(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/7.)
A few hours before the publication of the Chilcot report yesterday, I heard an Iraqi man talking on the radio. He was one of the many who had cheered the fall of Saddam Hussein. Now, 13 years on, he looked back on pre-invasion Iraq with nostalgia. For him and his family, life under a murderous dictator seemed far safer than it did today.
“They came to save us but they had no plans,” says an Iraqi exile, bitterly, at the end of David Hare’s 2004 play Stuff Happens, which was last night given a one-off revival – to mark the publication of the Chilcot report – in a rehearsed reading, directed by Hare, at the Lyttelton theatre. “Iraq has been crucified,” continues the exile. “By Saddam’s sins, by 10 years of sanctions, by the occupation and now the insurgency. Basically it’s the story of a nation that has failed in only one thing. But it’s a big sin. It failed to take charge of itself. And that meant the worse person in the country took charge. A country’s leader is a country’s own fault.”