The Iraq War
The Iraq War, which has consumed several young American lives and billions of tax-payer dollars, has virtually come to a stalemate. It would certainly worth the effort to analyze the interweaving causes and untold consequences of such a dreadful event, not to merely quench our curiosity but to prevent such a catastrophe from occurring again. Although the war started out as a conquest to locate weapons of mass destruction (WMD), it took a different course as time passed by.
As there were no usable WMD to be found in Iraq, it slowly turned into a war to free Iraq from Dictator Saddam Hussein’s clutches and form a new regime that would be free and secure. History behind Middle East Conflict To understand the Iraq war, one also had to understand the deeply-rooted history of conflicts among the Kurds, Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East. There has always been a conflict between the majority Shiites and minority Sunnis in Iraq. Following the Gulf War, America insisted on the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by appealing to the Iraqi people through the media.
This enraged Saddam and made him torture Sunni Arabs all over Iraq to suppress revolutions within the country. This, in turn, gave power to the Kurds which again made Saddam unhappy. Fearing Saddam’s cruelty, Kurds fled away from Iraq and formed a separate country called Kurdistan, backed up by American and British support. A Kurdish group split up due internal conflicts, paving the way for the formation of Ansar which is believed to be breeding ground for secret chemical weapons testing.
Lot of soldiers stationed at Ansar also claimed that Saddam Hussein was supplying weapons to Al-Qaida’s Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. This connection led the USA to believe that Saddam Hussein was also involved behind the curtains in terrorist attacks. Looking at the other side of the story, one also cannot ignore the Bush family’s connection to oil interests. From their Halliburton Oil days, the ‘Bush’ has been synonymous with several controversies pertaining to the Middle East. Hence, some critics point out the War on terror is basically an endeavor to acquire new oil sources.
Looking back at History America, while going into the Iraq war, promised social change and autonomous democracy for the people of Iraq. However, after Saddam Hussein’s removal, America’s strong military presence in the state does not indicate a bright future for Iraqi people. It would worthwhile to analyze such past instances, as there is a very good probability of history repeating itself. America’s Iraq War shadows the British invasion of Mesopotamia during the early 20th Century in a lot of ways (Cerf and Micah 533).
Although the British had established political control over the region which is now called Iraq, it had to depend on old local administrative and law-enforcing authorities for social and economic control. The British colonial power decided to compromise social change for quick financial gains, by employing Ottoman and military officials in power since they could be easily molded to accomplish their vision of an autocratic, British-loyal Iraqi state. Ultimately, the British colonial rule failed to bring any fundamental positive changes to Iraqi society.
The USA was in a similar moral predicament where it had to choose between the long-term good of Iraqi people or immediate American interests. It is very unfortunate that America did the same mistake that Britain did several years ago, by putting in place a government that operates on old principles but is now loyal to America. It would be safe to say that America took the easy way out by giving away power back to the old elites, thus drawing the final straw in its measly attempt to restore law and order in Iraq.
Today, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” merely seems like an endeavor to overthrow a non-cooperative leader and establish a rule congenial to American interests. It also marks the loss of a golden opportunity to infuse a better way of life for the Iraqi people. America’s Justification for War James Fallows feels that the Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq by comparing it to Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Since the delay to stop Hitler proved to be a costly mistake, the American government suggested that the same mistake ought not to be repeated.
This tactic of pre-emptive strike suppressed public debate rather than reasoning the situation at hand. However, in retrospect, one can clearly see that there are umpteen many differences between Nazi Germany and Iraq. Most of Germany was united under Hitler in its effort to eliminate Jews as a result of anti-Semitic sentiments, while Iraq was split up into several ethnic and religious sects. Germany was industrially-advanced and had enough allies to wage a war, contrasting to Iraq that had conflicting neighbors and was not economically-equipped to handle the war.
It is also interesting to note that most of advocates of this pre-emptive strategy in the Senate had no knowledge whatsoever of Iraq or Arabian values, which renders them unsuitable of making such a sensitive decision. America also discarded the argument of questioning the validity of their sources that pointed out that Saddam Hussein had deadly weapons in his possession. These intelligence sources are not quite trustworthy as most of them have been found to be dishonest in the past, so as to gain political asylum in the Western world.
For instance, the Cuban Bay of Pigs incident could refresh one’s mind on the nature of intelligence information. Hence, an error of judgment on America’s part comes as no surprise since we have a history of acting upon the information provided questionable sources. America War Strategy America, although quite sure of going into the war, unfortunately did not have any concrete plan in mind to pursue the war. An air-raid would endanger the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, rather than the target enemy leader. Battle tanks would pose a logistic threat as well as a threat to the fighting soldiers.
America also had to deal with the world media as well as terrorist groups would blame America for staring a preemptive war, without any warning and logical reason. It was also aware that removing Saddam Hussein was not the end of problem and it was responsible for restoring peace back in the territory. America would also have to take responsibly to protect the Iraqi territory from its neighbors as well as spend its resources for Iraq’s restoration. America had also ignored the fact that Iraqis are extreme nationalist who have traditionally disliked America and held it responsible for its economic sanctions.
Invading them would only further invigorate that hatred for America. Colin Powell’s simple strategy was portrayed to be the answer to all the concerns regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, it did not have any solutions to the immediate as well long-term problems in Iraq. For instance, even if Saddam had had WMD in his possession and used them, it would have killed several thousand American soldiers who did not have the right gear at their disposal. It could have also spun out of control into a religious war if neighboring countries were accidently dragged into the battle.
America also did not plan properly to handle the demoralizing and frightening effect that the war would have on the psyche of an average Iraqi citizen. America would have to spend resources exclusively from its own pocket to cater the food and medical amenities of civilians, considering the fact that there were no allies to back America up. America’s War Concerns The diminishing size of military manpower was also a serious cause for concern, as thousands of soldiers would be needed to establish control in Iraq.
The lack of Allies’ support also meant that the US has to deploy soldier who could not connect to the local people through linguistic or religious similarities, thereby making the peace-keeping mission much more complicated. They would also lack the skills to socialize and gather intelligence from locals. This situation is quite similar to America’s occupation of the Philippines Archipelago. This invariably meant that America had to give up and seek help from old administrators and military officials from Saddam’s Era. The US military philosophy under Powell revolved around the idea of ‘destroy and exit’.
This did little good in helping American soldiers to foster a healthy relationship with civilians based on human empathy and trust, since soldiers were trained to be merely fighting machines. All these strategies have pushed American soldiers and the military machinery into grave danger. Effect of War on Iraq American war colonies have traditionally lost their cultural and political identities. Hence, it is natural for Iraqis to face the same fear. Iraq is surrounded six different nations and hence a war in Iraq could spread insecurity in neighboring nations.
America would also have to contain the situation from spearheading to neighboring Iran to safeguard its oil interests. America would also have to lookout for Kuwaiti revenge on Iraq for burning down its oil pipes in the past. In the long run, it would also have to develop a mechanism for Iraq to embrace democracy on some level, similar to Japan’s slow acceptance of the democratic process. However, Iraq’s situation cannot be compared to that of Japan; Unlike Iraq, Japan did not consist of people from different religious sects, thereby increasing the possibility of internal conflicts manifold.
Another area that would require critical thinking is America’s moral reputation in the Islamic world after the war. If America plans to settle it wartime bills by selling Iraqi oil, it would certainly lose any respect left in not only Muslim territories, but also rest of the World. The empathy it had received after the 9/11 acts of terror would all vaporize into thin air, following a pre-emptive war strike. The American think-tank did not foresee such problems and certainly was not equipped to face them at all. Important Aspects that America overlooked
America also had to consider its options going into the war since it would not have the support of any allies, unless there was any evidence to suggest that Iraq had WMD in its possession. One also had to take into account America’s dreadful past while dealing with unorganized foes’ resistance in enemy territory, given our experiences in Vietnam. Considering these two aspects, the government should have very well known that thousands of American soldiers’ lives were at stake and their chances of survival were very slim.
In spite of all this, America proceeded to wage yet another war that would take a devastating toll on American lives and its economy. Even veterans that fought in previous American wars as well as military experts who initially supported the Iraq War are now bedazzled by the consequences of America’s first full-scale pre-emptive war. Post-War Iraq When we consider Iraq in a post-war scenario, we have take into account the major religious groups comprised of the Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Even after Saddam Hussein has been overthrown, peace cannot be guaranteed unless the conflict between these two groups is amicably resolved.
The American media, on several occasions, has been quite oblivious about this basic facts concerning Iraq. Even renowned print media companies have often confused the Shiite and Sunni communities, publishing erroneous information. Hence, the American government will have it get its facts double-checked before taking an irreversible course of action. Even if a temporary Shiite government backed by America is formed, it might create turbulence in the region owing to old bad blood. It may pave the way for a religious fundamentalist Iraq state leaning towards Iran.
The Sunni leaders are not really pleased with American occupation, which is quite evident from the absence of most Sunni leaders in the Iraqi Open Opposition conference. Whilst, in realistic terms, this conference is of no primal importance since the opinions of the participants would matter very little to the future of Iraq. However, America will have to decide whether to nominate the next Iraqi leader based on ethno-religious majority or by evaluating one’s abilities as a leader. Aftermath of War Before America began its war in Iraq, George Bush promised to free the Iraqi people from scarcity and constant fear.
He also guaranteed the establishment of a stable government and removing dictatorship for the common good. Prophetic claims were also made to safeguard their natural resources and liberate Iraq from sickness and poverty. However, when we look at the situation today, things do not seem to have exactly gone the way the American president wanted. However, he also claims that Iraq will emulate Germany and Japan’s trend eventually after the end of the war by adopting a democratic setup. He also believes that this development will set the tone for settlement of disputes in the Middle East region.
Only time will tell if Bush’s predictions were right to any degree, but I do not see it happening unless the Government completely transforms its approach to the whole issue. Then again, this will also open up a fascinating topic of considering the forces behind Bush who influence his every decision. Conclusion I personally feel that America can never even come close to controlling Iraq completely. I would also like to add making Iraq a colony of the United States would not be such a good idea for Iraqis and Americans alike, especially considering our original motives behind waging the war.
It is also disheartening to learn that the American Government acted upon misinformation and took out the lives of several innocent human beings. The Iraq War just reiterates the good old saying “war has no winners”. As the America’s military presence in Iraq drags on without any foreseeable solution in sight, I feel we should establish peace as soon as possible and leave Iraq alone.
Page Cerf, Christopher. “The Future of Iraq”. The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions. Ed. Sifry, Micah. Touchstone, 2003. 529-590Sample Essay of Paperial.com