I was a soldier in Tony Blair's wars. I have little faith in an establishment inquiry delivering the actionable legal charges against senior politicians required to make Chilcot a meaningful exercise.

Regardless, here are four lessons we must learn from Iraq:

1. We already know what happened, Chilcot is just an establishment take on events

All the evidence discouraged an attack on Iraq yet it looks like Tony Blair and his close allies lied to take Britain to war. It cost the lives of 179 soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. In the end the war also gave us Islamic State (Isis/Daesh) and so the horror slithers on.

In recent and coming weeks the real issue – why we went, the deadly deception – will be blurred by references to peripheral issues about the conduct of the war. Let's be clear. Bad equipment, for example, is secondary in the big scheme of things.

Nor was the war a "mistake" or "accident". Tripping and falling is an accident, getting drunk and trolling your boss at the Christmas party is a mistake. Iraq was neither. It was calculated and intentional.

Going to war with Iraq required careful planning and deep forethought. I would call that premeditated murder.

Iraq
A 105mm gun is dropped by a Chinook helicopter to British 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery on the Fao Peninsula in southern Iraq. March, 2003Getty

2. Blairism is dead

Iraq exposed Blairism as the art of sounding progressive while being vicious. Whatever the inquiry yields, we also know Blair's legacy has an undead zombie quality. It is dead and yet it keeps on killing, as the recent attacks in place like Iraq, Paris and Brussels prove.

Blair's legacy has an undead zombie quality. It is dead and yet it keeps on killing,

Like 179 British soldiers, Blair's ideology died fighting for Uncle Sam. Like the equipment in Iraq it was not fit for purpose. It can't be reconditioned. The time has come to say goodbye.

Moreover, let it be known to every Blairite – and every other British backer of the war – that the deaths of those 179 British soldiers belong to you. Have the moral courage to take ownership of those lost lives this week.

Stop the War
A Stop the War Coalition protester, wearing a mask depicting former Prime Minister Tony Blair, shows bloodied hands near Parliament in January 2015Getty

3. The heroes of the Iraq War were the ones who resisted it

There is much talk of war heroes these days. History will show that the heroes of the Iraq War were those who opposed it. Just a few examples:

  • Military Families against War (MFAW). Mums, dads, sisters, brothers who, in many cases, lost loved ones and were wracked with grief. Yet they took on and resisted the establishment over Iraq. They blinked back tears to fight on. Bit back sorrow to struggle for truth and justice. These are heroes.
  • Stop the War Coalition (STWC). Its leaders and its rank and file. A decade and a half of speaking, organizing, manning lonely stalls in little towns and big cities. All they predicted has come to pass: more terrorism, more racism, less liberty. Heroes.

Jeremy Corbyn. An anti-war hero forged in the movement which opposed Iraq's destruction.

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn speaks in Hyde Park in 2003 against the Iraq warC-SPAN 2/ YouTube
  • Then there is Jeremy Corbyn. An anti-war hero forged in the movement which opposed Iraq's destruction. At an anti-war demonstration in 2003 he urged the establishment to "stop now or pay the political price". He was right. They were wrong. And now they must pay. His elevation to the leadership of the Labour Party and the anti-democratic coup currently being conducted against him by Blair's acolytes bear testament both to his foresight and to their failings.

4. We need a referendum on the Special Relationship which dragged us into Iraq

Throughout the EU Referendum there was barely a mention of the UK's Special Relationship with America, yet it has been infinitely more damaging than EU membership.

Both sides of the EU debate, if they are honest, have a strong interest in binning the Special Relationship – especially given the ongoing tragedy of Iraq.

For example, anyone genuinely concerned for British sovereignty or independence should direct their ire west in the wake of our recent wars.

Throughout the EU Referendum there was barely a mention of the UK's Special Relationship with America, yet it has been infinitely more damaging than EU membership.

Note that not one single soldier died in a pointless war the EU dragged us into and not one single EU base squats – parasitic and unwelcome – on British soil.

At the same time, if you are honestly committed to inclusiveness and multiculturalism you must fight to isolate any nation which puts rapacious savagery against people of colour at the centre of both domestic and foreign policy.

If you want to deal with a really progressive question you must look to the US, forget Brexit and fight for an Amerexit in legal, political, military and economic terms.

This is the debt we owe the Iraq War dead. The centenary of the Battle of the Somme has just passed. Note that its astonishing death toll pales when compared with that of Iraq. We must never forget and never repeat a criminal tragedy on such a monstrous scale.


Joe Glenton is a RT UK journalist, as well as Afghan veteran and author of Soldier Box published by Verso Books.