A Questionable War: The Iraq Conflict
“The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.” This quote from Senator Robert Byrd’s Arrogance of Power speech outlines the argument against the invasion of Iraq. The war raised question after question at home in the United States and beyond. So why did we go to war in Iraq? The Bush administration attempted to justify the invasion by stating and re-stating their objectives for the Middle Eastern country, but most of their assertions came without factual or moral support. As the Iraq war was set into motion, the mission objectives were unclear. President George W. Bush’s attempts at answering both Americans and world leaders’ questions fell flat. He claimed that the United States aimed to “hunt down the terrorists” – referring to members of the group al Qaeda, which was deemed responsible for the 9/11 attacks – but al Qaeda is, as stated eloquently by Senator Robert Byrd, “a shadowy entity with many faces, many names, and many addresses.” Sending troops to Iraq was not an adequate method for eradicating the extremists because they were not necessarily localized there. It is not clear that there were Iraqi ties to the terrorist attacks at all. Furthermore, Hans Blix, head of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq, reported that the terrorist group did not even exist in the country until after the U.S. invaded. Given this evidence, the claim that an objective of the war was to stave off these terrorists simply seems illegitimate.
Another claim made to justify the war – that the U.S. sought to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – also proved to be unsupported. According to U.N. weapons inspectors, including an ex-Marine, there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield tried to counter this assertion, retorting “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” While this logic may be...
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Byrd, Robert. "Arrogance of Power: Today, I Weep for My Country." Speech. Floor of the U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 19 Mar. 2003. Web.
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