On the twentieth day of March 2003, The United States of America (U.S.A) under the command of the then president George W Bush spearheaded the invasion of Iraq, with the backing force of British forces and other smaller allies of U.S.A. mainly Denmark, Poland, Spain and Australia. This invasion in Iraq was controversial, since its prospects were met with street demonstrations of millions of people across the world, in protest of the invasion. This invasion was met with resistance from the Iraqi army and civilians under the rule of the then Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein. This resistance ignited war between the invading foreigners and the loyal citizens and forces allied to the Iraqi president. Since the invasion began, the United States and allied military forces have faced hostilities and counterinsurgency which has led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and Americans (Was the invasion of Iraq justified, 2006).
Although there were some troops which were opposed to Hussein administration, like Kurdish troops in the northern parts of Iraq, which supported the invading forces. The arguments for this invasion, according to George Bush, and the then United Kingdom’s prime minister Tony Blair, was to end Hussein’s support for global terrorism, disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, and to give redemption to Iraqi people from dictatorial leadership under the then president Hussein. There are also allegations by people and states opposed to the invasion that the invaders were concerned with siphoning Iraq of its enormous oil resources (Oil, the mother of all factors, 2005). The invasion continued up to May 1st 2003 when Bush declared an end of major combat operations after they had seized power in the capital Baghdad, after evicting the then president of Iraq, late Saddam Hussein. The above allegations and claims for the invasion are discussed in detail as follows.
Spreading democracy and combat terrorism in Iraq and the Middle East region
Bush claimed that the middle East in general was a threat to the U.S and the whole world as a result of September 11 attacks on the world trade centre in New York, as al -Qaeda terrorists claimed the responsibility. According to President Bush, Al-Qaeda had links with Hussein and the invasion operation was aimed at destroying the link among other claims like oppressive dictatorial rule in Iraq. In his opinion, Talibans who commanded the Al-Qaeda group sought refuge in Pakistan and the neighboring countries like Iraq after Afghanistan was overrun by the U.S, where they probably erected training camps as there was no working government there(Soldier of America, 2004).
The U.S government claimed that Hussein supported Al-Qaeda, a terrorist’s organization which threatened and endangered civilian’s safety worldwide, since the September 11th 2001 attacks. He was also concerned that Iraq’s weak government could supply terrorists in the volatile Middle East with weapons and help them program their terror activities world wide. According to Texas Major General, women in Iraq were denied their democratic rights and were treated as objects under the rule of Hussein, and U.S had all the reasons to free them from oppression (Soldier of America, 2004).
Bush also claimed that the Iraqi government under the rule of Saddam showed the power and tyranny to spread violence in the Middle East, hence the need to restore the power of freedom and democracy in the volatile Persian Gulf region. This was to be done through liberating Iraq to bring hope to millions of people in the region. He therefore reiterated that America’s interests in Iraq were in security, and its belief in democracy, liberty and freedom. All these were aimed in transforming Iraq from decades of oppressive, dictatorial and tyrant leadership to a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq (Was invasion in Iraq justified, 2006).
In fact the continuation of the occupation of U.S military in the soil of Iraq has increased the resistance by the Iraqi people and this has just worsened efforts to restore peace and democracy in Iraq and the Middle East at large. This resistance has been characterized by increase in suicide bomb attackers targeting the Americans and their allies in Iraq. In my opinion democracy in the middle east and in particular Iraq is yet to be restored. Terrorism in the other hand has been on the increase since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
To disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
This issue of Iraq being in possession of weapons of mass destruction remains the most debated issue. Though Bush claimed that Iraq held such weapons, it has been unclear whether the operation really found the weapons. With mysteries surrounding the issue, the chairman of the House Intelligent Committee, confirmed that, since invasion in Iraq in 2003, the U.S has found approximately five hundred chemical weapons, and likely to uncover more weapons of mass destruction. This was again confirmed by the National Ground Intelligence centre, which is a unit in the defense department of the United States of America. It confirmed that approximately all these five hundred recovered weapon munitions had or contained sarin nerve agent and degraded mustard. These chemicals are highly poisonous to any living organism, and if used in weapons could have adverse effects to the world and its inhabitants. Bush administration claimed that Iraq possessed chemical weapons which a senior official in the Defense department pointed out that they were not in useable conditions. ( WMDs Found in Iraq, 2006).
Confusing reports by different reporting agencies still leaves the international community in darkness as whether it was really true that Iraq holds weapons of mass destruction. A CIA report to the CNN Washington concluded that Saddam Hussein didn’t have had illegal weapons at the time Bush ordered invasion of Iraq in 2003, and did not have any programs to manufacture such weapons. In fact a report by an advisor of the central intelligence on Iraqi weapons said that Iraq’s program on weapons of mass destruction was completely destroyed in 1991, during the 1991 gulf war, and afterwards Saddam ended his nuclear program. The reporter went ahead and said that even chances of finding the weapons were less than five percent. Despite these contradicting reports, Bush was convinced that Iraq was still in possession of the weapons, and would pass the weapons or materials or information to terrorists, which were a great threat to America and the world after the September 11 attacks. He maintained that war was best and the right thing to do and that access weapons of mass destruction to terrorists (The struggle for Iraq, 2004).
The U.S government invasion of Iraq on the basis of it possession of weapons of mass destruction was not justified at all. There was no concrete proof or any credible indication that the Iraqi government posed weapons of mass destruction. The claim held little or no substance at all, and it was evident that America had another agenda in the invasion, but not the issue of possession of weapons. Even the U.N inspector opted to continue the search for the arsenals, since up to 2003, they had not found any credible threat of aggression by Iraq. It preferred to wait before initiating any military action on Iraq. Indeed the UN Security Council refused to give support to the US-backed resolution that would have declared Iraq’s refusal to destroy weapons of mass destruction. Under this claim, US went ahead on the invasion with much disapproval from the international community. In doing this the white house insisted that Iraq was a great threat to US security and delays in approving attack on Iraq would mean endangering the people of America. Despite all the condemns and disapprovals, Bush administration went for the attack which escalated anger and hostilities from all people and nations opposed to the invasion (The struggle for Iraq, 2004).
End Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime
The U.S invaded Iraq with an aim of freeing the Iraqi people from the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein. He was one of the worlds most brutal and tyrant ruler who induced immense suffering to his people through torture and violence. He seized power in 1979 and quickly established himself as a ruthless dictator, and on occupying office, his first major act was to execute several politicians opposed to the ruling party, Ba’ath. In 1980’s, his regime was characterized by torturing people to death, mass executions, execution of children and young people among many other atrocities. Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 with the aim of commanding and controlling the oil reserves in the Persian gulf.in1988, Hussein ordered his forces to use helicopters to spray poisonous gas to Kurdish civilians in Iran where nearly five thousand Kurds died (Oil, the mother of all factors, 2005).
Most of the people especially the rival Kurds to Hussein’s administration in the northern parts of the country were oppressed, tortured to death or gassed. Since the former U.S governments were seemingly reluctant to end Hussein’s dictatorial regime, Bush initiated the campaign to push out Iraq’s dictatorial regime by overthrowing its leader Saddam Hussein in 2003(Wyne, 2004).
President Bush on my opinion was not justified in using military force to overthrow Iraqi government, even though it was wicked to its people and some of its neighbors like Iran and Kuwait, Bush should have sought diplomatic negotiations, which if were well handled would not have costed much, in terms of resources and blood shedding to both parties. This tactic employed by Bush did not end the suffering of Iraqis but brought much more problems through destruction of infrastructure, and even led to the rise of terror groups and gangs opposed to the presence of Americans in their land. Three years after ousting saddams dictatorial regime, cases of violent deaths have been on the rise. Soldiers, police and civilians have been killed by insurgents many of them being suicide bombers. There is also an increase in violent crime, kidnapping rapes and armed robbery. Ironically the US government is holding more Iraqi prisoners than those imprisoned under Saddam, with the current number ranging between 15 and 18 thousand. Many human rights activists and groups have condemned the US forces of massive torture and widespread violation of human rights of the prisoners among other abuses. The US-led bombing attacks in Iraq have damaged its infrastructure leading to enormous suffering to the ordinary Iraqis. Currently, the supply of clean drinking water, reliability of electricity and consistent sewage disposal are have all been worsened than before 2003 invasion. This has resulted to increase in children deaths, particularly due to preventable diseases and malnutrition (Iraq after ‘liberation’, 2006).
Therefore it remains a big question whether life in Iraq has changed for the best or it has worsened since the 2003 invasion. It is evident that Iraq has destabilized and there is little or no change in Iraqis livelihoods prior to and after the invasion.
The issue of oil
According to Hooshiyar & Karimi, oil factor was among the primary reasons for the United States to declared invasion of Iraq, even though it was not officially incorporated as one of the reason for the invasion. Oil plays a very critical role in running the economy of any country. The Persian Gulf is believed to hold sixty seven percent of the global known oil reserves, hence interest by the U.S government quest to control the oil rich region. It knew that by successfully acquiring an advantage to control the region would mean that its global political, economic and military supremacy would be reinforced for some years to come. It was an opportunity for the U.S government to have its military presence in Iraq, when Iraq took invasion in Kuwait, which culminated to the first gulf war. After the eviction of Iraq from Kuwait, oil companies which were rivals to U.S, which made it to enter an agreement in production sharing with the government of Iraq. Since 1990’s, its command on Iraq’s oil was dwindling and this could have been among the reason for the invasion for U.S to recover its command over the region, through the claims that Saddams government was protecting and supporting terrorism, or in possession of illicit weapons.
Since Saddam’s government was unfriendly to the U.S, Bush had all the means to evict the rule and help put in place a government in Iraq which would be friendly and pro-U.S government (Oil, the mother of all factors, 2005).
Though it was a matter of concern in the control of oil activities in the Persian Gulf, and particularly in Iraq, the US government was not justified in its engagement in the control of oil resources in Iraq. Their involvement in the crucial oil industry just escalated Iraq’s resistance against them, and this has resulted to increased violence in the country. In my opinion even though the invasion of Iraq wasn’t directly based on oil issues, it was a motive lurking behind Bush administration to crush down Saddam Hussein’s regime. The U.S should not have involved itself in commanding the oil activities in Iraq. It should have only helped Iraqis in the management of their oil resource which is the sole driver the economy of Iraq (Oil, the mother of all factors, 2005).
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