Invading Iraq – a misuse of power
In an article on 6 March 2013, entitled 10 years later, Arianna Huffington drew attention to the way in which political power was used in deciding to invade Iraq in 2003. She noted the way in which the American people and Congress were intentionally misled so that they would support the war, and the fact that those responsible have not been held to account.
The Iraq war did not benefit the American people. This was foreseeable, but warnings were ignored. Why did Congress not prevent the Administration from making such a costly mistake? The checks and balances in the American Constitution failed. The inappropriate haste of the decision was prompted by political considerations, not by operational need. And there was no operational need to invade Iraq, rather the contrary.
The President and the British Prime Minister were able to override the advice they received, and the public demonstrations against the war, to pursue their convictions. These convictions may have been honestly held, but that is no excuse for the political system as a whole; voters should ask themselves how it failed to protect them from incompetence – and ask why no-one has been held to account. The governance failings are examined in more detail in chapter 8 of the book Patterns of Power, where they are summarised in section 8.7.6.