Responding to the 20th anniversary this week, Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has reflected on the legacy of the war and the reaction from people in the isles at the time. Mr Carmichael is the only remaining MP from the Highlands and Islands who spoke in the debates over the war still in post, and warned in 2003 that “every bomb that is dropped on Iraq will be like a stone dropped into water: it will create ripples that spread far and wide”.
Writing in the Press and Journal on Tuesday Mr Carmichael said:
“From the current war in Ukraine to the waves of refugee crises and even the impact on our politics here in the UK, Iraq looms large, whether we acknowledge it or not.
“It was a defining moment for a generation who found themselves drawn into politics when they might previously have seen themselves as apolitical. Over a million marched across the UK to protest against the war. Even in the Northern Isles, where large-scale protests were practically unheard of, over a thousand people came out to throng the streets in Lerwick and in Kirkwall.
“Some were pacifists. Most were not. Those protesting were not “wide-eyed extremists”, but teachers, crofters, fishermen and children. What they shared was an abiding feeling that the case for this war of choice had not been made.
“It would be easy to treat this anniversary as a chance for a victory lap for those of us who were proven “right” in opposing the war. Relitigating the decision to invade, however, will not bring one life back. It is up to all of us to build a better path ahead.”