First, it was the search for weapons of mass destruction. Then it was the pressing need for regime change. Finally, it was the overwhelming desire to liberate the oppressed people of Iraq, following more than 25 years under the jackboot of Saddam Hussein, that forced President George Bush to declare war. All the weeks of peace marches and high level international manoeuvring failed to prevent the United States and its British ally attacking Iraq, just as we suspected would happen.
The idea of democracy President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were so keen to bestow upon the Iraqi people was something they had largely ignored at home, particularly in the UK where more than a million people took the streets to protest against any military action. Mr Blair's determination to stick with President Bush was in flagrant contravention of the wishes of the majority of the British electorate, many leading members of his own government and most of his neighbours in Europe. This new brand of Bush/Blair democracy was a source of much consternation. While the scenes of celebration in Baghdad that followed the demise of Saddam appeared to encourage the American electorate of the `rightness' of the conflict, British voters remained largely unconvinced that the end justified the means. All were happy to see the back of Saddam but the popular argument is that other options would have achieved the same ends with less carnage and loss of life.
Now, the reconstruction of Iraq has officially begun, after the days of anarchy and mayhem that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein's despotic regime when looters, from all sections of society, lay waste to all before them. The country's national musuem, which contained thousands of objects, some dating back tens of thousands of years was decimated, its unique, antique treasures carried away in blankets and on ramshackled bicycles.
The lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are in tatters. They are without homes, food and water, electricity and, in some cases, without hope. As...