West applying lessons learned from Iraq war to stifle dissent over Ukraine: Ex-UK Envoy

WASHINGTON (Sputnik): Orwellian messaging and media control techniques the Western powers honed in the run up to and during the Iraq war are being applied two decades later to stifle any dissent over involvement in the Ukraine conflict, former UK ambassador Peter Ford told Sputnik.

On March 19, 2023, the US launched the invasion of Iraq based on what turned out to be the false premise that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. The US and Western press strongly beat the drums for war before the invasion. A FAIR watchdog group poll revealed that 70% of American sources cited in stories in the run up to the invasion were pro-war and a mere 3% were categorized as anti-war.

The war itself was accompanied by images and stories about human rights abuses, including the crimes committed by American personnel at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, although some journalists were targeted for covering such issues.

“Policymakers resolved to get better at manipulating domestic opposition to military adventurism, notably by tighter control over corporate media,” Ford said about lessons learned from the Iraq war. “The Ukraine crisis is the perfect illustration of how these lessons have been applied. Dissent over involvement in Ukraine is stifled to an Orwellian degree, while the US shows a limitless capacity for enduring Ukrainian casualties.”

Polls in recent weeks and months have shown that voters in US and Western countries are growing weary of supporting and providing arms to Ukraine in the conflict with Russia – with many calling for negotiations to commence.

There has been criticism, particularly in the United States, about the near complete lack of debate or opposition to using billions of taxpayer dollars to fund a foreign war. Even the anti-war Democratic progressive bloc in Congress has so far backed sending military aid to Kiev.

Ford observed that despite the fallout over the Iraq invasion the US government, amplified once again by the mainstream media, continues to lecture others about respecting a “rules-based order.”

“That a country which invaded and occupied another country thousands of miles away representing zero threat to itself should now pose as a beacon of virtue invites derision not respect,” Ford concluded.

Dozens of countries took part in the Operation Iraqi Freedom at different times, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and Australia. Within three weeks of the invasion Iraqi civilians and US troops pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

Although Bush declared “mission accomplished” in May of 2003, the US remained embroiled in fierce fighting that would leave over 4,400 American troops dead before combat operations ended in 2011.