Middle East

2007 - 2022

Ten Years On


Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the war on Wednesday the latest figures from the Iraq Body Count  project have been announced. The Iraq Body Count has been tracking civilian deaths since the beginning of 2003 when coalition forces invaded and the US famously declared it did not count civilian deaths .

The organisation said it has documented 112,017 to 122,438 civilian deaths from violence from March 20, 2003 to now. It has calculated that the conflict has led to more than 39,900 combatants of all nationalities being killed. A year ago it noted that of the 4,040 civilian victims of US-led coalition forces for whom age data was available, 1,201 (29%) were children.


• Over half of the civilian deaths caused by US-led coalition forces occurred during the 2003 invasion and the sieges of Fallujah in 2004.

• Of the 45,779 victims for whom IBC was able to obtain age data, 3,911 (8.54%) were children under age 18.

An IBC spokesman said: “This conflict is not yet history. It is entrenched and pervasive. In major regions of the country armed violence continues to exact a remorseless toll on human life – young and old, male and female – across society.”

Writing in the Sunday Herald, Alex Salmond wrote: “The illegal invasion and war in Iraq is a disgrace without parallel in modern times, the shame of which will echo down the ages for Blair and all of those who were complicit in sending young men and women to risk their lives on the basis of a gigantic fraud.

And it is a deception which – I am absolutely certain – could and would not be perpetrated by the government of an independent Scotland, of whatever political persuasion.

Other countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland, have constitutional guarantees that they will not go to war without explicit parliamentary approval, and a similar such undertaking could be written into the constitution of an independent Scotland.

Ten years ago, the Labour Party at Holyrood, under orders from their Downing Street masters, claimed that the Scottish Parliament was no place to debate the looming war.

A decade on and it would seem that they have learned nothing – only this week we had the ludicrous spectacle of Labour opposing the business motion at Holyrood, objecting to the Scottish Government’s proposed debates next week on both Iraq and Trident.”

See this extraordinary exhibition of war photography from TIME Lightbox by Bobby Ghosh – Follow him on Twitter @ghoshworld.


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  1. Charles Patrick O'Brien says:

    Just think of independence and not having the imperial ambitions of Westminster? sounds great yes then vote yes.
    just think our Scottish defence force staying here and defending the country although for the life of me I can only think of one place that would attack us and yes they have form.

  2. Thom Cross says:

    (First published in the Scottish Review)

    The tenth anniversary of the Bush/Blair war in Iraq needs to be recognised for what it was: an unjust, illegal and immoral military intervention.
    It was wrong at the outset based upon justifications that at best were ‘created’ from the flimsiest of evidence and indeed lies. It was wrong in the manner in which it was executed based upon a barbarous principle called ‘shock and awe’ that killed indiscriminately thousands of non-combatives and exiled many more. It was also very wrong in the manner in which it has left Iraq a hideously divided, angry country in an almost permanent state of civil war.
    The Scottish Parliament was unable to hold a proper debate on the war as it was deemed a non-devolved matter by the Scottish Labour/Liberal government; however motions put by the SNP and the SSP were defeated by just a handful of votes. The real debate took place in Westminster on 18 March when the Blair government and some Labour MPs in coalition with the Tories voted for an iniquitous war that history already has condemned.
    Those MPs from Scotland who attached their names to that dreadful decision should be remembered:

    Irene Adams (Paisley North)
    Douglas Alexander (Paisley South)
    Gordon Brown (Dunfermline East)
    Russell Brown (Dumfries)
    Des Browne (Kilmarnock & Loudoun)
    David Cairns (Greenock & Inverclyde) (now deceased)
    Dr Lynda Clark (Edinburgh Pentlands)
    Alistair Darling (Edinburgh Central)
    George Foulkes (Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley)
    Nigel Griffiths (Edinburgh South)
    Tom Harris (Glasgow Cathcart)
    Adam Ingram (East Kilbride)
    Eric Joyce (Falkirk West)
    Helen Liddell (Airdrie & Shotts)
    Tommy McAvoy (Glasgow Rutherglen)
    Calum MacDonald (Western Isles)
    John MacDougall (Fife Central)
    John McFall (Dumbarton)
    Anne McGuire (Stirling)
    Rosemary McKenna (Cumbernauld & Kilsyth)
    Dr Lewis Moonie (Kirkcaldy)
    Martin O’Neill (Ochil)
    Anne Picking (East Lothian)
    Dr John Reid (Hamilton North & Bellshill)
    Ernie Ross (Dundee West)
    Frank Roy (Motherwell & Wishaw)
    James Sheridan (Renfrewshire West)
    Rachel Squire (Dunfermline West) (now deceased)
    David Stewart (Inverness East, Nairn & Lochaber)
    Brian Wilson (Cunninghame North)
    Thom Cross is a writer and dramatist

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