If you were to plot moments on the timeline of your mortality, certain points would be highlighted for their turbulence – the Iraq War of 2003 was a seminal turning point for me and so many coming into young adulthood in those years. From being blindsided with 9/11 and the subsequent bombing of Afghanistan, to the murmurings of a war ahead.
Then it began…
Don’t attack Iraq! Stop the War Coalition, organising, marching, protesting, speaking, writing, debating, witnessing it all play out.
A dodgy dossier, the bogeyman, & the military–industrial complex
From the farcical spinning of the case for war, the buying, bullying, and bribing of the “Coalition of the Willing”, Dr. David Kelly’s still unresolved death, UN weapons inspectors pleading for more time, Saddam being the bogeyman of the age, endless Question Time debates, Panorama specials, to Halliburton, record-breaking war industry profits, the Dodgy Dossier, the 45-minute threat, Geoff Hoon wishing he was anyone but Geoff Hoon, ex-Ba’athists admitting that they fabricated evidence for US intelligence needs, and the flames of internal sectarian politics fanned.
Record-breaking turnouts for the anti-war protests, banners, placards, T-shirts… Heck, there were even ‘Stop the War’ fridge magnets and the whole ‘merch’ line to kit yourself out in.
And then you had Tony Blair barely skipping a breath, when asked what he made of so many of the British public coming out against his decision for war,
“Well, I’m proud we live in a country where people are allowed to protest.”
Justice will be served
Albright, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and many of the other neo-con hawks who architected the devastation have now left this world, back to the justice of their Creator. In returning to Him, they meet the consequences of their actions, as we all will.
Over 300,000 documented civilian deaths belie the true figure of those who perished, leaving barely a blip on the radar. Ancient artefacts looted. The middle-class academic elite of Baghdad selling their textbooks on street corners in exchange for bread. Abu Ghraib. Oh dear God, Abu Ghraib. Saddam rushed to execution on Eid morning as leaked footage showed him noosed up while men shouted from the gallows, telling him he’s about to enter Jahannam. The entire region destabilised. Fertile ground for the birth of Daesh, who would grow to become that feral illegitimate child instigating a new wave of destruction.
And after all this? Blair remains on the speaker circuit, charging astronomical fees to speak on Western attacks in the Middle East.  George W. Bush, affectionately known as ‘Dubya’, has been recast as that eccentric uncle at the family barbecue, endearing for his buffoonery. Are we beyond satire yet?
And as I reflect – in a jumble of triggered emotions – it’s shocking how quickly life zooms by. How many evaded worldly justice? How many more had their lives obliterated by the decisions of those who now milk the speaker circuit for millions? The blood on all their hands, with the idea of them being tried in The Hague is a preposterous suggestion.
No, there is no recourse for accountability here, the matter is so far gone! But, as believers, we know that the Day of Standing will be one in which all wrongs are righted; where the hands of the oppressed are filled with the mercy of Allah. And then, we will all witness it.
Abu Hurayrah (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
“On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will hold the whole Earth and fold the Heaven with His right hand and say,
‘I am the King: where are the kings of the Earth?'” 
And just as we are certain of that day, and await its arrival, we must not stop.
We must not stop caring, working, crying, and bleeding with the rest of the Ummah. We are in a fever and the restlessness should be an active discomfort – for we are all sick and we must work for the shifā’a.
The attack on Iraq was 20 years ago, and so much has happened since then. So much is no doubt yet to come, too. But at every moment, we must be ready, listening, and prepared, because we are not believers until our pain is one and the victory is one and won.
Allah says in the Qur’ān,
“The Believers, men and women, are protectors of one another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil; they observe regular prayers; practise regular charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” 
 Sahīh al-Bukharī, Vol. 9, Book 93, Hadith 479
 al-Qur’ān, 9:71