Four lessons from Chilcot and the Iraq War

Posted by ap507 at Jul 05, 2016 12:42 PM |
Dr Robert Dover from the University of Leicester highlights how the Iraq war has led to a rise in extremism and ‘fatally undermined’ the European Union

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 5 July 2016 

“The Iraq war provides a relearning of a timeless lesson: that conflict is contagious and often uncontainable” – Dr Robert Dover

The Iraq war still scars us today, leading to a rise in extremism and ‘fatally undermining’ the European Union, according to a researcher from the University of Leicester.

Dr Robert Dover from the University of Leicester Department of Politics and International Relations has written an opinion piece for Think: Leicester, the University’s platform for opinion pieces, discussing the Chilcot report, due to be released on Wednesday 6 July.

In the piece he outlines four key lessons from the Iraq war and what he believes the Chilcot report is likely to say.

He said: “The decision of the UK to get involved in the Iraq war was controversial at the time, and over a million marched in London against it. It was controversial because there was very little in it for the UK, controversial because the justifications for the war quickly unravelled and controversial because British military personnel began to die in a war that was not widely supported by the electorate. It also provides a relearning of a timeless lesson of war: that conflict is contagious and often uncontainable.

“The Iraq war continues to scar us today, and none more so than the rise and rise of Islamic extremism. This forms the second lesson from the Iraq war: the end of reasonableness and the rise of extremism.

“The Iraq war - so controversial amongst European Union member states - has come back to fatally undermine the EU. The third lesson from Iraq is ‘blowback’, the term-coined by the CIA to describe the consequences of military actions. The radical Islamist groups unleashed by the Iraq war have unsubtly undermined the European project via insurgent military attacks in London, Madrid, Paris, and Brussels. The blowback from Iraq is the death of the European project.

“The recent Brexit vote provides the fourth lesson: the death of expertise. The Blair government’s use and abuse of intelligence product has undermined the public’s confidence in expert advice. No longer can the government trot out experts to validate its case. It is difficult to see how the political establishment who dominated at the time of the decision to go to war with Iraq re-establishes the trust it needs with the public.”

The full article ‘Four lessons from Chilcot and the Iraq War’ on Think: Leicester is available here:


Notes to editors:

For more information and to interview Dr Robert Dover on

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