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Us And Britain’s Invasion Of Iraq

About four years ago, on the 20th of March 2003, a multinational military force marched in to Iraq. More than 40 countries joined in together to form a coalition force, with the US providing the most number of invading forces to oust Saddam Hussein’s regime. Amidst protests and anti-war campaigns around the world, the coalition force led by the United States and United Kingdom — plunged in to the Iraq War. Official statements given by U. S. President George W. Bush’s administration, as to the reasons for the invasion, were primarily to:

• remove Iraq’s alleged production and accumulation of weapons of mass destruction • stop Saddam Hussein’s support on terrorist activities • give freedom to the Iraqi people from Saddam’s reign of terror (“President Discusses Beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom”) Due to the unpopularity of the government’s decision and the subsequent turn of events, the public continuous to give other speculations as to why the invasion had to be done. In U. K. , initial public support was mainly based on the issue that Britain had a moral case to uphold in behalf of other nations (“Moral Case for Iraq War, Key to Initial UK Support”).

But those that consider the possible long-term damage concerning their country’s welfare believed the need to refrain from getting involved: that it might eventually endanger civilian lives in case of retaliation by terrorist groups, and the economic cost of war. After the military attack on Iraqi soil, evidence to support the Bush government’s justification for the invasion was still lacking, insufficient, and vague. Had the purported danger been present, it would not have taken only 21 days to topple down Saddam’s government with minimal loss on the coalition’s forces.

Saddam’s Soviet-built armaments were ill-equipped and no match for the invading forces, disproving the US claim. For most, it did succeed to eliminate Saddam, but nevertheless, failed to eliminate the problem in Iraq or helped the plight of the Iraqis, who now have to contend with not one but many oppressive guerilla-group factions that try to rule in Iraq. II. Events Which Led to the Iraq Invasion: Before the March 2003 invasion, the United States and United Kingdom had to make several attempts in lobbying before the U. N.

Security Council to pass a resolution which would sanction the use of military force, on the basis that Iraq was violating UN Security Council Resolution 1441. According to US reports, Iraq’s breaches include the possession of Weapon’s of Mass Destruction (WMDs), production of proscribed types of missiles, and acquiring banned armaments. One major concern was Iraq’s purported manufacturing of a nerve agent VX called anthrax, which was part of a report given by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei (“Full Text: Blix Address”) before the UN Council.

Saddam’s seemingly lack of cooperation also did not help the Iraqi leader. However, this is not surprising considering the breakdown of the Iraq’s relation with the US, UK and UN after the 1991 Gulf War. In connection to the Persian Gulf ceasefire, economic sanctions were forced by UN and the US on Iraq, since it did not believe the latter’s complete compliance to its terms and conditions. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration began a bullish stance of counter attack on terrorism. It tried to rally world leaders to run after terrorists, in order to keep the safety of the entire world.

The US, boosted by Britain’s support, justified its actions that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist activities had jeopardized the nations’ safety. Saddam Hussein is being linked to bin Laden’s group by US intelligence, although there was no concrete evidence on the matter. Certain reports accused former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for making an unjustifiable command to stage an Iraqi strike, who allegedly made notes which said: “best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S. H. (Saddam Hussein) at the same time. Not only UBL (Osama bin Laden). Go massive. Sweep it all up.

Things related and not”. (Cited in “Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11”). If this report was true, this might have catalyzed the war on Iraq, but this still gives an insufficient picture as to the real motives behind the US led invasion against Iraq. There were accounts which showed that Iraq indeed had been given supply of chemical weapons and even the technical knowledge to develop them by none other than the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. Such weapons were used by Saddam’s forces against the Kurds and Iranians (during the Iran-Iraq war), but not during the 1990 Gulf War.

But the US Department of Defense had filed a report on June 21, 2006 which described the recovered 500 chemical munitions in Iraq to be in poor and dire conditions, which dates way back before 1991. What had been discovered were in conditions that did not meet the expectations from which the US, Britain, and the coalition forces set off to Iraq for war (“Report: Hundred of WMDs Found in Iraq”). Legal experts of international law uphold that the US led coalition forces’ was short of a mistake and illegal since the attack was an unprovoked assault upon an independent country, although it was guilty to have violated international law.

The UN Charter’s “Prohibition of Aggression” provides a guideline for its members to avoid the use of force against another independent state. On the other hand, the Bush government cited Resolution 1441 and UN Security Council Resolutions granting the 1991 invasion to free Kuwait from Iraqi militia, as their legal basis for the invasion. Most of the focus had been on the presence or more on the lack of WMDs in Iraq, one of the foremost justifications of Saddam being a world threat, but Saddam’s human rights violations which spanned several years, was more appalling.

This was not an event that might hypothetically occur, but had already been committed. Saddam was responsible for mass graves and concentration camps, not far from the event of the holocaust. An uprising resulted in the massacre of more than 40,000 Kurds and about 60,000 Shiites. Young children, even at the tender age of five, were taken from their families. They were forced to go through military training. Those that would oppose were killed. Children who refuse to comply were jailed and terrorized. III. Legality of the Invasion:

According to Attorney General Lord Goldsmith’s analysis, the US’s plan on Iraq was not substantial, stating that changing a regime of another independent country could not be the goal of a military action. As documented on a memo which became known as the Downing Street memo, he further advised that only self-defense, humanitarian intervention, or a UN Security Council authorization are the only legal bases for the use of military forces against Iraq. In March 2006, the Law Lords made a ruling clearing the British Government of any violations against English laws upon its participation of the Iraq War.

On the other hand, President Bush had been authorized by the United States Congress to invade Iraq. By passing the “Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq”, the presidential request was granted. IV. Conclusion: The Iraq War had demonstrated once again, the superpowers of the present age. However, it also helped to display the inadequacy of even an overwhelming power to eliminate insurgency and bring democracy to a country. Not so recent scenarios of Vietnam War, American troops had to acknowledge its weakness on guerilla-type of combat operations.

Once again, it has sucked itself on a sluggish counterinsurgency war in Iraq. It failed to fully grasp the culture deeply imbedded by Islam which did not welcome the external interference, but even viewed the ‘liberators’ as an unwelcome occupier. The initial success of the war was deceptive, and the subsequent turn of events —- such as growth of insurgency or anarchy, is becoming out of hand. The complexity of internal forces within Iraq, its politics, culture, religion, and the different ethnic groups cannot be fully controlled by external superpowers, but can only be understood best by the people within.

In order to help carve a good future, all these complex factors must be seriously taken into consideration. Apparent display of force and instilling fear, may work for a moment…but its affectivity usually wears off. While we are still in the process of learning, lives and finances will continue to be spent in wars. The US and British forces may well be wise in not falling into a trap of thinning itself out, its efforts spread in different countries in its bid against terrorism.


1. “President Discusses Beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom”.http://www. whitehouse. gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030322. html 2. “Moral Case for Iraq War, Key to Initial UK Support”. http://www. scienceblog. com/cms/node/3978 3. “Full Text: Blix Address”. BBC News. February 14, 2003. http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2763653. stm 4. Cited in “Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11”. CBS News. September 4, 2002. http://www. cbsnews. com/stories/2002/09/04/september11/main520830. shtml 5. “Report: Hundred of WMDs Found in Iraq”. Fox News. June 22, 2006 http://www. foxnews. com/story/0,2933,200499,00. html

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