An estimated 650,000 Iraqis dead, 126 British troops dead, dangerous chaos dominating many parts of the country.
This is the balance sheet, nearly four years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Yet we have been denied any serious assessment of what went wrong and what we should do about it.
The US midterm elections and the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) report have brought into stark relief the failings of the British parliament to hold the government to account.
Even the bastions of the US establishment recognise they have lost the war in Iraq – and that this is shaping up to be a worse defeat than Vietnam, because of the wider implications across the whole Middle East.
The ISG report’s conclusions are attempts to salvage something from the disaster and to extricate US troops from a war they cannot win.
Here in Britain, parliament has refused to even hold a serious debate. The speaker of the House of Commons recently rejected an amendment to the Queen’s Speech on the issue, even though over 100 MPs across the parties had signed it.
Donald Rumsfeld, architect of the Iraq war, and his sidekick John Bolton have both been forced to resign. But no such accounting has happened in Britain – all the major players are still in government.
Failure to even debate the war, let alone withdraw the troops in line with the majority thinking in Britain, is now being compounded by the government proposing to renew the Trident nuclear submarine system at a minimum cost of £25 billion.
The anti-war movement has campaigned against the “war on terror” from day one. Everything we said turned out to be true – and everything the government told us was false.
Few now defend the Iraq war, and there is growing unease at the war in Afghanistan.Trident’s replacement is also unpopular – especially when people find out how much it will cost.
Yet our MPs and government have refused to listen – so we have to take our campaign to them. The Stop the War Coalition, alongside CND, is calling a demonstration at the end of February or early March against the Trident replacement and for getting the troops out of Iraq.
We want to send MPs a clear message – we don’t want war or nuclear weapons. The march will be timed before a Commons debate on Trident to make the maximum impact.
On 20 March, to mark the anniversary of the war on Iraq, Stop the War is calling a troops out day with demonstrations and protests outside parliament.
Start organising for these and other local troops out days on 17 March. We are winning the argument about the war – let’s make sure the MPs know it.
Lindsey German is national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition. She writes here in a personal capacity.
Check www.stopwar.org.uk over the Christmas break for the dates of next year’s demos.
For a full analysis of the Iraq Survey Group report and updates on the situation in Lebanon, go to Deep crisis, threats and promises