I try to make sense of the war goals in the Sunday Times:

Let us review the stated objectives of the Iraq war chronologically:

2002: to disarm Saddam Hussein of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and create a breathing space for democracy in the Middle East (the WMDs were not there; the breathing space became anarchy).

2003: to allow chaos in order to create a “fly-paper” for every jihadist in the world to come and get slaughtered by the US (“Bring it on!”).

2004: to create a new democratic constitution (achieved on paper, but at the price of creating sectarian voting blocs that actually intensified the ethnic and religious divisions pulling the country apart).

2005: to protect Iraq from a powerful and growing Sunni insurgency and disarm the Shi’ite militias (failed).

2006: to quell surging sectarian violence, target a new and lethal Al-Qaeda in Iraq and restrain the passions unleashed by the bombing of the Samarra mosque (failed).

2007: to prevent genocide and a wider regional war and create enough peace for a settlement in the centre (the surge has reduced violence to levels of summer 2006, and no agreement in Baghdad has been reached).

And so the question becomes: what will the objective of the Iraq war be next year?

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