The US invasion of Iraq was supposed to be easy, the most powerful military in world history would go in kill the bad guys, and transform the state into a democratic pro-American Oasis. But the Iraq war blew up in America’s face, and changed both countries. It changed the entire Middle East, in fact, it changed much of our world forever. Within weeks of the September 11th attacks, the United States had occupied Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda was based at the time, and removed the ruling Taliban from power, but very quickly after the George W Bush administration began selling another war. It wanted to invade Iraq, despite the fact that there was no link between 9/11 and Iraq.
So, the Bush administration began manufacturing justifications like Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda, there are Al Qaeda in a number of locations in Iraq, Iraqis needed saving from their dictator Saddam Hussein’s violations of human rights, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. But those weapons of mass destruction were never found, millions of people knew invading Iraq was wrong. 20 years on they’ve been proven right time and time again the invasion of Iraq resulted in death, destruction, and a massive blow and it gave us ISIS.
There’s something President W Bush said in 2007, four years into the invasion of Iraq that ironically sums up how badly the US messed up.
Bush said, “Al Qaeda had established itself in Iraq,” even though the group wasn’t there before the US invaded as one of the justifications for the war Bush and his officials insisted to an American public still reeling from 9/11 that Al Qaida in Iraq were linked, “the reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaeda because there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda.”
Like pretty much all of the Bush administration’s justifications for this war this was a lie, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden were both Arab men, who were once allies of the United States, but they didn’t have much else in common. In fact, Al Qaida showed up in Iraq only after the US invaded the country, dismantled the Iraqi army, and security forces, and created a security vacuum that allowed all sorts of foreign fighters and violent groups to enter tapping into anger at the US for invading a Muslim country. As well as the discussed scandals, like the torture at Abu Ghraib, Al Qaeda was able to recruit and grow into something even more menacing.
Moreover, the invasion of Iraq propelled the group from a small isolated organization into a genuinely global network that eventually became the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Iraq and the Levant, as President Obama would say, “ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion which is an example of unintended consequences.” Those unintended consequences included Al Qaida sparking a sectarian civil war in Iraq by bombing some of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, they included hundreds of suicide and car bombings that killed thousands of Iraqis and they included ISIS at one point controlling not just 40% of Iraq but about 1/3 of neighboring Syria, as well during the mid twenty 10s the group was constantly in the headlines as it killed thousands and thousands of people, not just in Iraq and Syria, but also in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, France, Belgium, Indonesia Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Germany, Somalia, the UK, Iran, the Philippines, Spain Algeria, and the list goes on.
However, ISIS is no longer as powerful as it was but it took years of a major US-led military operation that cost thousands more civilian lives all to solve a problem created by the US itself by occupying Iraq in the first place. Remember George W Bush’s quote from a few minutes ago this time following is its first part, “for all those who asked whether the fight in Iraq is worth it, imagine in Iraq where militia groups backed by Iran control large parts of the country,” this is going to be a bit of a running theme here because again the US ended up causing the exact things it said! It was invading Iraq to prevent one of its goals in invading Iraq was to make the entire region friendlier to American interests. Still, instead, the war helped strengthen its biggest adversary. There Iran and the United States don’t seem to ever agree on much. But, in 2003 Saddam Hussein was a common enemy Iranians hated him.
In 1980 he launched a war against them that lasted 8 years and left half a million people dead.
it was a brutal war Iraq used poison gas against Iranian soldiers, and the US helped prolong the fighting by sending weapons to both countries, just like it did in world war 2; selling weapons to both sides to earn from them.
Although most of its support went to one side, so even as Iran was probably glad to see the end of Saddam. The US was strongly hinting that Iran could be next, here’s George W Bush talking about Iran, “Iran, Iraq and North Korea states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world and all nations should know America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation’s security.”
But something else happened, Iran, not the US ended up benefiting the most from the invasion of Iraq in less than two years. The US had ended the rule of Iran’s enemies on both its eastern and western borders. Iran and the Taliban had bad blood between them too, before the US invasion Iraq was a buffer against Iran’s presence in the Arab world, but after the invasion, Iraq became a foothold for Iranian influence to spread in neighboring countries.
For example, Iran was able to build supply lines across Iraq to Syria, where Iranian backed groups fought alongside Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad in that country’s war during the 1980s and 90s. Iran had cultivated and protected Iraqis who opposed Saddam ‘s rule, and it was these Iranian backed parties that dominated Iraqi politics after Saddam was gone. Today, posters of Iranian leaders hang all over Iraqi cities, Iranian commerce dominates the Iraqi market and Iraq security forces include powerful militias that are trained, supported and sometimes even led by Iranians. It was these militias that helped defeat ISIS in Iraq, they fought on the ground with the support from the US Air Force in the sky. But still the US and Iran are adversaries.
However, the possibility of the US invading Iran the way it did Iraq has basically gone from next on the list to effectively 0, because the invasion of Iraq very quickly changed America itself and its commitment to these kinds of wars. It might seem to be odd now, but the war was actually very popular with Americans at first but it didn’t last long. Almost, everything that had been used to justify the war turned out to be a lie including how quick it was supposed to be over. 4000 American soldiers were killed and it took the US more than eight years to withdraw from Iraq without much to show for it other than as we’ve seen the strengthening of and the spread of ISIS.
So, it turns out that the US couldn’t impose its will on another country by force. Bush, who at one point had a 90% approval rating ended his presidency with just 22% of Americans approving of him. After Bush, the next two presidents both insisted they’d always opposed the war unlike the political establishments in both parties who had backed it. Many of us looking at the evidence ahead of time understood that there were no weapons of mass destruction.
Today, you won’t hear many American politicians talk about Bush-style goals like nation-building or regime change, instead Terry power or proxy is deployed in small doses all over the world for assassinations or other special forces missions. Drones, missiles, and air strikes all let the US hit targets from thousands of miles away without American troops being in harm’s way.
That’s made the drone program much more popular than Iraq but drone warfare isn’t clean these strikes have killed thousands of civilians with drone pilots often unable to tell exactly who they’re targeting, and since the drone program is directly under the president’s control it’s given American presidents the power to execute people all over the world; including in several cases American citizens.
The Iraq war was always going to be a disaster on so many levels it was also an illegal war as it was not in conformity with the UN charter.
From their point of view or from the charter’s point of view it was illegal, but the US insisted it was above such rules and that it had a right to preemptively attack whatever it wanted. Most of the world refused to go along when they went in, there were three countries Great Britain, Australia, and the United States, that’s not a grand coalition. The problem with acting like you’re above the law is that it gives others an excuse to break the rules as well as Bernie Sanders, one of the only people in Congress opposing the war warned of those consequences, “if President Bush believes that the US could go to war at any time against any nation what moral legal obligation could our government raise if another country chose to do the same thing.”
In the years, since we’ve seen that playing out all over the world governments, breaking international law, and committing war crimes with impunity, whether they’re cracking down on dissent, stealing territory, or invading countries. But maybe, the guy at the heart of it all saw a link between what he said in motion in Iraq in 2003 and Russia invading Ukraine in 2022. the statement goes like this, “to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq I mean Ukraine,” correct anyway!
Conservative estimates say that around 300,000 people were killed because of America’s decision to invade Iraq illegally, although the real number is probably much higher. In Iraq today, sectarianism is rife, the economy is weak, poverty is widespread, basic services are sporadic and the security situation is in many places still dangerous.
20 years on and Iraqis are still dealing with the consequences of that invasion every day, but what about the consequences for the government officials who lie to justify the war or for the media that repeated so many of those lies instead of investigating them? The world has witnessed how America’s false flag operation has destroyed the whole region collectively, which is to date paying the cost. But the question here is why only such regions are the target. Till when we will allow them to do so? And why? Who’s going to stop this? Because their violation of international law has never been as such questioned and if they have ever been questioned they got through it smoothly.