The publication of the Chilcot report earlier this week brought back lots of memories of the early 2000s. While there may have been none of the now daily political catastrophes that seem to be unfolding on my computer screen, these were dark days of political hubris, covert negotiations and war. This passage from the late literary critic Edward Said, in his LRB essay "The Academy of Lagado," cuts to the heart of the thinking of many at the time:
Like the pointless experiments conducted at Jonathan Swift's Academy, UK and US political and military planners saw Iraq as an lab-like space on which to foist the unchecked visions of a fundamentalist President, a teflon Prime Minister and a woefully misinformed public.
Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, more than 160,000 Iraqi civilians have died.