At the time of the decision to invade Iraq for "Gulf War: the sequel" I did an evening thing with various views and opinions for and against an invasion and invited people to consider, to question and to pray.
I think I was not directly convinced of the "Just War" approach; both in terms of the proposed invasion not meeting Augustine's criteria but also as a more general principle. However I did feel that an invasion could remove a pernicious and evil dictator who had mercilessly used WMDs on Kurds. I think, therefore, in balance the WMD issue (and Saddam's willingness to use them) just about swung it for me.
How wrong I was! And reading Woodward's book, how ignorant our Governments were to do such a thing and to so misunderstand and underestimate certain key ideas. Even more so, if Woodward is to be believed, how could we undertake such a dangerous and risky operation with some of the people at the helm that were.
Of course there were no WMDs, as the inspectors said. Saddam didn't want people to know, especially the people who he had previously used them against, so he played along - he had to. But not to take this into account in the analysis of the intelligence was naive at best. Similarly the assertion that democracy could be grafted on to Iraq once Saddam and his goons had been arrested is beyond belief. There is no history or rationale in Islam for a democratic Government (and that is certainly not meant as a pejorative statement) as anybody reading a cheap paperback History of Islam or similar will see. And who was going to lead this new country if it was going to be an Iraqi - either somebody who was in Iraq under Saddam (and thereby either tainted or with no experience) or somebody who was in exile (which meant either a Western liberalised Iraqi or somebody who had been in an anti-Western environment).
On top of all this (and again really quite obvious I think) is that the nation of Iraq is clearly divided between Shiite (the majority), Sunni (the minority but whose who used to run the show) and Kurd (previously gassed and therefore probably with scores to settle). Civil War is the most likely outcome, and the insurgency seems aimed as much at the other groups as it does towards the US and UK forces.
Which leaves us in a real pickle today. The US is maneuvering for an exit strategy which they can call Victory, which means I can imagine a scenario in which the other Western Allies are stuck with some situation which is really horrible for a considerable time to come.
I supported the idea of "regime change" and "WMD removal" but now feel betrayed by the number of loose ends which are only now coming to light! How do I NOT feel that this was all about oil anyway?