Shock and War: Iraq 20 Years On

Shock and War: Iraq 20 Years On

By BBC Radio 4

"Essential listening..." Why the US and UK went to war in Iraq and its legacy. Gordon Corera investigates.

Twenty years ago a US-led coalition invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The UK was America's main partner. For many it remains a war based on a lie. So why did it happen? Why was Washington so fixed on regime change in Iraq? And why did the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, commit the UK to taking part? The BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera seeks to find new answers to why the war happened and what it meant. Gordon speaks to those at the centre of the story, including some of the decision-makers and those living with the consequences. Tony Blair explains his thinking and why he promised to support George Bush. Sir Richard Dearlove, who was head of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (also known as Mi6) at the time, defends the role of the intelligence services. The series also hears from the CIA's head of the Iraqi Operations Group, from weapons inspectors who were under pressure to find Saddam's WMD, and from Washington insiders. Gordon also speaks to Iraqis who experienced the "shock and awe" bombing campaign, the post-war instability and the arrival of ISIS. The series takes a fresh look at what really happened, revealing new information about the decision-making and the failures. And twenty years on, he explores some of the (ongoing) legacies of the invasion.

Episodes

10. Legacy

Have new generations of Iraqis got the freedom they were promised? What is the legacy within Iraq today particularly for a new generation seeking democracy? And how do those directly involved in events reflect on the legacy of war twenty years on?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
23/03/23·19m 29s

9. Broken Trust

The widespread view among the British public that they had been misled about the reasons for war would leave deep scars. What is the legacy of the Iraq war on trust in public life and politics, and what has been the toll on individuals and societies?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
22/03/23·15m 38s

8. The Retreat

The failures in post-war Iraq would have wider consequences for the Western desire to intervene in crises. As first Libya and then Syria slip into violence, how far did Iraq lead to a retreat and were the right lessons learned?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
21/03/23·16m 19s

7. Terror

The invasion of Iraq was supposed to be about dealing with security threats but the chaos would turbo-charge extremism both within Iraq and in the UK. How far did Iraq make the threats worse and were warnings ignored?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
20/03/23·19m 44s

6. The Day After

Saddam’s regime in Iraq was removed quickly. But what came after proved disastrous as the country was plunged into chaos and violence. Was it always inevitable?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
20/03/23·16m 18s

5. No Way Out

As the clock ticks down Tony Blair’s options begin to run out. Diplomacy fails and the limits of British influence are revealed. So was war really the only option?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
13/03/23·20m 4s

4. The Inspectors

While politicians were making bold claims about weapons of mass destruction, inside Iraq UN inspectors were hunting for them and finding nothing. Why did this not stop the march to war?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
13/03/23·18m 50s

3. The Spies

The case for war would be made based on the idea of a threat from Weapons of Mass destruction. And spies would be used to help sell it. It would leave some on the inside of British intelligence feeling deeply uncomfortable. Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
13/03/23·19m 21s

2. The Commitment

The US was set on war with Iraq. But why did Tony Blair commit Britain to joining it? Twenty years on, how does the former Prime Minister reflect on his decision?Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
13/03/23·20m 34s

1. The Decision

Why did the US want regime change in Iraq? Was it really about the threat of terrorists getting hold of weapons of mass destruction after the September 11th 2001 attacks, or was the desire much deeper? And what was the British government's reaction? Presenter: Gordon Corera Series Producer: John Murphy Producers: Ellie House, Claire Bowes Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore, Naked Productions Production coordinators: Janet Staples, Brenda Brown Series Editor: Penny Murphy
13/03/23·19m 1s

Introducing Shock and War: Iraq 20 Years On

Why did the US and UK really go to war in Iraq? And what is the legacy? The BBC’s Security correspondent Gordon Corera speaks to those at the heart of the decision-making.
03/03/23·3m 6s
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