Shropshire Star

Star comment: 20th anniversary of Iraq War gives us time to reflect on lessons learned

It’s 20 years since the war in Iraq. Those who lived through it will remember the shock and awe tactics as bombs rained down and the West moved in.

Saddam Hussein's regime was ended, but the world is still living with the consequences of the 2003 war

It was an era-defining moment and one that continues to have far-reaching consequences. The appalling dictator, Saddam Hussain, was toppled, but it was also the beginning of the end for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who did not command the support of the general population for his invasion.

There were numerous military successes but a dire lack of planning for the aftermath. The political vacuum led to unrest that continues to this day, with the West continuously targeted by various forms of Islamic extremists and ongoing wars and oppression in the likes of Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Iran. Sadly for many living in those countries, brutal dictators have been replaced by political and social chaos and a continued breakdown in order.

In 2023, the world is arguably a more dangerous place than in 2003. We have war in Europe, ongoing unrest in the Middle East and brewing tensions between China and Taiwan, not to mention the unholy alliance between Russia and China.

As well as physical warfare we have an ongoing online war, with misinformation pushed from the likes of Russia. Democracy, which we have always taken for granted here, feels more fragile than it has in many generations. Even in America, the leader of the Free World, we witnessed a deposed president attempting to hold on to power through the force of the people.

The anniversary of the Iraq War gives us pause to reflect on the lessons learned during an horrific conflict that led to too much bloodshed.