Tag Archives: Iraq War

Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003, by Gary Leupp

None of the seven “achievements,” (consequences is probably a better word) are anything anyone would consider “good.” From Gary Leupp  at strategic-culture.org:

Here is a list of the noteworthy, ongoing results of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq beginning in March 2003. (Recall that invasion was denounced by the UN as illegal, based entirely on lies, and—given the U.S.’s hegemonic position in the world, allowing it to act with impunity—the crime’s architects have never punished.)

1) The principal achievement of the war and occupation was the dramatic expansion of the al-Qaeda network that had attacked the U.S. on January 11, 2001. An al-Qaeda franchise was established in Iraq for the first time, playing a key role in the Sunni “insurrection” against the occupiers and their Shiite allies, then expanding across the border into Syria where it split into the al-Nusra affiliate and its even more savage rival, ISIL. Iraq also served and serves as a training ground for jihadis now operating from Iraq to Libya and beyond.

2) The invasion and its consequences encouraged the cause of Kurdistan, an imagined state straddling Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The Kurds are the largest stateless people in the world, victims of British and French colonialists who divided the region between them after World War I. After the Gulf War of 1991, the U.S. established a “no-fly” zone over northern Iraq to discourage Baghdad from deploying troops in the region. Iraqi Kurdistan had already obtained a degree of autonomy before the invasion but the status became official under the occupation and a referendum for independence is likely to pass soon. This would infuriate Iraq and perhaps provoke Turkey’s intervention. As it is, the autonomous region is locked in struggle with Baghdad over territorial claims and control over oil fields.

3) The invasion destroyed the Iraqi state, causing it to fracture into three: Kurdistan, the Sunni zone in the west, and the Shiite-majority areas around Baghdad. The Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein had been extremely repressive and brutal. But it had maintained order; discouraged religion in politics; protected the Christian and other religious minorities; promoted women’s rights; imposed no dress code; enforced a criminal code modeled after the Napoleonic (not the Sharia); licensed rock n’ roll radio stations, allowed the brewing of beer and its sale etc. The Shiite-led regime boosted into power by the occupation has reversed much of this. (A bill to ban the production and sale of beer was just passed by Parliament last week.) But the regime’s power does not extend into much of Anbar Province, ISIL still governs Mosul, and again, Kurdistan has become autonomous.

4) Because Shiites are the majority in Iraq (60%), and dominate Iran next door; and because the leaders of Shiite parties have studied in Iran or lived their in exile and are sympathetic to Iran’s mullah-led regime; and because the U.S. was forced by peaceful mass protests to allow elections and the emergence of Shiites as the leaders of the country, Iran’s power and influence in the region has expanded dramatically. (Apparently no one in the State Department thought about that.) Since Iran has not attacked another country in centuries — but was savagely attacked by Saddam Hussein in 1981, sparking a long war killing over half a million people — and since Iran’s friendliness to its neighbor, one of the few Arab countries in which its co-coreligionists hold power, is entirely natural, one can ask why anyone might be alarmed by this. But it does alarm some, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, that crucial U.S. Arab ally governed by Wahhabi Sunnis, most of all.

To continue reading: Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003

Whitewash Won’t Cover Blair’s Guilt, by Eric Margolis

Although the Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was restrained and “proper,” their’s no hiding the sins of those involved. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

This week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush. But still pretty damning.

Such government reports and commissions, as was wittily noted in the delightful program ‘Yes, Prime Minister,’ are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth and bury awkward facts in mountains of paper.

And beneath mountains of lies. The biggest lie on both sides of the Atlantic was that the invasion and destruction of Iraq was the result of ‘faulty intelligence.’ The Bush and Blair camps and the US and British media keep pushing this absurd line.

This writer, who had covered Iraq since 1976, was one of the first to assert that Baghdad had no so-called weapons of mass destruction, and no means of delivering them even if it did. For this I was dropped and black-listed by the leading US TV cable news network and leading US newspapers.

I had no love for the brutal Saddam Hussein, whose secret police threatened to hang me as a spy. But I could not abide the intense war propaganda coming from Washington and London, served up by the servile, mendacious US and British media.

The planned invasion of Iraq was not about nuclear weapons or democracy, as Bush claimed. Two powerful factions in Washington were beating the war drums: ardently pro-Israel neoconservatives who yearned to see an enemy of Israel destroyed, and a cabal of conservative oil men and imperialists around Vice President Dick Cheney who sought to grab Iraq’s huge oil reserves at a time they believed oil was running out. They engineered the Iraq War, as blatant and illegal an aggression as Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

Britain’s smarmy Tony Blair tagged along with the war boosters in hopes that the UK could pick up the crumbs from the invasion and reassert its former economic and political power in the Arab world. Blair had long been a favorite of British neoconservatives. The silver-tongued Blair became point man for the war in preference to the tongue-twisted, stumbling George Bush. But the real warlord was VP Dick Cheney.

There was no ‘flawed intelligence.’ There were intelligence agencies bullied into reporting a fake narrative to suit their political masters. And a lot of fake reports concocted by our Mideast allies like Israel and Kuwait.

After the even mild Chilcot report, Blair’s reputation is in tatters, as it should be. How such an intelligent, worldly man could have allowed himself to be led around by the doltish, swaggering Bush is hard to fathom. Europe’s leaders and Canada refused to join the Anglo-American aggression. France, which warned Bush of the disaster he would inflict, was slandered and smeared by US Republicans as ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys.’

In the event, the real monkeys were the Bush and Blair governments. Saddam Hussain, a former US ally, was deposed and lynched. Iraq, the most advanced Arab nation, was almost totally destroyed. Up to one million Iraqis may have been killed, though the Chilcot report claimed only a risible 150,000. As Saddam had predicted, the Bush-Blair invasion opened the gates of hell, and out came al-Qaida and then ISIS.

To continue reading: Whitewash Won’t Cover Blair’s Guilt

Re Tony Blair: Save the Apologies, Just Stop Promoting War! by Ron Paul

From Ron Paul via davidstockmanscontracorner.com:

Usually when politicians apologize it’s because they have been caught doing something wrong, or they are about to be caught. Such was likely the case with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recently offered an “apology” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair faces the release of a potentially damning report on his government’s conduct in the run-up to the 2003 US/UK invasion of Iraq.

Similarly, a batch of emails released from the private server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton show Blair pledging support for US military action against Iraq a full year before the decision to attack had supposedly been made. While Prime Minister Blair was assuring his constituents that he was dedicated to diplomacy in the Iraq crisis, he was communicating through back channels that he was ready for war whenever Bush decided on it.

A careful observer of public opinion, Blair took the surprising step of “apologizing” for the Iraq war during an interview on CNN last month.

However, there are two other characteristics of politicians’ apologies: they rarely take personal blame for a misdeed and rarely do they atone for those misdeeds.

Thus Tony Blair did not apologize for his role in pushing the disastrous Iraq war. He did not apologize for having, as former head UN Iraq inspector Hans Blix claimed, “misrepresented intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to gain approval for the Iraq War.”

No, Tony Blair “apologized” for “the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” on Iraq. He apologized for “mistakes in planning” for post-Saddam Iraq. He boldly refused to apologize for removing Saddam from power.

In other words, he apologized that the intelligence manipulated by his cronies to look like Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the UK turned out to not be the case. For Blair, it was someone else’s fault.

He Said That? 11/16/14

From Tomas Young, Iraq war veteran turned anti-war activist.

My Last Words to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

June, 1913

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/12/my-last-words-to-george-w-bush-and-dick-cheney/

An editorial note from Counterpounch, where the letter was first published:

News came yesterday [11/10/14] that Tomas Young, an Iraq war vet turned anti-war activist, had passed away in Seattle at the age of 34. Tomas enlisted in the Army just two days after the 9/11 attacks. Following his training at Ft. Hood, Texas he was deployed to Iraq and paralyzed after being shot through his spinal cord just five days into his first tour. Many CounterPunchers may remember Tomas from the excellent Body of War, a documentary film by Phil Donahue about Tomas’ struggles following his return from Iraq. Below [above] is a letter Tomas wrote to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in June 2013. RIP Tomas Young. We promise to carry on your fight. – Joshua Frank