The Sketch: £20bn for a functioning democracy? What a bargain!

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The Independent Online

Just to recap. The World Trade Centre was bombed by al-Qa'ida from its Afghan fastness. George Bush, assuming he could do for his old enemy Saddam Hussein, set out to rig the evidence, mobilise public opinion and invade I-raq (sic). He got Tony Blair to cover him in Britain, evidence was rigged, public opinion was mobilised and off we went.

Gordon Brown came to the Commons yesterday to announce the end of the story. For most of the intervening period, remember, he had not been Labour's most hawkish warlord. He had been moving among his back benches, writing books called Courage and hinting that he would have stood up to Bush manfully. Only when his premiership was in sight did he reveal that he had always been a great supporter and polish up Bush's boots for him with lick, spittle and Presbyterian grease.

The news. He came to the Commons to say that it was over. The troops would be home by May. A force of 400 would be left there so that an inquiry could never be held in the UK into the causes of the war.

Looking back over the blood and money, Adam Price asked, has it been worth it? Oh, yes! No, it's been a great success! The PM was clear on that. It was also very good value for money – for £20bn we have a functioning democracy in Iraq. That's cheap at twice the price.

Also, the "security forces" have been trained up. We didn't get figures for criminals and terrorists hanged in the basement of the police building but I'm sure it's all best practice. When democrats hang people like that you save on all sorts of costs. But it's "democracy" as the PM kept saying. That's what made it worthwhile.

Nick Clegg might sneer that the invasion was "the worst foreign policy decision in 50 years". And Harry Cohen might claim there were a million dead and four million refugees, and that the economy was devastated and sold off to foreign contractors and... But let's stop talking our achievements down. Saddam has been sent on his way. And most of those deaths were sectarian killings – Iraqi headbangers killing Iraqi nutjobs.

And pace Charlie Kennedy, we hadn't kept any sort of account of Iraqi dead because "that is a matter for the Iraqi government". Paul Keetch asked whether the PM would agree Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction capable of being launched in 45 minutes? The PM did answer that, but I'm not going to tell you how, in case it makes you dislike him. And it's Christmas, for some of us.

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