There appears to be a concerted attempt to re-write history on your Letters Pages.

Nigel Dewar Gibb (March 11) claims "Blair opened the floodgates of suffering on the Iraqi people"; Tom Minogue (March 14) alleges that Gordon Brown "promised to sign the cheques for the destruction of Iraq".

There is plenty of scope for disagreement over whether it was sensible for the UK to join the US in its invasion of Iraq. However, to pretend that Iraq was a land of peace and plenty pre-invasion is simply nonsense.

Loading article content

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who terrorised his people and waged war against his neighbours. He invaded Iran in 1980; the ensuing war lasted eight years and cost close to one million lives.

His al-Anfal campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq in 1988 and 1989 cost 180,000 civilian lives. In that campaign and in the war against Iran, Iraqi forces made extensive use of chemical weapons. And Iraq invaded the tiny state of Kuwait in 1990, only to be expelled the following year by a multi-national force, led by the US and UK.

As if life under Saddam wasn't bad enough for the Iraqi people, the UN made things even worse by imposing sanctions in the 1990s. They were supposed to contain the regime, but Saddam carried on much as before, building palaces for himself while his people starved. Unicef estimates that sanctions contributed to the premature deaths of half a million children under five years old in the period 1991 to 1998.

We saw very little of the suffering of the Iraqi people during that period, because journalists weren't allowed into the country to report on what was going on. But we know now that Iraq suffered enormously under Saddam, and it is quite false to pretend otherwise.

Agree or disagree with Tony Blair, one thing he is right about is that doing nothing has consequences too. The greatest mistake in Iraq was made not by Mr Blair nor even by George Bush, but by his father, President George H Bush: after Iraqi forces had been expelled from Kuwait in 1991, the coalition forces should have carried on to Baghdad and toppled Saddam.

Doug Maughan,

52 Menteith View,