Iraq, one year on: 'I'm petrified for me and my children that there will be an attack'

As thousands of protesters march in London today on the first anniversary of war in Iraq, The Independent asks: is the world a safer place?
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Haitham Aldamiri, 19, university student, Leeds

"I was opposed to the war and they have proved that the war did not solve the problem. Saddam is out and the United States is in now. Iraqis are too scared even to go out and get on with their lives. I think the war incited a lot of violence in the world.''

Philip Austin, 41, Quaker, Bolton, Greater Manchester

"I am saddened so much damage has been caused to other people in the past year. Such military might will only leave a legacy of hurt, which leads to further violence. Bombing terrorists in isolated groups may kill, but terrorism is an ideology, and you cannot bomb an ideology."

Barbara Elster, health lecturer, sixties, Gadshill, Kent

"I wasn't for or against it at the time. But now I think Britain and the world are certainly not safer places. I'm petrified for me, my children and my grandchildren that there will be a terror attack here."

Alan Bleasdale, 57, playwright

"We are still in the grasp of a Christian fundamentalist in Downing Street, a cowboy fundamentalist in the White House as well as potentially suicidal Muslim fundamentalists. I don't think I have ever been this angry or frightened about the politics in this country and the world."

Mark Birchenhough, 47, management consultant, London

"The consequences of war are never predictable, and Bush and Blair thought they were. It was a complete misreading of the situation, and has alienated both Arabs and Europeans from America and Britain. The notion of the war against terror is a fake one."

Katherine Hamnett, 56, fashion designer

"People realise the war was outrageous and illegal. People are angrier than a year ago because we were misled over weapons of mass destruction. The war has provided justification for attacks on the Allies. Everyone is frightened and the world seems a much more dangerous place."

Professor Sir Bernard Crick, 74, writer

"Overthrowing a tyrant by force has always been justifiable in western political thought - so long as it's likely to lead to betterment. That's the rub. The reasons our government gave were foolishly hasty - we were not threatened. It was an American affair and we should have stood aside."

Roy Clarke, 58, management consultant, Lancashire

"You can not leave maniacs in place. But I think the world is a more dangerous place because of the increased threat of terrorism. Britain is more of a target now and there will be an attack in this country."

Ann Clwyd, MP, Prime Minister's human rights envoy to Iraq

"It was justified because the Saddam regime should have been toppled a long time ago, on the grounds of the abuses of human rights. The discovery of mass graves proves that. The world was unsafe before the war and I don't think the war made it any less or more safe."

Professor Richard Dawkins, 62, evolutionary biologist

"Being stupid and ignorant as well as powerful, Bush is the most dangerous man on the planet. He has personally made the world more unsafe than it has been since the Cold War. Iraq's name has joined Israel's as a bugle call, recruiting young terrorists."

Wilfred Banfield, student, 19, Welwyn Garden City

"We may not have gone to war with the right reasons, but we achieved a good thing. The world is a safer place without Saddam. Now he's gone, the terrorist infrastructure - the money and support he was giving them - has stopped, temporarily at least."

Lord Janner of Braunstone, 75, QC

"It is important and correct that Saddam Hussein was thrown out of office. He was a mass murderer, and I am glad we are now helping Iraq establish democracy. I pray we will succeed. Had we not attacked Iraq, the danger of terrorism would be even greater. Al-Qa'ida existed before we attacked Iraq."

Sir Andrew Green, 62, MigrationWatch UK

"Is the world a safer place? No. We have reduced Iraq to chaos, so the benefit of removing Saddam must be balanced against the resultant risk of instability in Iraq and the Gulf as a whole. Meanwhile, the invasion has further antagonised the Arab and Muslim world without damaging al-Qa'ida."

David Curry 40, IT consultant, London

"I didn't approve of the war because I thought it could be handled with a diplomatic solution. The world is not a safer place now. It has become highly political in the sense that any fanatical terrorist can wear a backpack and blow us up. I feel more suspicious on the trains and Tubes now."

Jacqueline Gordon, 43, hairdressing teacher, Bolton

"Unless they had evidence about the weapons, the war should not have happened. There are many bad leaders in the world and we don't target them all. It was Bush playing tit-for-tat over 9/11. America had terror, Spain had terror, now we'll get it. It's just a case of when."

Ben Okri, 43, writer

"I think a big mistake was made, and the consequences are going to cast a very long shadow. When an unwise thing has been done there are no solutions, only consequences. But if people have a big enough vision and a big enough heart to know mistakes were made and try to heal those causes, then things will turn out better."

Elspeth Parker, 70, musician, Suffolk

"I was decidedly anti-war and I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister which said if we went to war we would forever be looking behind us. We are living in a far more dangerous world now, recent bombings in Iraq and Madrid are a response to the war. We will get the same thing here. We are the next lot."

James Pryce 24, music producer, Preston

"I was a bit confused by the argument of whether we should go to war or not because there were so many different reports. I believed in the liberation of the people, but what has happened since is another major issue. I am not sure if the world is safer now; the violence could escalate."

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, 57, former foreign secretary and defence secretary

"Iraq and terrorism are separate issues. It was not necessary to have the war on Iraq because the US and the UK had already emasculated Saddam Hussein. But the terrorist threat represented by al-Qa'ida remains as strong as ever. On that I stand with the US."

Alexei Sayle, 52, comedian

"In the past year, I have learnt about the mendacious quality of politicians, and the lies were even greater than we expected. There were no weapons of mass destruction and it's clear there never were. As for Tony Blair, I used to think he was awful and now I just think he's insane."

Padmanathan Sarvesan, 40, accountant, Docklands, London

"I'm for the war from a big picture point of view, because it's liberated the people from a very evil man. But I'm against it because of the suffering and fear the Iraqi people have now. There is a price to pay in the short term, but in the long run there will be benefits."

Dr Sally Watkins, 61, acupuncturist, Leighton Buzzard

"The Iraq war was based on a lie - the conflation of the evil that Saddam Hussein represented with al-Qa'ida. Bush always misses the point. The arrogance with which the West treats the aspirations of other people is breathtaking, we are so lacking of understanding."