The main thrust of the articles published viewed the war through a very selfish reducing prism. The war was an attempt to free a people who had spent many years living under an oppressive dictatorship, which had been responsible for the deaths of a million people. Also, the intention was to lift the fear of an attack on the West by weapons of mass destruction supplied to terrorists by Saddam Hussein. British and American troops were risking their lives in a noble cause and many of them were in fact killed to free the Iraqi people.
But Building could only see the war in terms of how the contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq might go to American firms, or how British contractors might be too scared to tender for work. The costs of the war were emphasised and equated with the number of hospitals that could be built. It is invidious to compare the cost of a cruise missile with a hospital ward. Gordon Brown has assured us that we can afford both. In any case as, Ho Chi Minh said in the 1960s, "nothing costs more than freedom". How many hospitals would have been needed if there was a chemical weapons attack on central London launched by a terrorist group with weapons supplied by Saddam Hussein?
I know Building is a specialist publication but it would not hurt to see the big picture rather than the self-regarding and petty view you in fact adopted.
As Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins said in his morale-boosting speech on the eve of the advance into Iraq: "We go to liberate, not to conquer. We are entering Iraq to free a people, and the only flag that will be flown in that ancient land is their own … You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest, for your deeds will follow you down in history." Building's view was only to see the shillings and pence.
Are we in the construction industry so small-minded that all we can think of when world changing events are occurring is how they will affect the number of PFI contracts available next year? There really are more important things in life.
Mike English, via email.