It seems, the eve of the New 2016 Year, is witnessing a period of great repentance in the West. Not a day goes by without some politician making a penitential speech, telling the whole world about his previous crimes and sins. It appears that there are quite a lot of such figures in the West. There is even the impression that becoming a politician in the West is predicated on first committing mass atrocities and crimes.
Apparently, we should begin with the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who only now has apologized for the fact that during the operation of the coalition in 2003 he had assessed the possible consequences of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein incorrectly. In an interview with CNN on October 25, he said that the invasion of Iraq in 2003, led by the coalition of US and Britain, could have been the main cause of the formation of the terrorist group – “Islamic State” (IS). It is noteworthy that in spring 2003, against the advice of the UN, the coalition forces led by the United States and Britain, brazenly invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime, which Washington, without any proof, had accused of having links with international terrorist organizations, and the possession of weapons of mass destruction. Later, both Washington and London officially denied these false allegations. During the discussion, the program host asked Tony Blair what he thought about the fact that “people connect the strengthening of IS’s position, and thus point to the invasion of Iraq as the main cause.” The Briton was evasive: “I think there is some truth to it. Of course, we cannot say that those who deposed Saddam (Hussein) in 2003 are not responsible for the situation in 2015.”
Blair also apologized for errors during the operation. “I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.” However, Tony Blair forgot to apologize for the fact that Iraq, once a prosperous nation, has ceased to exist, its population plundered and reduced to poverty. Furthermore, most of the women were raped by Western “liberators”. If a historical analogy were to be drawn, then, in this case, the West behaved like savages, gangsters, criminals, modern Huns who destroyed the state only because the people wanted to live according to their own laws and protect their freedom and independence.
By the way, the Daily Mail – referring to the secret correspondence of Colin Powell, who served as Secretary of State (2001-2005) – had previously reported that, a year prior to the invasion of Iraq, former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, had agreed on military action against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Yet, at the same time, Tony Blair, as a true democrat and champion of freedom, had continued to lie publicly about diplomatic policy and to reject military intervention in Iraq.
Former head of US military intelligence, Michael Flynn, also repented of his mistakes. In particular, he acknowledged in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, that if in 2003 Americans had not gone to war in Iraq, IS would not exist today. “I’m very sorry about that,” said Michael Flynn. “The war in Iraq was a huge mistake. No matter how cruel Saddam Hussein may have been, the decision to eliminate him was wrong. The same goes for Gaddafi and Libya, which is now a failed state.” “The most important lesson of history is that the military invasion of Iraq, from a strategic point of view, was an incredibly bad decision. And history will not pass a lenient sentence on this decision,” said the former military officer. To this we can add only regret that such an insight came too late to the American, when the Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian people are experiencing suffering and privation due to the fault of the Western rulers.
By the way, Michael Flynn went further and truthfully noted that the United States made a mistake when the head of the “Islamic state” al-Baghdadi was detained, and then released in 2004. “We were too stupid. Then, we did not know with whom we were dealing,” said the former head of US military intelligence. “Now, each European country has its own structure of the IS. The same thing may also exist in the US, even if, as yet, we cannot find it,” he added. According to him, to defeat IS, airstrikes alone are not enough and a ground operation is essential. Also, he said, it is important to work constructively with Russia.
Suddenly, the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, also “saw the light” and officially announced that the “Islamic State” is the common enemy of both the West and Russia. “The common enemy should be ISIL. And I would welcome all efforts to fight ISIL. And it is important that all of us, also Russia, is guided by the overarching goal of defeating ISIL”, he told reporters in Brussels recently.
However, it should be said that, despite all the repentance of the former Western leaders, analysis of events shows clearly that the destruction of a number of states and the created chaos in the Middle East was a deliberate policy of the West. At the same time, experience from the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, has shown the Americans that direct military intervention leads to costs and losses in manpower that are too high. Therefore, the Iraqi military campaign was followed by the “Arab Spring”, the main driving force of which were the internal opposition movements in Arab countries, which inevitably exist under any dictatorial regime.
However, history teaches poor Western students very little. And, perhaps soon, present rulers may repent of their mistakes, and explain their present misdeeds by good intentions. But, would it not be easier, not to decide the fate of the world alone, but to consult on major issues with other members of the UN Security Council and to take balanced decisions acceptable to all. Then, there would be no need to arrange any new “Arab Spring” or to invade sovereign states, bringing only suffering and privation to nations. Besides, there would be less need to repent.
Victor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.