Iraq attack – a world changing calamity

The Iraq attack twenty years ago was an arrogant folly of gargantuan proportions which set in motion a cascading avalanche of ruinous effects across the Middle East and beyond. With no American plan for rebuilding after the defenestration of Saddam, the country fell prey to chaos, conflict, corruption and sectarianism. Iran was emboldened, the Islamic State’s violence moved into the vacuum and the disintegration of Syria followed. Millions were displaced and it sounded the death knell for the notion of western intervention as a force for good.

 One Iraqi said: ‘We have a saying that captures the devastation of our country: ‘Saddam has gone, but 1,000 more Saddams have replaced him.’

IS-led terror attacks fuelled the resurgence of populism and ethnonationalism in Europe, leading for example to Brexit where immigration was a central theme. Donald Trump ran for president on an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim platform.

  Putin used the same pretext of ‘pre-emption’ as GW Bush et al had done in invading a country that had no plans to attack anyone.

  Baghdad is safe and prosperous now but the state remains weak. Money laundering flourishes and Iraq remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

  The attack went ahead on 20 March 2003 on the basis of false intelligence with questionable legality and in the face of strong public opposition in the UK where two million marched in a stop-the-war protest a month before, which Tony Blair blithely ignored.

  The attack was launched at 5.30 am on a Saturn in Gemini opposition Pluto in Sagittarius, which is the aspect most connected to war and deprivation. Pluto was almost exactly on the midheaven at the start in Baghdad and both squared onto a Pisces Mercury Sun. There was also an Air Grand Trine of Saturn on the IC trine an 8th house Moon trine a 12th house Venus = emotionally cold – formed into a Kite by Saturn opposition Pluto making power-hungry and destructive Pluto the leading planet. The Air influence may also connect to the aerial bombardment. Uranus was at zero degrees Pisces. No Earth signs hints at a lack of practicality and realism.

  What struck me at the time was the difference between the US view – relocated to Washington, DC, the attack had a grandstanding ‘shock and awe’ Sun in the performing/entertaining 5th with overtones of financial interests (and costs). Whereas set in London it suggested hard work with little appreciation from a 6th house Saturn and powerlessness with Pluto in the 12th – and was hardly the UK’s finest hour politically or militarily.

When it kicked off tr Neptune in Aquarius was squaring the UK’s 8th house Mars, which suggests failure. And the UK’s Pluto, both natal and Solar Arc was being rattled.

  The previous Total Solar Eclipse of December 2002 had a Sagittarius New Moon conjunct Pluto and Neptune on the Ascendant set for Bagdad; and the following Lunar Eclipse of May 2003 was even more descriptive with Uranus on the Midheaven and Pluto on the Descendant.

  GW Bush, 6 July 1946 7.26 am New Haven, CT, had the transiting Saturn opposition Pluto sitting directly on top of his Gemini North Node conjunct Uranus with his SA Saturn square his North Node – so a destiny-changing moment for him leading to impulsive decisions. Tr Neptune was just over the devastating/confusing opposition to his 1st house Pluto as he was struggling to cope with the fallout from 9/11.

  Tony Blair, 6 May 1953 6.10am Edinburgh, intent on striding the world stage playing with the big boys, had a friendly relationship chart with GWB with a composite Sun Venus trine Neptune, so overtones of illusion and delusion as well. But more significantly there is a Jupiter Pluto conjunction, hinting at misplaced over-confidence in the partnership leading to a rules-don’t-apply-to-us folie a deux. Transiting Neptune was moving in square to that Jupiter Pluto and midpoints across the invasion and in the disastrous aftermath.

  On Blair’s own chart tr Neptune was conjunct his 10th house Moon undermining his political reputation; and tr Saturn was moving downhill through his less successful, banana-skin-strewn First Quadrant.

   Iraq itself has two charts, both of which work well.

23 August 1921 6am Baghdad – had the panicky-failure tr Neptune exactly opposition its Mars; tr Saturn opposition Pluto in hard aspect to its Jupiter Saturn conjunction; the SA Moon and SA South Node conjunct the Pluto – which is descriptive of the collapse. Tr Uranus at zero Pisces was also heading to hard aspect the Descendant and Midheaven for a complete re-set of direction and relationships.

14 July 1958 4am Baghdad – tr Uranus was exactly opposition the Pluto for an almighty disruption. The tr Saturn opposition Pluto was colliding with the Iraq Saturn in Sagittarius opposition Moon Venus in Gemini; and tr Neptune was moving across the Iraq Uranus Mercury during and immediately after.

  It was terrifying to watch at the time and even more chilling to reflect on the knock on effects worldwide in later years.

16 thoughts on “Iraq attack – a world changing calamity

  1. I remember March, 2003. At the time, as part of an OU course I was studying the play ‘The Persians’, (‘Persae’) by Aeschylus and I recall watching the news as Bush was inspecting the troops before they set off for Iraq. The Persians btw is a play about an ill-fated military expedition which ends in tragedy because the Persian empire assumes it will simply crush Athens, due to its might and skillful generals. Couldn’t have been more apt for the time, but for the fact that we all knew Iraq would be a distaster.

  2. The number of refugees flooding into Europe helped propel the far-right within Western democracies.
    Although this initially seemed to affect Europe more than the US due to proximity, this is no longer the case, and it is clear now that the war has rebounded in ways never imagined when Bush proclaimed ‘Mission Accomplished’. The US is fighting its own internal battles against fascism (which was always latent from its inception with enslaved people). Psychologically it’s as if, having run out of external enemies upon which to project, it is finally attacking itself, the real source of its neurosis.

  3. Thank you Marjorie for this post. What is so shocking is that those who lied to bring about this war have never been brought to justice but instead have been ‘showered with promotions and cash’ as this article highlights.
    ‘… their job was to start a war that would extend the U.S. empire and be extremely profitable for the U.S. defense establishment and oil industry, with no regard for what’s best for America or telling the truth.’

    As for Blair, we should all be deeply concerned at the level of global influence this man still seeks. The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change appears to have more policy analysts than most world countries.

  4. Thanks Marjorie. A helpful analysis.
    One point which you hint at is the differences between the UK and the US. In one of the histories of the time by Woodward the striking fact is that Blair is mentioned only twice. One big illusion was that the UK had much influence on the Americans. Another that the UK army was up to the job. Finally, Blair had a case of the Churchillians where PMs seek to emulate their great predecessor- not as severe as some of his successors but there, nonetheless.

  5. Absolutely heartbreaking comedown for the US, Iraq and the world after the wonderful idealism post Berlin Wall generated by the fall of communism under Gorbachev.
    At the time the illegality and political machinations leading to war were clear as Hans Blix was a trustworthy and neutral witness to the situation inside Iraq.

    I followed the lead up to war astrologically. The strong Neptune Saturn conjunction and Mars on Blair’s ascendant suggested a possible martyr complex.
    Perhaps the spectre of US failure on an unprecedented scale pushed him over the threshold in support of an ally that had been so much a part of the UK’s post-WW2 success?? Now and in 2003, it looked a lot like a double suicide – act in haste, then be forced to regret at leisure. The only beneficiaries to the war were China, which now eclipses the US economically, and Iran. Elites in both the UK and US continued to follow the path of war and self justification into disillusionment and despair.
    -A mighty lesson to the post colonial neo imperialist West, revealing the deep cynicism driving the US war on terror which led to the global financial collapse in 2008 and the current China/US/Russia showdown in Ukraine.

    • ‘UK post war success’.

      In fact, the post 1945 era is distinguished by the UK’s shrinkage economically, militarily and politically on the world stage. This decline shows absolutely no sign of being halted, let alone reversed.

      Many would argue that a crucial point in this inexorable decline was the failure of the Suez military intervention in 1956.
      The USA, of course, was wholly and solely responsible for destroying the Suez adventure. This engendered a deep scepticism of the USA and its motives in a generation of British politicians – the notion being, likely correct, that the USA was determined to destroy what remaining global power the UK had in 1956 in order that Americans could step into the vacuum so created.
      Incidentally, this was the turning point in which British elite political opinion sought to be involved in European political integration, as a means of trying to retain global influence.
      As another aside, it was Blair who destroyed any hope of British political integration into Europe with his reckless and madcap policy to ramp up immigration into the UK to the maximum extent.

  6. Thanks Marjorie, you’ve summed it all up so well. Reading this, I felt like crying. I went on the London march, and remember seeing footage of huge marches in other countries and hoping so much that war wouldn’t happen. I also remember a number of senior military men saying publicly they thought this was a huge mistake. Of course, they were right. I won’t say what I thought of Tony Blair at the time, or today. I do wonder if he has a conscience of any kind at all.

    Of astro interest – there was a Lunar Eclipse on 20 November, 2002 at 27 Taurus, square Uranus in Aquarius. It was close to Blair’s Jupiter at 29 Taurus. And aligned with Algol, the Gorgon’s Head or Medusa, a star often associated with disaster and violence. It was in Saros Series 4 South. Brady says “The best approach to this eclipse is to avoid rash action until the issues settle down”. If only they had.

  7. As an American, I remain ashamed of the Iraq invasion and the many disasters that have stemmed from it down the intervening decades. Of course, those of us who opposed the invasion (and there were many) had zero power to stop it and almost no voice in a Washington overrun by jingoism and the thirst for revenge. It felt like helplessly witnessing a train derailment, only on a massive scale. Dick Cheney and George Bush, like the right-wing Republicans who helped them steal the 2000 election from Al Gore and thus facilitated the Bushies’ asleep-at-the-switch posture before 9/11, remain complicit in war crimes for which they’ll likely only be held to account in the next life.

    Thank you for the insight into Tony Blair; I always found him to be oddly sanctimonious, and it was difficult at the time to understand his willingness to abase himself before a nincompoop like W (Bush).

    • I’m another American who protested the planned Iraq invasion. I joined the then-largest demonstration in San Diego, about 10,000 strong, marching against Bush’s plans, just as my husband and I protested in Lafayette Square across from the White House against his father’s invasion in the prior Iraq War. Nothing good came from either of them, but both created enormous misery, death, unrest and destruction.

      Another excellent analysis and summation, Marjorie.

  8. Blair’s trine Neptune, transiting and in conjunction to his 10th house Moon, is very interesting, as the anger of many in Britain, was palpable – it was as if the people (Moon) could see and understand more than Blair could. Also his natal Lilith (dark moon) trines his 10th house Moon as well. Blair’s Natal Chart Pluto in his 4th house Leo, was being stimulated by transiting Pluto in his 7th house Sagittarius; trining his natal Pluto- a perfect transit for his home to be involved in a foreign country, as Sagittarius is long distant travel. It was also conveying a strong desire to be seen by others (voters at home) as a powerful political person, along with his Neptunian Moon transit as a messiah like figure. I remember being horrified by what he was going to undertake and didn’t know anyone, at that time, who backed him. However, with his Mars ( ruler of Aries/head having a tendency to be headstrong and speak out) sitting on a Gemini Ascendent, yet in his 12th, there is an fighter instinct to win at all cost. His MC in Capricorn would fit comfortably with being a PM in a Sun Capricorn country, giving him a sense of being in a position of making decision, especially as Mercury (ruler of his Gemini Ascendent) is sextile ( working purposely) his Capricorn MC. He had no problem in speaking for all of us and giving an argument for invasion. I see both Blair and Johnson using the people for their own world stage

  9. As a Canadian, I am proud to say that, in proportion to population, the biggest demonstration in the world against the Iraq war, and there were many, was in Montreal where I live. It was one of Canada’s finest hours when the federal governement refused to join the US and the UK in the attack. Then PM Chretien, now 87, repeated yesterday that the US was wrong. He also once related a Commwonwealth conference where he expressed his basic disagreement with Tony Blair. He suggested to him that since he was in the business of military intervention, the Commonwealth shhould send a joint force to Zimbabwe, a Commonwealth member where Robert Mugabe was commitiing horrific human rights abuses. He added Canada would have joined such an intervention. Blair dismissed the idea weakly.

    • I was heartbroken at the time, and today, as I read Marjorie’s succinct and scathing summary, I genuinely just want to weep. This is all utter madness. And now Putin is the bad guy, but the men involved in this terrible Iraq war can continue on unscathed, unapologetic and maybe even richer. How do they live with themselves???

      I, too, was so proud of PM Jean Chretien at that time….a tough, no-nonsense fellow.

    • Great analysis, Marjorie. I want to join the rest of the Canadian contingent in saying how proud I am that our country refused to participate, although I don’t want to be smug about it. If we hadn’t had a leader with as much foresight and integrity as Jean Chretien, it could have played out differently. We actually have a timed chart for him of 2:45 am, January 11, 1934 in Shawinigan, Quebec giving him a resilient 17° Scorpio ascendant, and a Capricorn Sun that’s part of a grand cross formation, opposing Pluto and squaring Jupiter-Uranus. One of the most interesting things about his transits and progressions at the time (IMHO) is that his progressed Sun was at 0° Aries, the World Point. And he really did make a difference in the world by refusing to become involved. It’s made it so difficult for the US and Britain to claim the moral high ground now in Ukraine. Thanks for this great post, Marjorie.

      • ooooo Laurien,
        Thanks for the info on PM Jean Chretien.
        My goodness!!…. he totally embodies that powerful Grand Cross… like a little terrier!
        And Prog Sun at 0 Aries at that time!
        There can be such a deep, deep integrity in an elder Capricorn. My husband has it in spades.

        And yes… from your last post re: upcoming eclipse hits on Canada’s chart… we, too, will be required to grow into OUR integrity! (our natal Pluto in 1st opp Saturn in 7th). Can’t be smug for sure.

        • LOL a little terrier. Of course there was the Shawinigan Handshake in which he grabbed a protester by the neck and chin and forced him to the ground, breaking one of his teeth (Feb. 15, 1996, Mars at 0 Pisces conjunct his 1 Pisces IC just like Uranus conjunct 0 Pisces at the Iraq invasion). I guess when you grow up as #18 of 19 children you learn to stand up for yourself. Sorry to digress folks but I find our prime ministers an interesting and sometimes colourful bunch. Four of our prime ministers have been Capricorns: Chretien of course and Sir John A. Macdonald, Mackenzie Bowell, and Justin Trudeau.

          Yes I think the eclipse one year from now April 8, 2024 whose central path runs through Ottawa and which at 19 Aries is conjunct Canada’s ascendant and Justin Trudeau’s Moon will be a big one for us especially. It’s an exciting time to be a mundane astrologer no matter what country you live in!

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