Ten years on from the invasion of Iraq, have the liberal commentators who acted as cheerleaders for the war learned anything?
Has "humanitarian intervention" been discredited? It would seem not, looking at Western powers' military action in Libya in 2011 or the debate around Syria today.
Along with fellow journalists Nick Cohen, Johann Hari and Christopher Hitchens, 10 years ago David Aaronovitch was a prominent advocate for the war.
He wrote in the Independent and then the Guardian. Curiously Aaronovitch's changing reasons for supporting the invasion closely followed the government's own shifting justifications.
When in 2003 Tony Blair started pushing the humanitarian argument - because of the feebleness of the "threat" argument - Aaronovitch was right behind him.
"I was never in favour of this war mainly because of the threats of terrorism or WMDs" (weapons of mass destruction), he wrote that April. "Getting rid of Saddam - and therefore the myriad afflictions of the Iraqi people - was enough."
When, you might wonder, did Aaronovitch have his Damascene conversion to ridding the world of Saddam Hussein by foreign invasion?
Certainly not on August 8 2002 when he wrote on the prospect of removing Iraq's dictator: "But we can't ... wars are very particular things and civilised nations can't just have them when they feel like it or when they have run out of options." Later the same month he seemed to cry out for evidence that would justify the invasion.
"But war? Show me the evidence first. Don't just tell me you have it, tell me what it is."
The title of that article was I'm all for war on Iraq - but only if I see the evidence that Saddam is a threat. Strange words for a man solely interested in toppling the Iraqi dictator.
Ten years and a million Iraqi dead later you might think Aaronovitch would be a little sheepish about his enabling role in the slaughter.
You'd be mistaken. His performance at last month's Huffington Post debate on Iraq was a masterclass in the denial of reality he ridicules conspiracy theorists for in his book Voodoo Histories.
"What you've got to try to remember when you deal with Saddam Hussein is that you are not dealing with sodding Mubarak," he told the audience.
"Mubarak was a bad and authoritarian man but there are scales and scales of authoritarianism and Saddam Hussein was right down the Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin end of the scale."
Because of his "terrible blend of external aggression and internal repression" an invasion was the only way to get rid of Saddam, Aaronovitch maintained in a subsequent Times column.
Aside from the dodgy politics of the comparisons, comparing the weak and isolated Iraq of 2003 with a nazi Germany bent on overrunning Europe, or even with a cold-war era Soviet Union, would lead to a very poor mark in a GCSE history exam.
And of course as veteran journalist Philip Knightley pointed out in 2001 demonising an enemy leader is a key stage of Western media campaigns to prepare for war.
But wading through the slurry of propaganda we are faced with a key argument - that foreign invasion was the only way to topple Saddam.
So let's look at the facts on the ground in 2003.
As late as February 2001 then US secretary of state Colin Powell said the Iraqi leader "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours."
A view shared by Noam Chomsky, who noted that "Iraq is militarily and economically the weakest country in the region."
How about internal repression?
The executive director of Human Rights Watch has noted: "Brutal as Saddam Hussein's reign had been, the scope of the Iraqi government's killing in March 2003 was not of the exceptional and dire magnitude that would justify humanitarian intervention. By the time of the invasion, his killing had ebbed."
As these examples illustrate what is missing from humanitarian arguments for war against Iraq is any specificity on time.
Saddam was a serious threat to his neighbours and his own population - in the 1980s.
When the US and Britain were backing him to the hilt he was waging war against Iran and gassing Kurds.
Following the 1990 Gulf war Iraq was subjected to 12 years of debilitating, devastating sanctions and no-fly-zones. Its power was effectively broken.
In August 2002 an exiled opposition leader with the Iraqi National Congress, Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein, argued that Saddam was "very weak" and that the Iraqi military was "ready to rise up."
I asked the historian of non-violent revolutions Gene Sharp about the humanitarian arguments for war with Iraq.
"It has been shown repeatedly that there are alternative ways of overthrowing dictators," he told me, pointing to the people power shown in various countries during the Arab Spring.
The removal of the Western-backed dictators Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak showed that foreign invasion is not necessary for ousting tyrants.
But as we've seen Aaronovitch feels Mubarak wasn't fit to shine Saddam's shoes when it came to being authoritarian.
So how about the Chileans ousting the US-backed Augusto Pinochet in 1989? Still not enough "internal repression" to prevent an uprising?
How about the Iranians who toppled the Shah in 1979 - in a country which Amnesty judged in 1976 as having the worst human rights record of any country in the world?
In East Timor Amnesty found that the Indonesian army had killed 200,000 people between the 1975 invasion and 1989 - or about a third of the entire population. Despite this horrific mass murder a largely non-violent mass movement eventually managed to eject the Indonesians and East Timor declared independence in 2002.
All these examples feature in Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Non-violent Conflict, a landmark study published last year which analyses 323 examples of resistance campaigns and rebellion between 1900 and 2006.
Authors Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan found that non-violent campaigns were twice as successful as violent ones in achieving their objectives.
Significantly when it comes to Aaronovitch's scale of authoritarianism they note: "Non-violent campaigns succeed against democracies and non-democracies, weak and powerful opponents, conciliatory and repressive regimes."
Stephan explained in an interview: "It's not the nature of the opponent that determines the effectiveness of the strategy. It's much more some of the internal, intrinsic characteristics of the movement."
We can never be certain that Iraqis could not have overthrown Saddam Hussein, though with the war having killed more than he ever did this may seem a moot point.
But - as Chomsky pointed out in 2003 - if the murderous sanctions had been lifted there was "every reason to believe they'll get rid of him."
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