We are now a sufficient distance down the road from the Iraq adventure to be able to look back and take stock, see more clearly what went well and did not, and perhaps re-assess whether the actions taken were the right ones, albeit with hindsight.
Some of those involved are still certain that what they did was right, and that they would do the same thing again: Tony Blair’s appearances before the Iraq Enquiry have been assured and unwavering. Across the north Atlantic, there is equal certainty that the right thing was done in the person of Condoleezza Rice.
Ms Rice, who was Secretary of State in the “Dubya” Bush administration, did a long interview yesterday evening with Lawrence O’Donnell, host of The Last Word on cable news channel MSNBC. She did not directly dissent from O’Donnell’s assertion that the Government in Baghdad had nothing to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, but categorised Iraq as a “materializing” threat.
But she was far from convincing when trying to advance the idea that Saddam Hussein was “Trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction” (especially given that not only were none later found, but also that the weapons programme was effectively moribund). And calling the oil-for-food programme “scandalous” sounds unduly harsh, along with another assertion, that of “a threat to pay Palestinian terrorists as suicide bombers”.O’Donnell put it to Ms Rice that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the USA, to which she retorted “You may not view him as a threat. Most of the world did”. They did? Again, that’s questionable at best. And bringing in the sadly obligatory Third Reich reference (“We didn’t go to Iraq to bring democracy any more than dealing with Adolf Hitler was to bring democracy to Germany”) brings her no credit.