A decade after the start of the Iraq War, new research from YouGov reveals over half (53%) of the British public think the decision to invade was wrong.
The poll, undertaken to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the conflict, reveals that slightly over a quarter (27%) of Britons believe the invasion of Iraq was right. The survey reveals marked gender differences with almost a third (32%) of men saying intervention in Iraq was the correct action, compared to under a quarter (23%) of women.
There has been a clear shift in public opinion over the last ten years. At the time of the invasion a majority (53%) of Britons believed military action in Iraq was right. This compares to less than four in ten (39%) that thought it was wrong.
YouGov’s recent poll reveals that a majority (56%) of the public believe the war has increased the risk of a terrorist attack on the UK. Three in ten (30%) say it has made no difference to Britain’s security and 7% think it has made the UK safer.
The survey shows ten years after the start of the war a plurality (41%) of Britons think the people of Iraq are better off than they would have been under the rule of Saddam Hussein and just over a fifth (21%) believe the Iraqis would have been better off under the dictator. However, seven in ten (71%) Britons say Iraq is likely to be a permanently unstable country over the next few years and just 12% think it will be a peaceful democracy.
A decade after the commencement of the conflict half (50%) of Britons believe Tony Blair deliberately set out to mislead the British public in the run up to the war about the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. This compares to under a third (31%) of Britons who say he genuinely believed Saddam Hussein possessed a stockpile of WMD.
These findings echo public opinion in October 2004, eighteen months after Britain’s intervention in Iraq, when 48% thought Mr Blair had lied about the weapons capabilities of the Iraqi regime, while 30% disagreed.
The research shows more than a fifth (22%) of the British public believe the former Prime Minister knowingly misled Parliament and the public and should be tried as a war criminal over the conflict. This compares to almost three in ten (29%) who say he was right to warn of dangers of Saddam Hussein’s regime, 18% that think he misled people but we should move on and 15% who believe he didn’t intend to give out false information about the threat posed by the Iraqi dictator.