Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Why The Iraq War Was Wrong

by Alex Quarrie-Jones
Ten years after the beginning of the Iraq War (on March 19, 2003) and the subsequent ruination of the reputations of many senior politicians (most notably George W.Bush and Tony Blair) and generals, the consequences of the re-ignition of armed conflict and sectarian tension in the Middle East and North Africa still persist and are very visible in the current conflicts in Syria, Mali and Afghanistan. And yet there are still some who dare to call this war just and a noble cause.

US bombing of Baghdad on March 19, 2003
(source: britannica.com)
I will agree that the removal of Saddam Hussein from power was well-intentioned, particularly after diplomatic efforts had failed, aiming to free a people living under the fist of a tyrant who had already attracted massive global attention in the Gulf War in 1990. However, when a war, the most destructive effort any civilisation can commit to, does not have credible reasons for its instigation and then goes on to become simply an occupation of a conquered country, again without credible reason, well that isn’t really a pre-emptive war, it is unjustified violence and imperialism.
I do not want to be associated with the classical view that, because I am writing from an anti-war perspective, that I hate the Armed Forces. On the contrary, I have a huge respect for anyone who is willing to serve and protect, and I am currently horrified by the treatment of the MOD by this government. However, I wish to express that I have no anger towards anyone in the Armed Forces; rather, I blame those who had the executive power, for example George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Tony Blair. Therefore, I hope that you will agree with me in saying that the Iraq War was an unjustifiable wreck.
If any war in the Twentieth Century had to be classed as ‘perfect’, or a near approximation, then I think I would choose the Gulf war of 1991. It had a clear, mostly humanitarian, goal and it caused very little collateral damage compared to the far more destructive wars like World War Two and Vietnam; therefore, it could be seen as one of the most successful wars in modern history. 

However the reasons for the Iraq War begun in 2003 were never clearly explained to the world; therefore, it will now forever be remembered as an unjustified (and unjust) war. As with most global conflicts now raging, it can be traced back to 9/11 and the declaration of the "War on Terror" by George.W.Bush; originally this war only concerned Afghanistan as this was where the terror group responsible for 9/11, Al-Qaeda, had placed themselves along with their leader, Osama Bin Laden. However this war began to drop out of public view and US government attention instead began to focus on how Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 (he wasn't). Saddam's shunning of UN weapons inspectors fuelled suspicions further, triggering the hype about the possibility of Iraq possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction (or WMDs) (they didn't), which became the pretext for the initial operation.

So the combined governments of the United States and Great Britain acted and invaded Iraq, mainly on the pretext that Iraq was a threat (alledgedly possessing WMD under the control of a violent dictator). However, by the conclusion of the invasion phase (about a month after the initial attack), the UN inspectors found that there were no WMDs and that, in fact, Iraq had halted any WMD production in 1991. Therefore, the invasion force had clearly not succeeded in one of its main aims, but had instead overthrown the dictator who should have been ousted much earlier.

At that point, the Americans and British could have withdrawn their forces, letting Iraq hold its own free elections and find a new leader. But they stayed, for another 7 and 1/2 years in a country where they did not need to be.
And it was during these next years, when the invasion force was seen more and more as forceful occupiers rather than peaceful liberators, that the various insurgency campaigns killed more American soldiers and Iraqi civilians than the original invasion, demonstrating just one example of the problems that resulted by leaving an armed occupying force for no real reason. Obviously the governments claimed that it was to “keep the peace” and “work toward stability” but they kept their armed forces there for much more dubious, questionable and eventually unjustifiable reasons. The Middle East has two things in abundance: sectarian tension and oil, and ironically these two do not mix well. Therefore in order for the oil supply, that was already starting to dwindle, to be safe, the invasion force had to stay and ultimately act as bodyguards for the oil. Therefore the longer the troops stayed, the longer their true purpose drifted out of view, the more and more expendable their lives became.

Therefore, I would like to conclude with a quotation from the great Chinese tactician, Sun Tzu: “No nation will ever benefit from prolonged war”, which seems more true than ever as American and British troops continue to die in Afghanistan ten years after the ill-advised invasion of Iraq. 


  1. I think this is totally correct

  2. Completely true and accurate

  3. Sounds about right

  4. this guy knows what he's talking about
    completly accurate

  5. Should not have stayed. RIP to all the soldiers who have died.

  6. I completely agree and the war was completely illegal in terms of the UN.

  7. The F.Bacon8ter20 March 2013 at 15:41

    Although we (the British and Americans) now know we shouldn't have gone to Iraq for the reasons stated - that Saddam Hussein was in control of unkown WMDs - you can see why Bush and Blair decided to. It was seemingly all about oil, and it wouldn't look so stupid now had they actually admitted it was for the oil. Although the violence Hussein was causing in the Gulf, and I will conceed it was pretty grim stuff, was very real, the un-backed claims of there being WMDs that could now threaten London were not enough to justify a full military intervention from the US and the British, because these claims were just that: claims. In the end they were just excuses to go to war, and save some oil.

  8. Very accurate and detailed

  9. Very good and a lot of detail in it


  11. They can not justify sending us into Iraq

  12. I HATE WAR!!! no-one should act in war for wrong reasons, unless your doing it for a good cause, because you are just putting yourself in danger aswell as other people and its WRONG :(


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