Find out what you had to say about the Question Time Iraq special on Thursday, 22 March, 2007 from London.
The topics discussed were:
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:
Audience question: Four years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, is the world now a safer place?
Can we please lay to rest the myth that the majority of people in the UK are opposed to the war in Iraq? There are over 60 million people in this country, fewer than two million of whom cared enough to protest about the invasion. There is a small minority opposed to the war, a slightly larger minority (myself included) who, with a heavy heart, agree that it had to be done (and also agree that it could have been done better) while the vast majority couldn't find Iraq on a map of Iraq and couldn't give a stuff either way.
Dave Pressland, Kent
Everyone wanting to even begin talking about this subject should first accept that this matter is deeply complex, that all the information that any of us have is biased, that there are layers of agendas that will never be uncovered and that there will never be agreement over the correct way forward.
The Iraqi people are the only ones who can forgive those responsible for the utter catastrophe that has fallen on them - those responsible being amongst them, and amongst us.
Personal stories of poignant experiences are not helpful. Talk of freedom and liberation are not helpful. A promise to be honest and transparent in our intent in the future is the only place to start the repair of this mess.
Susan Mandeville, Oxford
Saddam had to go, but there were better ways to get rid of him.
Sarah Davis, Stafford
Is the world a safer place? When has it ever been a safe place? Under the surface, every country has been looking for excuses to build up their forces, nuclear or otherwise; and terrorists in many areas have been people waiting for the right time and situation so they can claim some excuse to be violent towards their fellow man. It is about power and prejudice.
Sean Clunn, Southend
While I personally have reservations about the war in Iraq, I have to take issue against people who say that the government was wrong to go into the conflict when we live in a country where a MAJORITY cannot be bothered to go out and vote. Meanwhile, as Benazir Bhutto mentioned, the people of Iraq queued to vote for a democratic government.
Kevin Seery, Warrington
Text: The world is a lot more dangerous now we've opened up a hornet's nest.
Text: It will be a far safer world when Bush and Blair have gone.
Text: Remember who put Saddam in power in the first place.
How can the world be a safer place after the invasion of Iraq when we have North Korea testing nuclear weapons and Iran developing nuclear weapons ready and prepared for possible use? The invasion of Iraq by America and Britain has put fear into other countries opposed to democracy. I fear they would be all too ready to use nuclear weapons as a first resort should they ever be attacked. The United Nations must become more involved far sooner in the possibility of any conflict. If the United Nations were brought in earlier thousands of lives would be saved. The loss of life on all sides in Iraq has been tragic.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex
To Iraqis, American-style freedom and democracy means the chaos of civil war, destruction and frequent death. Shias and Sunnis lived side-by-side under Saddam.
Aurelie Reid, Norwich
Text: Short memories? Where did Saddam get his weapons?
Text: Saddam's in his grave. It's a crumb of comfort as the war rumbles on.
SG, Field Dalling
How can John Bolton say that the world is safer now than it was four years ago? I bet a straw poll of Iraqis and British people would disagree. A dictator is gone... but more innocent Iraqis have died in the last four years due to the political situation, as opposed to how many innocent Iraqis died in the whole of Saddam Hussein's regime! If it was America's and Britain's duty to get rid of Saddam Hussein, who had no weapons of mass destruction, what makes Kim Jong-Il and Robert Mugabe immune from American and Allies' invasion?
Aurelie Reid, Norwich
Text: It was a well-meant intention which back-fired.
Text: We have enraged the Islamic world by creating a bigger disaster than Saddam.
Text: It's not a safer place but there's a lot more oil about.
Text: We should support our soldiers in Iraq. Saddam had to be removed and we must see it through.
Audience question: Will President Bush's troop surge strategy reverse an apparent worsening situation in Iraq?
Are the reported 1,000,000 civilian lives lost in the ongoing conflict in Iraq equivalent to the 3,000 Americans who died in the terror attacks on Sept 11?
Neil Donald, West Lothian
It is arrogance to say the UN security council can't handle these situations when the UK and US form 40% of the permanent security council. And we can also see from comparing Afghanistan and Iraq that Afghanistan had the support of the UN, and you can see the difference in the number of civilian casualties.
Theophilus Appah, London
It is time that we stopped trying to protect the world and look after ourselves. Look at the men, women and children that have died in the conflict on both sides.
Peter Johnson, Bishop Auckland
I am amazed that not one person on tonight's show has directly challenged the legality of the invasion of Iraq. Some have indirectly hinted at it, but most have called it a war. The facts are clear in that the war was created through the invasion. The Iraqis are still defending their country against the invaders.
Lee Morgan, Walsall
Text: Pull our troops out now.
Text: How many of the so-called insurgents are ordinary Iraqis whose families have been killed?
Text: Our troops are coming home only to be sent to Afghanistan.
Text: I just feel sorry for our troops. They have a thankless task to perform out there.
Text: All our troops should be withdrawn before the Americans finish them off.
Blair and Bush
Audience question: How will history judge Tony Blair and George Bush on Iraq: as champions of freedom or as failed politicians who got it all wrong?
By the US and UK becoming aggressive we played into the hands of the militant Muslims.
This could go on for a hundred years, with power hungry leaders on both sides using scare tactics to justify aggression. It is a pattern that has been repeated again and again throughout history, with every agressor that has ever lived. When will the cycle of escalation be broken and by whom?
Leann Barber, London
Do you think that Western governments are so foolish to think that Iraq is ready for democracy? Democratic nations evolve through time, you cannot change the mentality of an entire nation in a few years. Democracy is born from education and security, neither of which are being provided by allied forces.
Ian Hayward, Swindon
Why is the totally factually inaccurate statement that the US and UK armed Saddam allowed to remain unchallenged? Anyone who followed these issues knows perfectly well that the most reputable liberal organisations verified that the major arms/weapons suppliers to Saddam were Russia and France, then Germany.
The UN in 2004-5 documentation again showed that it was primarily these sources that provided weapons and the wherewithal for other non-conventional weapon development. The US and UK contribution was minimal. The US despicably provided Iraq with intelligence on Iran during that war. But the facts are always misrepresented.
In the future, history will reveal the rights and wrongs of invading Iraq; for the present, there is probably a great deal of information that we, the public, do not know.
There are more subtle ways to destroy democracy than through outright repression and we should recognise the signs that bit by bit our freedom of thought in this country is being eroded.
Elizabeth Bell, Birkenhead
Text: Democracy grows from within. It can't be imposed militarily.
Text: Bush is an accident happening. He has little clue and is a liability.
Text: Tony Blair went into Bosnia and Kosovo to aid the Muslims. No oil there. Explain that!
Text: OK, OK. But how should we deal with the likes of Saddam, Hitler, Mugabe etc?
Text: I am in the armed forces and it scares me that people like these decide where I serve.
Text: If we had had a plan about what to do with the country after we'd gone in, things might be different.
Text: Britain and US are standing together to fight for a just cause. John Bolton does make a lot of sense.
Text: We ignore Mugabe's atrocities. No oil?
Text: An attack for WMD was possibly legal. Regime change is not.
I'm so fed up with hearing the same arguments being traded about why we went to war and who is responsible for the terrible mess we now find ourselves in. What are we going to do about it? Can we not have a debate where we discuss what the best course of action is to resolve this problem, with input from Iraqi politicians and politicians from neighbouring countries who have a vested interest in creating a stable and viable Iraq.
I was disappointed in the programme. Far too much dwelling on the past - major mistakes maybe - and too little opportunity for the panellists to express their ideas for the future. This was one of the few chances to educate thinking people about what the latest strategies are, and what politicians think of their chance of success, and I feel that chance was blown.
Clive Jefferson, Lairg
I think John Bolton was genuinely amazed at the depth of anti-war feeling expressed by the audience tonight.
B Milner, Plymouth
Nice to hear John Bolton defend the rights and liberties that we take for granted in this country.
Warren Tarling, Nottingham
How can a whole programme about Iraq go by without a single reference to WMD?
Phil Penrose, Keith
Who are WE to be meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq in the first place? We should get our own house in order and invest in our own schools, hospitals and youth before presuming to sort out another nation's infrastructure.
Christopher Gregory, London
I would love to see a panel of Iraqi people and politicians debating the subject.
Simon Alexander, Oxford
What a shocking panel - two thirds of the UK is against this war and yet only one decent anti-war voice on the panel? You were right to have on Tony Benn but George Galloway should have been on also.
Dylan Carr-Michael, Chelsea
Congratulations to the BBC for presenting this important debate. How easy it would have been instead to discuss the relevance of a tuppeny tax saving?
John Bell, Liverpool
Text: Great to see Charles Kennedy on the panel. Top bloke.
Text: Tony Benn. Excellent. We'll get some plain speaking tonight.
Text: Was George Bush invited too?
The best QT for months. We finally have a mature and grown-up debate about Iraq without the usual hysterical Bush bashing. John Bolton was a breath of fresh air compared to Tony Benn's infantile left-wing anti-Americanism and Israel bashing. Can we have more sensible debates like these and less Stop The War rallies in future?
N Murdoch, Coatbridge, Scotland
Mr Benn was the grandfather of tonight's show, wise, full of experience and knowledge of what he was talking about and giving us a warning about everything he has learnt about peace during his fine life. I wish it had been that Tony who had become Prime Minister.
Text: Why is the ONLY anti-war party, George Galloway's Respect, not represented?
Text: John Bolton might like to say why the USA did NOTHING when the Kurds were gassed with their weapons.
Text: Honest answers with Tony and Charles on panel.
John Bolton is so typical of American politicians. His blinkered insinuation that America can do what they want regardless of what the rest of the worlds governments opinions are, just wreaks of America believing they can police the world as they choose. His attack on the audience because they choose to question the merits of the Iraq invasion was laughable and strengthens my belief that we must break free from them as political allies. When will America ever learn that force seldom helps?
Rory Moran, Portsmouth
Text: An important debate and no leading politician like Blair/Cameron on the panel? Typical.
Text: Benazir Bhutto is fascinating. A real coup for the Beeb for getting her on.
Text: Bhutto forgets Pakistan is not a democracy and has WMD.
Well done to the Beeb for tonight's programme. A well balanced panel and audience. Informed comment from high profile representatives, including the two ambassadors in the audience. Keep the 'Question Time' ratings high - more programmes of this quality please.
Richard Slater, Bury
What a wonderful programme tonight's 'Question Time' turned out to be; such an interesting audience and panel;(particularly Bhutto and Benn). I did enjoy David Dimbleby's assured authority over the proceedings. How revealing it was that John Bolton was admittedly "depressed" about any views which did not correspond with his own, but at least he had the courage to take part in the programme; (not as much courage as the troops need, of course). America is hoist with its own petard in Iraq; America had no exit strategy, and it never seems to learn from its previous mistakes.
John Spinks, Westcliff-on-Sea
Text: Bolton is rattled. He isn't used to a programme where they don't break for ads every two minutes!
Text: What happened to gorgeous George? He would wipe the floor with this bunch.
Text: Surely John Bolton is entitled to his opinion.
Text: Bolton is earthbound, everyone else is in cuckoo land.
Text: A lively panel but a deadly audience this week.
Wonderful to hear the intelligent well-balanced analysis of Benazir Bhutto, what an excellent contribution to the debate she made. On the other hand Tony Benn just kept de-railing serious discussion with easy sound bites about oil and who's to blame etc, just to get a cheap round of applause. Regardless where you stand on such issues, it added nothing at all to the debate and was completely self-serving. It's also embarrassing to have to watch. Disgraceful given the gravity of the subject, he should be ashamed of himself.
Steve, Milton Keynes
Text: Benazir Bhutto has amazing stage presence.
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