Iraq War

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© Joe Heller, 2014
"This is a war that was orchestrated purely for profit and for oil and for ownership of other people's resources. And for control of global resources." — Professor Stuart Ewen

"There undeniably would be no Isis if we had not invaded Iraq."[1]

The UK Govt saw Iraqi oil as "vital" to the UK's long-term energy security, and its oil industry was central to post-invasion plans for the country.[2]

Edward Louis BernaysWikipedia-W.svg invented the term "Public Relations": "The intelligent manipulation of the masses is an invisible govt which is the true ruling power of our country." Govts pounced on the concept, and have used it ever since.

The attack on Iraq was sold by Tony Blair and George Bush. The blueprint for the invasion was the military doctrine "Shock & Awe", designed to "paralyse the country, destroy food production, water supply and other civilian infrastructure. The effect would be similar to the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan". This was terrorising people on a grand scale, and it would be covered up by deception in massive amounts. But this was not how it was reported at the time. Iraq WarWikipedia-W.svg
The selling of the Iraq invasion depended on the news media to promote a series of illusions, such as the link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with it, but that didn't matter. The Pentagon specialises in the selling of war and the manipulation of the media and public opinion. Dan Rather: if we journalists had done our job, the war would never have happened. (Mar.20.2013)

Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore (2004) takes a critical look at George W Bush's presidency, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media. The film received a 20-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival 2004; it was awarded the Palme d'Or, and is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. The title alludes to Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel "Fahrenheit 451", a dystopian view of the future USA, drawing an analogy between the auto-ignition temperature of paper and the date of the Sept.11 attacks. The film's tagline is "The Temperature at Which Freedom Burns".

"The War You Don’t See"
John Pilger (2010)

"The War You Don’t See" is a powerful investigation into the media's role in war, tracing the history of 'embedded' and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan and disaster in Iraq. As weapons and propaganda become even more sophisticated, the nature of war is developing into an 'electronic battlefield' in which journalists play a key role, and civilians are the victims. But who is the real enemy?

Mark Curtis, "The Web of Deceit"
I find it impossible to believe that Britain could have got away with the invasion of Iraq if the media had been doing its job. When Blair was standing up and saying "our policy in the region was to bolster the forces of democracy", really the proper reaction to that would have been to burst out laughing. There's simply no history of that at all. Britain has been on the side of authoritarian repressive regimes, they are our allies, the Amanis, the Saudis, the Egyptians, they are our allies, not the more democratic, more liberal forces in the region. If journalists had had even a slight interest in looking, they would have reported thing in such a manner that the govt would not have been able to get away with what they did."
Mark Curtis, "The Great Deception", "Secret Affairs", "Web of Deceit"
I've certainly uncovered a lot of episodes where Britain has been involved in coups or military interventions which have appalling impacts on people's lives - they simply never get mentioned, they are never referred to in the newspapers or tv, they are just deleted from our historical memory. "Why does the public in Britain have such little idea of the sheer scale of this?" "A very large reason for that is, if you look at every war, or coup or regime that Britain is involved in or supporting, it is usually accompanied by an increasingly sophisticated public relations operation by the govt. We are told that British foreign policy is based on promoting democracy, on spreading development and promoting human rights. If you read the actual govt Planning Files, planners are saying to themselves that their policy is not based on that, it's based on the control of oil, it's based on creating an international economy that works in the interests of British Corporations, and it's based on maintaining their great power status. This culture of impugnity is deeply embedded within British society. If you go back to, say in the 1960s, a time when Britiain was covertly supporting an Indonesian military that was killing up to a million people, where Britain was responsible for depopulating the Chagos Islands, and where Britian was arming the Nigerian govt who were killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Biafran civil war in Nigeria, all of that was taking place under the Labour govt in the 1960s, and none of those ministers have ever been questioned - yet those decisions cost literally millions of lives.
Mark Curtis
The British elites do not want the public to know what they are doing. They don't actually even think they have a right to know. They know that the more information the public has, the more difficult it is for them to pursue policies that maybe are abusive of human rights, or support a repressive regime. So there is a conscious strategy of having these Public Relations campaigns that the govt regularly has whenever it resorts to an overseas military intervention, to try and convince the public that they are acting for the highest of noble intentions, when in fact they're not - they're usually acting out of hard-hearted, straightforward calculation of elite interests. So the public is a threat that needs to be countered. 1:32:25–1:33:00.

Chilcot Inquiry

  • Apr.10.2018: The Chilcot Inquiry. There are many lessons set out in the Report. Some are about the management of relations with allies, especially the US. Above all, the lesson is that all aspects of any intervention need to be calculated, debated and challenged with the utmost rigour. Otherwise, what was the point of the #Chilcot Inquiry - all those years and £millions. @JTwittwoo, Twitter.
Chilcot Public Statement, Jul.2016
"We were appointed to consider the UK’s policy on Iraq ... and to identify lessons for the future."
“The judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD ... were presented with a certainty that was not justified."
"In the absence of a majority in support of military action, we consider that the UK was ... undermining the Security Council’s authority.” “We have ... concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory."
"There was an ingrained belief in the UK policy and intelligence communities that ... (Iraq) was able to conceal its activities from the UN inspectors."
"The judgements about Iraq’s capabilities ... were presented with a certainty that was not justified."
"The Joint Intelligence Committee should have made clear to Mr Blair that the assessed intelligence had not been established “beyond doubt” ..."
"Mr Blair had been warned ... that military action would increase the threat from Al Qaida to the UK and to UK interests. He had also been warned that an invasion might lead to Iraq's weapons and capabilities being transferred into the hands of terrorists."
"It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged, and they should have been."


  • Mar.19.2018: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened. March 20th marks the 15th anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The anniversary marks another year of impunity for the Ministers who authorised the invasion. No British Minister was forced to resign over Iraq or has been held properly accountable for it. Where are they now, those Cabinet ministers who gave their assent? No less than 6 of them have since been elevated to the House of Lords: John Prescott, then deputy prime minister, was given a life peerage as Baron Prescott. He is joined by former fellow Cabinet members David Blunkett, Tessa Jowell, Alastair Darling, John Reid and Paul Boateng. Other Cabinet members were promoted following the invasion: Margaret Beckett later became Foreign Secretary, Alistair Darling became Chancellor and John Reid became Defence Secretary. Tony Blair, then Chancellor Gordon Brown and the International Development Secretary Clare Short were subsequently allowed to perform top international jobs: Blair became Official Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East until 2015, Brown became UN Special Envoy on Global Education and Short became chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. It is perhaps tragi-ironic that Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary in Mar.2003, was later allowed to become Justice Secretary. Far from paying any price, the British system has rewarded ministers for their fateful decision on Iraq. But not just Ministers. Matthew Rycroft, Blair’s private secretary at the time ... Earlier this year, he was promoted further to become Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development. Sir Michael Wood (lawyer)Wikipedia-W.svg, Elizabeth WilmshurstWikipedia-W.svg, British Ministers have been involved in war crimes abroad throughout the post-1945 period... In the mid-1960s, British govts covertly supplied arms to the regime in Iraq to be used to attack Kurds in the north of the country... Geoff Hoon, Charles Clarke, Alan Milburn, Andrew Smith, Tessa Jowell, Gareth Williams, Hilary Armstrong, Paul Boateng, Derry Irvine. Mark Curtis,
  • Jan.27.2017: Iraq: A Deadly Deception An inside look at how world leaders and the American public were duped into a war that cost thousands of lives. Al Jazeera.
  • Feb.12.2013: The Iraq War and the international anti-war movement. Ten years ago, over one million people marched through a bitterly cold London to oppose the looming war in Iraq. It was the biggest demonstration in British history. However, a common argument today is that the march was “an absolute failure”, as a UK Uncut activist said in 2011. But Blair didn’t pull back and British troops played a key role in the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. An attack, let’s not forget, that directly led to over 1m Iraq dead, along with around 4m refugees. But while the anti-war movement couldn’t stop the war, several people argue that the anti-war movement, as a key driver of public opinion at the time, influenced how the war was fought and when British troops were withdrawn. In addition the peace march and anti-war movement has had a number of important and long-lasting influences on the British political landscape – from fatally wounding Blair, to having a profoundly positive effect on community relations in the UK and politicising and radicalising many of the young people now involved in groups such as UK Uncut and Occupy. ... More importantly the Mexican and Turkish experiences present an awkward question for the UK anti-Iraq War movement: If public opinion in Mexico and Turkey was able to force their government to resist strong pressure from the US over Iraq why couldn’t the UK anti-war movement force the British Government to do likewise? Ian Sinclair, Ian Sinclair's Blog.
  • Jun.18.2011: Libya: Here we go again. (...) The pretext given for the Iraq war was, infamously, Saddam Hussein’s supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair's retrospective attempts to justify the invasion on humanitarian grounds convinced nobody. (...) Of course, the true causes of war ran deeper. The geopolitical importance of Afghanistan in relation to Iran and the resource-rich countries of central Asia had already singled it out as a potential target even before 2001; the discovery of major mineral deposits and the need for a trans-Afghan pipeline to carry natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India added further cause. In Iraq's case, as Greg Muttitt’s new book "Fuel on the Fire" conclusively demonstrates, the primary strategic goals of the invasion were to maintain a low and stable oil price and to secure access for western companies to the country’s giant oil fields. John Hilary, War on Want, Red Pepper.


  1. ^ Former US military adviser David Kilcullen says there would be no Isis without Iraq invasion. David Kilcullen advised General David Petraus on countering the Iraq insurgency. Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, Mar.04.2016.
  2. ^ Iraqi oil supply was considered to be 'vital' to British interests. Campaigner Greg Muttitt obtained 1,000 documents for his book "Fuel on the Fire". A Foreign Office spokesman denied that oil interests had driven policy. Paul Bignell, Andy McSmith, Jonathan Brown, The Independent, Oct.22.2011. Original archived on Jan.21.2021.