William's last words.
First, thank you for all your kind words, thoughts and sentiments (including away from here). They mean more than you can possibly know. Perhaps in a couple of days I'll respond to them in more detail. Forgive me for not doing that at the moment.
Second, back in the bad old days/best of days (as they honestly were, without wanting to echo Dickens) one of my favourite lines was that irony was smothering everything. It is therefore wonderfully ironic that the exact same political backdrop we had then is still with us now. See, just as I haven't moved forward, nor has politics. How bitterly, hilariously fitting. Or it could just be me.
As he almost always does, Flying Rodent has beaten me to it. We tend to think of the Iraq war and the Gulf war as two separate conflicts when they were not. The bombing didn't stop in 1991 and then start again in 2003. It never stopped. "Targets" were constantly being hit. Sanctions that destroyed the actual economy and quality of life for the ordinary Iraqi while the Ba'athist elite continued to prosper were put in place and continuously ramped up. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, once we had finally "finished the job" we found a society that didn't welcome the final act of "shock and awe" as the more fervent supporters of the war insisted they would. Instead a decent number almost instantly began resisting. Added to these were, as the War Nerd explains, jihadists just waiting for a new sanctuary after failing to gain a foothold elsewhere. The two groups merged, and to make a much more nuanced and long story far too short and simple, we eventually ended up with ISIS.
So here we are. Again. 11 years on, and the prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (as he must now be known, considering how keen he is on muscular promotion of our values) is standing up in the Commons and saying if we do nothing then we will have carnage on our streets. You know, I'm tired. Really fucking tired. I'm especially tired of politicians telling me that only if we keep on killing people abroad will it mean safety back home. I don't care whether those people end up getting killed with missiles fired by British jets promoting our muscular values, or by American drones with "long term, hard-headed, patient and intelligent" intentions, at this point incinerating yet more Iraqis is about as likely to have the same effect on our security as sending a dog to the moon would.
Not much more really needs saying about the mess we've got ourselves in, supporting "moderate" Sunnis against Assad in Syria (there are no secularists in Syria says the War Nerd, they're all Islamists of one shade or another) as we now try and suck up to the Iranians to help save Maliki from much the same Sunnis, finally tired of the Shia dominance of the post-war years. But, but say the Blairs and the Bloodworths, had Saddam stayed in power he would most likely have faced the same protests as elsewhere in the Arab world, and if we'd acted against Assad earlier ISIS would have never gained such a foothold. Except ISIS would almost certainly have never established itself in Iraq to start with if it hadn't been for the war, and all out military intervention in Syria has never been on the table, only "punishment" strikes for the gas attacks. And why, principally, was that? It wouldn't have been down to how Iraq and Libya were such fabulous successes, right?
I'm also really tired of the left's failure to stand up for free speech. You expect the establishment to preach the virtues of tolerance and freedom of thought at the same time as the CPS prosecutes the likes of Jake Newsome for posting an offensive but what certainly should not be a criminal message on Facebook about the murder of Ann Maguire. What you don't expect is for some to defend the outrageous six-week prison sentence he received. Then again, when some, and I stress some of the left seem to think the real political issue of the day is their right not to be trolled and made fun of on Twitter, perhaps it's not that surprising. I should be Jack's total lack of surprise.
Most of all, I'd love to fall asleep, and wake up happy. And wake up happy.