Iraq war damaged Britain, says new poll

Majority say the invasion, 10 years ago, hurt the UK's reputation, but remain in favour of armed intervention when justified

More than half the British public believes involvement in the Iraq war damaged the country's reputation around the world, a new poll reveals today.

On the 10th anniversary of the invasion, the survey by King's College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori shows opposition to UK involvement is the majority view. But most people still think the UK should intervene abroad when justified.

The public's view of whether the war in Iraq was justified has shifted over the years. Polling trends show support peaked at over 60 per cent in favour in April 2003 after the fall of Baghdad, but by 2007, 83 per cent opposed the war, driven by the feeling that the public had been deceived, particularly by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Some 52 per cent said the war had damaged the UK's standing, and four in 10 thought it had made the world a more dangerous place.

However, in an article for The Independent on Sunday today, the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, insists that the Iraq experience should not prevent the UK intervening in conflicts around the world – including the Syrian civil war.

"Iraq means we have to be alert to the complexity of the situation in Syria, with its disparate opposition groups and rival agendas," the Deputy Prime Minister writes. "But it does not mean standing by."

The extent of public hostility to the invasion of Iraq comes as a series of official reports have raised questions over the country's progress in key areas of development, including health, education and human rights.

Last week, a UN assessment of Iraqi performance against key "millennium development goals" (MDGs) found "a mixed picture", saying Iraq had made major achievements in reducing extreme poverty and increasing gender equality. But school enrolment rates had dropped 2 per cent from the 91 per cent recorded in 1990, and infant and maternal mortality rates still lagged behind targets. Life expectancy fell from 68 in 2000 to 66 in 2009, according to figures from the World Health Organization.

The Iraq expert Fanar Haddad, who will speak at a London conference on the 10th anniversary this week, said the country had "exchanged one catastrophe for another" in 2003. "A businessman will most likely have a more positive view due to the opening up of Iraq to the outside world and the improved economic conditions. However, this has to be contrasted with the very real security worries and the continuing failure to provide decent services and the staggering corruption that eats away at Iraqi governance."

Jane Kinninmont, a regional expert at Chatham House, said: "Levels of violence have fallen since the civil war of 2006-07, but on average 12 people a day died last year."

John Gearson, professor of national security studies at KCL, said: "[The fact that] over 75 per cent of the public state the UK should intervene when UK interests are directly threatened or human rights are at stake suggests this is still not a country that believes it should be inward-looking and leave the world to sort itself out while the UK concerns itself with home defence."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; Moorgate up to £23k

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; ...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Sales Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fragrance store are looking for enthusias...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Executive - UK / International

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a long-established, renown...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible