War in Iraq: Reasons and Consequences

The US-led war against Iraq, as many believe, did not begin in 2003. The fact is that the US and Britain have been fighting an undeclared war against Iraq for the past twelve years, ever since the end of the Gulf Slaughter in 1991. The American and British attacks on Iraq had already begun. While Tony Blair continued to say in the Parliament that no final decision has been made, the Royal Air Force and US fighter bombers had secretly changed tactics and enhanced their patrols over Iraq to an assault over both military and civilian targets. The bombing was a secret war that never came up in news.

In his address to the Nation, March 17, 2003.

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

The issue of Iraq’s disarmament reached a crisis in 2002-2003 heralding the beginning of a dangerous new era in international relations. It was the time when President Bush demanded a complete end to the so-called Iraqi production of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and in full compliance with UN Resolutions which required UN weapon inspectors to unfettered access to suspected weapon production facilities. The Iraq War is better known as Operation Iraqi Freedom in the USA and Operation TELIC in the UK is a conflict that began on March 20th, 2003 with the US-led invasion of Iraq along with a coalition force of multiple nations which included troops mainly from the United States and the United Kingdom and smaller contingents from Denmark, Poland and Australia and other nations to support them and is still ongoing.

Blair said that the actual trigger was Iraq’s failure to take a final opportunity to disarm itself of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that US and coalition officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world peace. The coalition supporters rationale the allegation for the invasion on the lines of the President of United States, George W. Bush, that Iraq possessed and was developing weapons of mass destruction which is a violation of the 1991 agreement. The supporting intelligence was widely criticized and the weapon inspectors found no substantiation of the allegation but the US officials argued that Iraq posed an imminent, urgent, and immediate threat to the interests of the people of the United States and their allies. The invasion of Iraq was opposed by some traditional US allies including France and Germany. Their leaders argued that there was no real evidence of WMD and that a war in Iraq was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC’s February 12, 2003 report.

The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, opened the eyes of many to the turbulence and turmoil of the political events in the Arab and Muslim world. President Bush and his political commentators considered it to be an attack on freedom and civilization by people who hate both. The war on terror is an extension of the same fundamental plans and principles that have motivated and directed US foreign policy since the Second World War. It was well understood that these policies if expressed honestly would be highly palatable to the general public around the world. The propaganda campaign to make people believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attack was so successful that according to a poll, by mid-2003, 70% of people believed it while in September 2003 Bush rejected Saddam’s link with the 9/11 episode admitting that there was no evidence.

The US and British governments justify their air raids and bombings by saying that they have a UN mandate to police the so-called ‘no-fly zones’ which were declared following the Gulf War. They insist that these zones are legal and supported by UN Security Council Resolution 688 and give them control over most of Iraq’s air space which was a false claim. In 1991, Tony Blair covered up this act and said that the no-fly zones allowed the US and Britain to perform a vital humanitarian task by protecting the Kurds in the North of Iraq and ethnic Marsh Arabs in the south. In preparation for the invasion, 100,000 US troops were assembled in Kuwait by February 18th. A month before the invasion, on February 15th there were many worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including an anti-war rally in Rome which comprised three million people, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

In the initial stages of the war on terror, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) was rising to prominence as the lead agency in the Afghanistan war under the guidance of George Tenet. Tenet insisted in his personal meetings with President Bush that there was no connection between Al- Qaeda, and Iraq, the Vice President and the secretary of Defense of the USA, instigated a secret program to re-examine the evidence. After the invasion, the Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its production of WMD and had none at the time of the invasion but would have resumed production if the Iraq sanctions were lifted. Some US officials claimed that Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda were working in collaboration and co-operating with each other’s movements but no evidence of any collaborative relationship has ever been traced.

US officials also came up with another reason for the invasion in Iraq which included concerns over Iraq’s financial support for the families of Palestinian Suicide Bombers, Iraqi Government human rights abuses, spreading democracy, and Iraq’s oil reserves. After the control of the oil fields, the next most important reason for the US’s taking over of Iraq was that Iraq had started taken euros for its oil and thus opening the way for all major oil-producing countries to work the same way. If this was to happen then instead of dollars, euros would have become the world’s reserve currency which would have been a negative score on the US economy and in turn foiling their plans to pour money into its weapon programs.

The invasion resulted in a quick defeat of the Iraqi military force and the flight of Saddam Hussein and later his capture in December 2003, ending in his execution in December 2006 by hanging him to death. But things did not turn out as President Bush had intended. Saddam’s regime fell as others look at the prospect of a new Iraq. The US-led coalition forces occupied Iraq and endeavored to establish a new democratic government. But soon after the initial occupation a reproach against the coalition forces surfaced and violence amongst various sectarian groups led to asymmetric warfare with the Iraqi insurgency, a civil war between the Shias and Sunnis of Iraq, and Al-Qaeda operations in Iraq. The member nations of the coalition forces began withdrawing their troops as the public attitude against them increased and the Iraqi forces began to take the responsibility of the security matters into their hands. The picture that emerges is frightening, replete with bloodshed, repression, and profiteering, and all the more grim because the region belongs to the Western institutions of power. Taking a look at the previous track records of the predecessors of George Bush and Tony Blair, one can see that they have stepped into their governmental predecessors’ foot both in motives and in methods, however brutal those may be. The war on terror was build upon the pre 9/11 policy in the Middle East, a policy motivated less by the reality of an all pervading terrorist threat and more by a long standing regional ‘grand strategy’ designed consolidate and expand the US global power.

The world watched the political, economic and emotional effects of the war on the home front and around the Globe. The war in Iraq has entered its fifth year with the US led forces battling a determined insurgency and hoping to quell rising sectarian violence. More than 20,000 US troops are headed to the region to help implement a new security plan and re construction efforts. Meanwhile, the near daily bombings and causalities are taking a toll on support for the war in the USA. As per analysts, with the election season and a key Iraq war progress report perched on the horizon, more Republican’s will start themselves from President Bush’s Iraqi policy.

The Iraq war till now has costed 508,000,000,000 US dollars and the number is still on a rise which means:

  • $ 4,681 per household
  • $ 1,721 per person
  • $ 341.4 million per day