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The Iraq War
© Ho New / Reuters

The Iraq War

Wed Jun 5, 9-10pm, BBC2

By Gabriel Tate
Episode two
Disastrous planning. Personality clashes. Apocalyptic consequences. But enough about ‘The Apprentice’… The aftermath of the Iraq invasion makes you wonder why George W Bush never paid heed to one of his presidential predecessors, Benjamin Franklin, who observed that ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’.

Postwar policy in Iraq was seemingly conducted on the hoof: plagued by bad luck, certainly, but also by an almost wilful disregard, on the side of coalition forces, of ethnic factionalism, religious nuances and the assumption that a handover would be rapid. Meanwhile, US election year loomed. Key players from all sides discuss the beginnings of the country’s slow descent into civil war with reasonable candour, although it’s clearly still far too soon for mea culpas.

But, whether it’s disbanding the Iraqi army without pay or the painful permutations of forming a government, this is a compelling and damning picture of a group of people who preferred to treat the world as they wished it to be, rather than as it was.

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