Protest Photography (2002–2007)
Photography by Thaddeus Pope
The Iraq War, which began with the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition in 2003, was a war for power, profit and control of the region and its resources. It also served as a clear and deliberate message to the rest of the world that the United States and United Kingdom were prepared to take unilateral military action without the support of international law or public opinion. Even by those who supported it at the time, including former Deputy Prime Minister Lord John Prescott, the decision to take part in the invasion of Iraq is now widely regarded to have been illegal and a mistake 1 – a mistake that, according to the long-awaited Iraq Inquiry (also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry), was made on the basis of “flawed” intelligence and that failed to adequately plan and make preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s deposition.
There is no doubt that Saddam was a merciless, repressive, loathsome despot – a despot the United States and United Kingdom had previously armed while he murdered Kurds and Shiites 2 – but the decision to take military action against Iraq “before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted” was an egregious and unforgivable error on the part of the decision makers in Washington and London that has profoundly exacerbated the level of violence, suffering and instability in the region and only increased the threat of stateless terrorism around the world. The birth of so-called Islamic State is one of the grotesque and catastrophic consequences of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and other US-led military interventions over the last quarter of a century in the Middle East. In 2015, Tony Blair himself even acknowledged that without the Iraq war there would be no ISIS 3.
- Chilcot Report: John Prescott says Iraq War was illegal. The Guardian, July 10, 2016 ↩
- UK secretly supplied Saddam. Financial Times, December 29, 2011 ↩
- Tony Blair is right: without the Iraq War there would be no Islamic State. The Guardian, October 25, 2015 ↩
- Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter, says Annan. The Guardian, September 16, 2004 ↩
- One million march against war. The Telegraph, February 16, 2003 ↩