We are coming up to the tenth anniversary of the Iraq attack. On 5 February 2003 Colin Powell made his set-piece speech to the UN Security Council. On 15 February 2003 there were anti-war demonstrations in many cities around the world. The invasion itself started on 20 March 2003.
My own view was the realist one that an invasion would be unnecessary and imprudent – and so it conspicuously turned out to be.
The strongest case on the other side was the humanitarian one of getting rid of a bloody tyrant. But the record of what happens once Arab tyrants are evicted – in Iraq or more recently in Tunisia or Libya – is not a happy one.
So, perhaps the main lesson of both Iraq 2003 and the Arab Spring 2011 is to be substantially more realistic.