Skip to main content
Where I Live
A-Z Index

BBC News

BBC Election 2005

Watch the BBC Election News
  • Election news alerts
  • Email services
  • Mobiles/PDAs
  • News for your site
Last Updated: Saturday, 30 April 2005, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Should Iraq be an election issue?
British troops in the Iraqi city of Ammarah
The decision to go to war in Iraq has continued to be at the centre of the general election campaign.

This is the third page of your comments on the Iraq War.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

It is an issue of trust
Katherine, London, UK
It is an issue of trust and it is an issue of how we want to the world to go forward. Rule of law or might is right? I am no supporter of Saddam Hussein, but this was absolutely the wrong way to go about trying to get rid of him. Perhaps we could try in the future not to support despots in the first place? If we in the West didn't prop up such hideous men in the place in our own self-interest we might not have to deal with them later.
Katherine, London, UK

Most people in Britain do not understand the effects of the war and so will not give it the attention it deserves. Out of sight, out of mind unfortunately! It should, but will not make much difference to people's choice on the election. They generally only think about home issues and what affects them directly.
Thomas, Dubai

It should absolutely be an election issue. In my view, Blair and co have misled the country about the reasons for war and as such this will reflect the way I vote in this election. If you don't vote you should not complain about the result!
Rob T, Bedford, UK

The war will always be an issue. Money and lives were spent for his misjudgement. He took a gamble of going to war ahead of focusing on his promises to his country. It didn't pay off.
Jon Kidwell, Swansea, Wales

Clearly it is an issue. The issues go beyond the rights or wrongs of the war. It is a question of democracy. The information presented by the government to justify the war was, at best, deliberately doctored. Irrespective of whether one supports the war or not, the manner in which the government presented its case for war - the intimidation of officials, the half-truths - represents a serious challenge to democratic government.

If the government is prepared to act in this way to justify war, can it be trusted on any other matter. I think that once it became clear that Blair had been highly economical with the truth, his own party should have brought him to book. They didn't. We are about to elect a government who lies to us on the most serious of matters. Maybe we're not as democratic as we'd like to think!
Jason Garner, London

This revelation proves the case for war was a blatant lie and illegal. If Blair did think that the advice vindicated his action in Iraq, then why did he fight the release of the AG advice for the last two years? Where is the sense in that?
S Taktak, Kingston, UK

Anyone who follows Bush in such a slavish manner deserves to be pilloried and I shall be casting my vote for the Lib Dems this time.
Thomas Lowry, Leeds, UK

This is one of the main reasons why I'm not voting this year. The current government simply cannot be trusted.
Debbie, Edinburgh, Scotland

All this discussion is largely irrelevant to most voters. The rest of us switched off a long time ago.
Ken Baughan, Canterbury, England

Iraq is such a polarizing issue that I suspect most people have long since made up their minds where they stand and any new evidence is unlikely to sway them. It may be an election issue but there simply aren't any extra votes to be extracted from it in the last week of the campaign.
Michael Mullen, Milton Keynes, UK

Tony Blair has won my vote with his stance on the war in Iraq. I don't believe that he lied. I ask myself one question, why would he lie? Do I really believe that he wanted to go to war just for the sake of it, know I don't. He had his reasons, Saddam was removed like any self respecting person would want him to be.

We can't just ignore these murderers and hope they go away. The Iraqi people couldn't get rid of him so it was up to us to help them. And the worst thing is that at the time the Conservative Party voted for the war, not against, so as far as I am concerned they have shown themselves to be far less trustworthy than Tony Blair.
Krista, Huddersfield, England

There was nothing to gain from lying, so I can only conclude he told the truth
KP, Manchester

What no-one has explained is why would Mr Blair want to lie to go to war? It doesn't make sense, why would he lie to risk the lives of our armed forces and Iraqi civilians, and put his own popularity on the line? There was nothing to gain from lying, so I can only conclude he told the truth.
KP, Manchester

Yes of course Iraq should be an election issue - the government made it an election issue when they decided to go to war. We live in a country capable of taking action such as that taken against Iraq, therefore it is our responsibility as voters to vote for a government who will act wisely with such a power.
Claire Alexander, Bolton, UK

Having lead the country into an illegal war in the past may be bad enough, but what about the future? Foreign politics should definitely be an election issue because whoever gets voted in will represent the UK to the whole world.
Holger, Bristol, UK

Certainly the war in Iraq should be an issue, but not the only one. You shouldn't vote in an election based on a single issue.
Lee Staniforth, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire

Yes Iraq is an election issue for me. It is an election issue, because, if not for the war, millions of Iraqis would not have had an election to choose their leader and take part in democracy. I applaud Blair for his courage and strong leadership.
John, London

Those who think Iraq is not an election issue forget about the British troops who have both died and been injured in Iraq, the many thousands who are still serving in the country, the billions of taxpayers' money spent, and the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have been killed and injured as a result of Mr Blair's allegiance to George Bush and US foreign policy.
Adrian, Wakefield

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are wasting precious electoral time on an issue where the public have already made up their minds. The choice as to whether the war is the defining issue for each individual voter has already been made, and another couple of days of media coverage will not make a difference now.
Matt Korris, London

Those who justify the war by the removal of Saddam forget that it was not presented that way at the time. Either we were purposely misled, or government didn't know what they were doing. Either is a good enough reason for me not to vote Labour.
Derek, Shropshire, UK

We can now see the legal basis for the war was inadequate
Danny Callaghan, London
The legal advice states that Dr Blix's evidence must be taken into account when determining the legality of the war. Dr Blix's evidence describes full 'passive' co-operation. Iraq had even destroyed some long range missiles as a result of the inspections.

This was interpreted by the US and UK as being inadequate, because Iraq was not informing Dr Blix's team about the whereabouts of weapons etc. However, given what we now know, i.e. there were no weapons, Iraq could not have done this. Putting this together, we can now see the legal basis for the war was inadequate. Therefore it is entirely legitimate for it to be an election issue.
Danny Callaghan, London

Iraq is a fundamental issue for me as a Lib Dem supporter and I'm glad it has emerged on the national scene, although I dislike the personal attacks. People should be asking questions going back long before Goldsmith: when did Blair and Bush make their decision to invade Iraq? Probably in spring 2002, and everything after that was engineered to make the invasion appear in the best possible.
Dorian, Rutland, UK

Tony was in a tough spot he needed to do the right thing, which he did. But he could not rely on his party or cabinet so Tony couldn't bring himself to do it the right way. If he had been straight, the Tory MPs and the country would have backed him anyway but he reverted to type, did his sincere act and told us all big fat porkies. Game over Tony.
R Holden, Reading

Yes it should be an issue but not the only one. There are many more elements to this election, by continually bringing up this issue, it shows that the Tories and the Lib Dems are running scared of Labour.
Paul Murphy, Manchester

Yes Iraq is a big election issue as it determines how our elected government acts and responds in crisis and in this case Labour has failed on both counts!
Christopher Wheatley, London

Until someone can give an honest, plausible answer, this issue will never go away
Jules, Aberdeen
Clearly Iraq is an election issue. We were taken to war on a false premise, and there has been no candour as to why. Until someone can give an honest, plausible answer, this issue will never go away.
Jules, Aberdeen

The issue is not the war per se but misrepresentation to Parliament. I am fed up with Lib Dems trying to tar the Tories with backing the war. What they backed were Blair's misrepresentations of the need for war.
Anonymous, UK

How can Charles Kennedy claim that the Iraq war was illegal whilst ignoring the Lib Dems' support for the war in Kosovo. That war also was without UN approval and without any threat to this country.
Roy, Doncaster, UK

The Iraq war should be an election issue as there were and still are doubts as to whether the war was legal. There should be no doubt at all, we were led to believe that we were under imminent threat by Iraq, within 45 minutes of destruction they said, any clear minded person knows this was a lie.

Blair and his cronies exaggerated every possible conceivable and inconceivable reason for war and used fear as a way of getting support. They have acted in a most despicable way and Blair should be impeached and held to account for what he has done.
Anthony Ridley, Basingstoke, UK

Tony Blair says the opposition should not turn his character into an election issue. On the contrary- it is the main issue. If the major parties differ so little on matters of policy, the most important consideration has to be the character of the leaders who will be implementing them. Blair has shown his contempt for the truth and for the British people - it is time the voters show their contempt for him.
Terry, Sutton, London

Going to war is the most serious and significant thing a nation can do
Michal Zapendowski, Texas
Going to war is the most serious and significant thing a nation can do, more serious than pensions, taxes or university fees. If the Prime Minister does not understand this, then... perhaps I should let the voters finish that sentence.
Michal Zapendowski, Dallas, Texas, USA

The way Tony Blair handled the advice from Lord Goldsmith shows the contempt in which he holds not only his own cabinet but also the whole of the parliament we elected. He "filtered" the information he was given in order to present the facts as he wanted them to be seen, rather than giving all the facts and allowing people to use their own intelligence in order to form their opinion. That is not the sort of man I want to lead our country.
Clive, Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK

The release of the attorney general's advice only confirms what was public domain knowledge at that time. A second UN resolution would have made the issue totally legitimate: this however was impossible to obtain because certain European allies and Russia had prior interests with Saddam's regime. When this was firmed as a threat of a UN veto, what choice was left? Stop posturing Michael Howard and Lib Dems!
Bob, Leeds

When will people who keep saying that all three major political parties would have gone to war realise that the government were the only people with the full intelligence reports? If the Tories and the Lib Dems had been in full possession of the facts I seriously doubt they would have gone to war. Remember the only information they had was what they were given by the government.
Jim, Hull

I respect people who feel the war was unnecessary, although I disagree
Belinda, London
I have carefully read the leaked document; the legal advice supported Mr Blair's final decision, as Saddam Hussein continued to obstruct and lie to inspectors and the world community. I respect people who feel the war was unnecessary, although I disagree but I have contempt for people who simply call 'liar, liar' because Mr Blair made a judgement call which they opposed. Mr Howard is particularly disgusting as he had the same intelligence information on which Mr Blair based his decision- he pretends he did not.
Belinda, London

All took place two years ago and is not a key voting issue. It is being used by the Tory party to cause as much difficulty for the Labour Party as possible. Slightly dangerous for the Tory Party since they supported UK intervention.
Tony Gorman, Teddington, England

The bigger question is why did Blair back the US so strongly when it was obvious to most of us that the Iraq "WMD evidence" was fabricated in the first place? What was in it for Britain and what was in it for Blair? Whatever it was must have been compelling for Blair to ignore legal advice and to risk his political reputation. I do not accept that this was simply some moral crusade.
Glyn Lewis, Frankfurt, Germany

Could this be Tony's "Downing Streetgate"?
Steve G, Cardiff, Wales

It is a huge issue, as our brave soldiers went to war in our name
Andy Smith, Pembrokeshire
It is a huge issue, as our brave soldiers went to war in our name. Can anybody tell me what the definition is of a war crime? Is it 'knowingly' misleading the whole population so that a country goes to war?
Andy Smith, Pembrokeshire, Wales

It is beyond reasonable doubt that the reasons presented to the public and the reasons our leaders went to war are very different, and that the difference was planned and deliberate.
James Scobbie, Scotland

Why all this hand-wringing over legal opinion? A decision to go to war had clearly already been made. The window dressing needed to be made as pretty as possible
Michael B, Ipswich

It is not about the war itself, it is about the way that Blair took us to war that is an election issue. It is about trust in politicians.
Stuart, UK

The prime minister's credibility over Iraq is now so damaged that he is risking many Labour MPs' seats, and even worse a Conservative government. The prime minister needs to realise that he is not more important than the party or the country. It is not too late for him to resign and call a full public inquiry over Iraq. If Tony Blair really cares for the future of this country that is what he needs to do, before the bloody nose turns into defeat.
Darren Waldron, Haslingden, UK

It is a vote clinching issue for me. I admired Tony Blair's resolve in doing the right thing in the face of so many bandwagon jumping armchair critics, and shall be voting to return his government accordingly.
Darren Langley, Dudley, UK

The voting will be based on immediate local concerns
Raj, Oxford
However despicable the Iraq war may be it will not change the election results. Whatever people say in public the voting will be based on immediate local concerns rather than moral high grounds.
Raj, Oxford

I think Iraq should be an election issue but in reality very little will come of it and Blair will continue refusing to discuss it. The Conservatives had long since accepted American appeasement and Labour have continued this in their turn in government. Ultimately it will continue unabated while people procrastinate over the EU and immigration.
Jamie, UK

Oh dear Mr Blair, the genie is out of the bottle now!
Neil Martindale, London, UK

Of course it should be an issue, but at the risk of sounding namby-pamby, it's not an excuse for slander and abuse. There are far too many unanswered questions, but I for one don't believe personal insults will do anything for the issue itself, nor for the Tory party. Why can't we get back to balanced debate, instead of turning it into a playground brawl?
Jennifer Hynes, Plymouth, UK

This issue desperately needs some honesty from the people who made the decisions. More inquiries are not the way forward in a post-Hutton environment.
Dean, Maidenhead, UK

Iraq absolutely is an election issue. It is the UK's chance to voice their approval or disproval of the war. Britons can't honestly continue to criticise Americans for re-electing Bush if they put Blair back in Downing Street.
Alan, London, UK

The government has an obligation to use our country's resources responsibly and with integrity
Raymond F Breakspear, Ashford
Of course it needs to be an election issue! Our army is for our defence. Iraq posed no threat to the UK. The government has an obligation to use our country's resources responsibly and with integrity. The government has failed in both respects and should be held to account.
Raymond F Breakspear, Ashford, Kent, UK

No, it should not be an issue for the simple reason that every one of the three main parties would have taken exactly the same action.
Julie, UK

The continuing war in Iraq should be a permanent feature of the current political landscape as lives are still being lost on a daily basis. Election or no election.
Eddie Henry, Aberystwyth, Wales

Of course the war in Iraq is an election issue. I would vote Green if I could because they're the only party that opposed it before it started, while it was on and through the occupation. Labour and the Tories supported it throughout and the Lib Dems supported it whilst it was on, only changing their minds when public opinion moved against it.
George, Chessington, Surrey

It's curious that Mr Blair can take us to war to impose democracy on another country whilst he's simultaneously trying to overturn democracy in our own country. The government has enjoyed a large majority in Parliament which has enabled them to do what they like, and when the Lords has disagreed, he's simply invoked the Parliament Act.
Paul Rowlands, United Kingdom

Could it be that Mr Blair's legacy will be decided not by the election but by the courts?
Philip, London, UK

Yes I think they should. I am getting the feeling that Blair is going to become the UK's Nixon.
John, France

The latest Conservative poster says it exactly as it is: "If he's prepared to lie to win a war he's prepared to lie to win an election". Only people who don't like to hear or read the truth will whinge about it.
Judith Chisholm, London, England

It's an issue for me. It's why I will vote for the Liberals for the first time.
Jack, Essex

Tony Blair is not to blame for the Iraq war. He did it for the country not himself
Clay John, Cardiff, Wales
I think the Conservatives need more time to decide what they want to do about the country. Tony Blair is not to blame for the Iraq war. He did it for the country not himself.
Clay John, Cardiff, Wales

Absolutely, we had/have no right to involve ourselves with a culture that we do not understand.
Simes Packer, Zurich, Switzerland

Of course Iraq is an issue. It is of paramount importance that our politicians, particularly our government, are honest and act with integrity.
R Pitcher, Cannock

We were not the only country to send a force into Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved because action was taken to topple a cruel dictator. Along with our allies we should intervene more often and more decisively in future conflicts.
Derek Wade, Kingston upon Hull

Iraq should not be an election issue, because for the last couple of years, we've talked about little else in British politics. Let's pick the government of the day on the basis of issues such as the economy, health, crime, transport, education and immigration. Let's discuss the policies and not be subjected to some cheap marketing campaign.
D Verma, Spitalifelds, London

Surely, the outside world will consider Blair's re-election as an endorsement of the war he and his buddy in Washington unleashed.
Serge Dwell, Ottawa, Canada

The war in Iraq was legal, democratically. It achieved the result required to protect the innocent from a tyrant and murderous leader. This should hold no bounds for the election. Nor an issue.
Paul, Chelmsford Essex

War on Iraq was a wrong decision just to please the Americans
Salah Mustafa, Leeds
War on Iraq was a wrong decision just to please the Americans! We can't just decide for ourselves which nations deserve democracy and which don't. Why Iraq while there are other oppressive regimes across the Arab world receiving our blessings and support?
Salah Mustafa, Leeds, UK

I blame France for the Iraq War. If they stood by the USA and Britain I don't think it would been a war. However, the French stance let Saddam know he could split the Western Countries.
Ralph Owen, Tredegar, South Wales

Any government issue is an election issue. Each person just chooses which are most important to them. Blair's avoidance of it just shows that he knows he has a case to answer.
Chris, UK

The Iraqi issue is about civil liberties. And he has gradually eroded this in the UK, as well. How can you trust this man?
Jay Patel, Harrow

The war has resulted in more terror globally - a damming fact that Tony Blair cannot hide from this time.
Gary Lister, Waltham, UK

This is the first general election since 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In normal circumstances, Blair would be running as a victorious war leader, and national security would be top of the campaign agenda. The fact that this is not the case speaks volumes about Blair's own acceptance of his dishonesty over Iraq, his spinelessness in dealing with the US, and the intellectual redundancy of his plans to attack our civil liberties. Little wonder the campaign is becoming personal when we have to live with the consequences of the lousy judgement of one deluded leader.
Daniel Owen, London, UK

Of course Iraq is an election issue. Our troops are still where they shouldn't be
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames
50 to 60 insurgent attacks a day in Iraq, terrorist attacks in the world up fivefold in 2004 over 2003. Of course Iraq is an election issue. Our troops are still where they shouldn't be and Tony shows no sign of discussing their return, unlike the Italians, Dutch, Spanish etc.
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK

I opposed the war. I don't like violence. But any party that had been in Labour's place would have gone to war, no matter what they say in hindsight. I don't feel the war should be a central issue, it probably would have happened the same way no matter who was in No. 10 at the time.
Richard, Guildford

This is a very cheap trick on behalf of the Lib Dems. Yes, the Iraq war is one amongst many issues that need to be considered when deciding whom to vote for. However to suggest that the election is a referendum just about sums up the contribution the Lib Dems will make, I have no doubt that the Tories will also jump on the bandwagon.
John Godfrey, Glastonbury

Of course this is an election issue. Hutton, Butler et al cannot convince me that black is white. I cannot think of a graver breach of Government integrity, apart from maybe electoral fraud.
Steve Finighan, Richmond, North Yorkshire

We have to remember Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan as well as the many soldiers and civilians killed. Blair had to make a decision and he made the wrong one.
Paulina, Bromley, UK

Whilst we are still spending billions of pound on Iraq and our troops are based there, it has to be an issue.
Matt Davenport, Dagenham, UK

There can be no bigger election issue than going to war
Keith Mansfield, London
There can be no bigger election issue than going to war. Especially what most people consider an unjust and ill-conceived war.
Keith Mansfield, London, UK

Of course Iraq is an election issue. My taxes are spent on weapons being used in a war I (and more than half the population at the time) considered wrong. I want the opportunity to get rid of these people who have made me feel ashamed to be British.
Mark, London UK

I am sick of people saying Tony Blair should say sorry for going to war. These critics should look back in history especially in the 1930's. Hitler was destabilising the whole of Europe with his expansion plans. Some countries tried to ignore him, others sympathised with him, others tried to form alliances with him but nobody tried to stop him. All the people that say we should not have gone to war but use diplomacy are the same type of people that stood by and watched Hitler conquer Europe. Diplomacy doesn't work with mad men. George Bush and Tony Blair took the only course possible.
Tony Baker, Yateley

Iraq should be an election issue; it's the main reason to vote Labour
Peter, Chicago
Iraq should be an election issue; it's the main reason to vote Labour. Blair, unlike Bush, has said sorry for the WMD failings. Without Blair's courage Iraq would not be governing itself. Saddam was the world's most murderous tyrant since Mao, Pol Pot and the Rwandan Hutu Generals. The world turned a blind eye to these tyrants, but Blair stood up to Saddam and he has given democracy to the mass majority of Iraqis. Lib Dems sound like spine-less appeasers to me.
Peter, Chicago, USA

Yes, it should be an election issue, because Tony Blair won my vote with the brave decision to go against the Liberal do-gooders and help liberate Iraq into the shining beacon of democracy that it now enjoys! Anti-war protesters probably don't know how to vote given they support regimes like Saddam anyway.
Peter Franson, London

Despite public enquiries into the issue of whether or not Tony Blair lied, neither of which concluded that he did, Charles Kennedy is still calling for another. Will he continue to do so until he gets the findings he wants? It's a joke now and should be left well alone. There are many Iraqis who are delighted that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power and that Britain helped to get rid of him.
Janet McCann, Doncaster

It was a controversial decision made by the government, and endorsed by a majority of MPs. As it is a question of integrity and judgement, I cannot think of anything that is more of an election issue.
Robert Sharp, Edinburgh, UK

Early Iraq legal advice 'leaked'
27 Apr 05 |  Election 2005

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit