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The Iraq War

By YiLin0108 Aug 26, 2013 1727 Words
The Iraq War
The Iraq war was an armed conflict in Iraq that consisted of two phases. The first was an invasion of Ba'athist Iraq starting on 20 March 2003 by an invasion force led by the United States. It was followed by a longer phase of fighting, in which an insurgency emerged to oppose coalition forces and the newly formed Iraqi government. The U.S. completed its withdrawal of military personnel in December 2011. However, the Iraqi insurgency continues and caused thousands of fatalities in 2012. The year before 2003 when the Iraq war started, President Bush began publicly focusing attention on Iraq, citing the possibilities of Saddam Hussein acquiring weapons of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, or more commonly called WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), thus posing a direct threat to the US. In March 2003, the US launched a war against Iraq, with President Bush saying that the attack was “to disarm Iraq and to free its people”. The Iraqi military was quickly defeated and the capital, Baghdad, fell on April 9, 2003. The US troops were supported by British, Australian and Polish combat forces.

As an aftermath, the Iraq war led to the deaths of at least 123,000 Iraqi civilians and more than 4400 US troops. This war was in large part fought because of the incorrect information that Saddam Hussein was in possession of WMD. After the war, Iraq remains wrecked and unstable and the US spent $60 billion on reconstruction grant in Iraq, which then caused the US drawn-out conflicts and expensive foreign projects. For example, the Iraq-Afghanistan war cost the US at least $4 trillion.

Nearing the end of the third quarter of 2008, President Bush announced the withdrawal of additional American forces due to increased stability in Iraq. Baghdad was rebuilt and is now a beautiful modern city. The US attacked Iraq in 2003 based on disinformation, and the stated reasons have changed over time. The primary reason given by the administration of George W. Bush was that Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, was engaged in the production or acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). These are nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons (examples are the anthrax letter attacks in the US and the Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo--neither of which had any connection to Iraq). Iraq has a history of aggression against its neighbors. Iraq has used poison gas against Iran and even against its own citizens. In a speech in Cincinnati, Bush said that “Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. Iraq has also sponsored international terrorism. It was directed primarily against Iran, the PLO, Israel and other Arab countries, but it is possible that this may grow to also include other countries, like the U.S. However, up till today, Iraq has posed no real threat to the United States, its main interests or its allies. Yet the Bush administration still fears that Iraq may share the weapons of mass destruction that it holds with terrorists and in their eyes, war is the only sure way to eliminate this threat. Before the war UN inspectors announced they had found no evidence of WMDs, despite unfettered access. After the war was under way, additional investigation concluded Saddam did not have WMDs. 

The war continued, however, because the occupation forces of the US were attacked by Iraqi guerrillas, many ironically supported by Iran, Iraq's enemy in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). The US supported a new democratic government within Iraq, which was opposed by various Islamic groups that traditionally held power in the country. Other factions sought to aggrandize their share of the power to be had in the new political system. 

It was suggested early on the conflict was predominantly an attempt by the US to control the flow of oil from Iraq, one of the largest petroleum producers in the Middle East because the U.S wants to conquer Iraq's petroleum. President Bush wants all the oil and little riches from Iraq. 

Initially, when the US commenced Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, it was a war against the regime in Iraq; to remove Saddam from power, as the US had failed to do in 1991. The goal of the 1991 operation was to drive Saddam from Kuwait, at which the US and its allies succeeded. When no WMDs were found, the US asserted that its mission in Iraq was two-fold: to create a modern democracy and to stop the persistent genocides that took place in that country. The US enfranchised the Shiite Majority, provided for Kurdish autonomy in the North, and assembled a Constitution for the entire Iraqi population. This is in stark contrast to Saddam Hussein who used chemical weapons on his own population and was responsible for committing genocide against the Shiite Arabs, Marsh Arabs, Kurds, Jews, Azeri, Assyrians, Yazidi, Bahai'i, and Chaldeans among others.  Another reason for the U.S. declaring war on Iraq is its repeated violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The government justifies the war by saying that since Iraq has violated Resolutions 660, 661, 678, 686, 687 and 688, and is currently violating Resolution 1441, which was passed fairly recently by the U.N. Security council, the U.S. would simply be ‘enforcing international laws by going to war to remove its regime.’ The Iraq regime is often considered a ruthless dictatorship. No one can be sure that ‘the occupation of a complex, divided country like Iraq and the installation of a new regime will lead to a rapid flowering of democracy.’ Yet the Bush administration still felt the need to make this attempt and hoped that the occupation of Iraq would lead to the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East. The financial cost of the war has been more than £4.55 billion ($9 billion) to the UK,and over $845 billion to the U.S. government. In March 2013, the total cost of the Iraq War was estimated to have been $1.7 trillion by the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University while still have some unearthed hidden costs not represented in official estimates. The invasion of Iraq by US had causes prices of oil rose sharply which cost about $30 as Iraq has to be one of the world’s biggest oil suppliers if the conflict in the country can be solved. As the impacts of Iraq war on society, over 12,000 Iraqis were killed from January 2005 to June 2006, according to Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, giving the first official count for the victims of bombings, ambushes and other deadly attacks. The insurgents have also conducted numerous suicide attacks on the Iraqi civilian population, mostly targeting the majority Shia community. Malnutrition rates have risen from 19% before the U.S. led invasion to a national average of 28% four years later. Some 60–70% of Iraqi children are suffering from psychological problems.]68% of Iraqis have no access to safe drinking water. A 2007 survey by the government and WHO found that more than one-third of respondents had “significant psychological distress” and presented potential psychiatric cases. A 2009 government mental health survey concluded that mass displacement and a climate of fear, torture, death and violence have contributed to the high ratio of mental illness in the country. A cholera outbreak in northern Iraq is thought to be the result of poor water quality. As many as half of Iraqi doctors have left the country since 2003 Between 2003 and 2007, half of Iraq’s remaining 18,000 doctors left the country, according to Medact, a British-based global health charity. according to the Iraq Knowledge Network (IKN) survey of 2011, nearly all families - 96.4 % have no health insurance whatsoever and 40 % of the population deems the quality of healthcare services in their area to be bad or very bad. Attempts to resurrect Iraq's healthcare system remain hindered by a number of factors, including fragile national security and lack of utilities like water and electricity. President Barak Obama is the 44th and current President of the US, the first African American to hold the office. He made withdrawal from Iraq a key pledge in his presidential election campaign of 2008 and troop numbers have steadily fallen since he took office in January 2009. On 27th of February 2009, President Obama announced that combat operations in Iraq would end within 18 months. The Obama administration scheduled the withdrawal of combat troops to be completed by August 2010. On 31st of August 2010, Obama announced that the US combat mission in Iraq is over. According to Iraq Body Count, there have been between 97,461 and 106,348 civilian deaths up to July 2010. The Iraqi civilian deaths decreased tremendously since 2009. In conclusion, there are certain moral values that we can learn from the Iraq war. The mistakes made in Iraq should inform any future foreign intervention and teach us about the limitations of power and authorities. Interventions need to have limited, clear and realistic goals – and be well resourced. After the failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, the rationale for the war shifted from regime change to the grandiose scheme of implanting democracy. There was always a mismatch between goals, plans, organization and resources. All of us should respect sovereignty of other countries. Besides, being a Malaysian citizens who live in this peaceful country, all of us should appreciate of what we are having now. Tolerance, patience, compassion should be practiced among us to achieve a harmony and unity society. On top of that, we should appreciate the effects and bravery of the deceased country heroes. They fought and bled for their countries. If we internalize the right lessons from Iraq, we will develop a better match between our national interests and our capabilities. If we do not do so, we may well be destined to make wrong assumptions when we consider how to respond to increase stability of our country.

References:
* http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11107739, 14 December 2011. * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War
* http://www.npr.org/2013/03/19/174708589/1-decade-since-the-war-where-iraq-stands-now, Kelly McEvers, 19 March 2013.

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