed murderous sectarian gangs to kill tens of thousands.For all that, I say, I would not restore the Ba’ath if I had the power to rewind history. To do so would be to betray people who wanted something better after 35 years of tyranny.’

I posted the piece on my Facebook wall as something all opponents of the war should read, even if they disagreed with Nick’s viewpoint. The reaction was immediate and passionate. Pretty much everyone disagreed with me. One thought it was ‘bogus’; another said Nick had missed the point because the choice to go to war was not driven by a moral imperative, one former cheerleading interventionist suggested the piece was ‘ahistorical’ for refusing to engage with the suffering inflicted on the Iraq people by the war. A former Observer colleague said the piece failed to engage with the ‘blatant, grievous lie’ that took us to war in the first place. An old friend with whom I often spar on Israel, made the related point that ‘we were sold a lie, not Nick Cohen’s reasons for war’. A respected investigative journalist chipped in with this: ‘Looking back, It’s also a bit cheeky of Nick (to put it mildly) to say the good war was only spoiled by the bad disbanding the army & sectarian de-baathification, when Nick did so much at the time to promote Ahmed Chalabi and his CIA funded Iraqi National Congress.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in