Iraq weighs heavily on people's minds these days. The violence, the effectiveness of the troop surge, the earliest date for withdrawal. Since the invasion in 2003, no weapons of mass destruction have been found, sectarian divisions have grown and bombings and fighting has become more frequent. Why did we even go in?
We need to remember that it started with 9/11. Because a few dozen men managed to create such terror over the world's wealthiest and most powerful nation, the elimination of the terrorists appeared key. Afghanistan was invaded, and the oppressive regime sent into hiding. Months later, the case against Saddam Hussein was made by Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney and President Bush, resulting in American troops entering and toppling the dictatorship. It has later emerged that this case was about as flimsy as a sheet of paper, its inferences non-existant.
We now have a situation where two wars which have nothing to do with each other are being fought in the same region, breeding discontent and hatred.
Reading personal accounts of life in Iraq before and after the fall of Saddam, I cannot help but feel sorry. Although their lives weren't brimming with freedom and democracy, they lived securely in their homes, were able to walk the streets safely at night and do at least some of the things we would consider to be normal. Now, Iraq resembles not a bad dream, but some vicious psychotic episode.
Once peaceful neighbours are defined as 'them', while buying goods at a market in Baghdad is tantamount to suicide. With the coming of dawn is the discovery of bodies in the streets, pieces of flesh beaten and slashed like unwanted carcasses.
Watching a scene from a CNN programme on reporting the war, it was this that hit me the hardest. The daily lot of corpses collected from the area lies strewn on a courtyard, while families come along looking for missing relatives. A woman in a burkha passes by one row. She starts suddenly and lets out a terrifying, shrieking wail. Her husband's body has caught her attention.
These people are as innocent as you or I. Watching footage like that makes me wonder if there is any justice in the world.
Of course those responsible are the monstrous insurgents, an enormous cancer slowly destroying everything that is Iraq.
But there is no doubt that also to blame for this suffering are those who started this war. That there are still some members of this demonic clique still in power today is shameful.
This is not an attack on America - indeed, the same sense of sorrow that fills me when I hear of Iraqi suffering also rises when I hear of nineteen year old soldiers dying for their country. This is a call for those responsible for the situation to be stamped out of authority and be disgraced publicly.
That, at least, is owed to the newly widowed, and to the memories of those brave men.