Iraq’s in­va­sion an­niver­sary

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL -

THE in­va­sion of Iraq 10 years ago trig­gered a bit­ter civil war, which de­stroyed the fab­ric of the coun­try, killed hun­dred of thou­sands of peo­ple, and em­bed­ded sec­tar­ian pol­i­tics into the heart of the Arab world. The tragedy of Iraq is all the more poignant be­cause all the rea­sons that then US Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush pre­sented to jus­tify top­pling Iraqi pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sain turned out to be false.

At first, Bush blamed Sad­dam for sup­port­ing Al Qaida af­ter the 9/11 at­tacks on the World Trade Cen­tre and the Pen­tagon. In fact, Sad­dam had noth­ing to do with Al Qaida and was bru­tal in sup­press­ing any kind of rad­i­cal Is­lamist ac­tiv­ity. This did not stop the nest of neo­con­ser­va­tives in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion like Vi­cePres­i­dent Dick Cheney and De­fence Sec­re­tary Don­ald Rums­feld from lin­ing up Iraq as a tar­get within a few weeks of the at­tack on the World Trade Cen­tre.

Bush then used weapons of mass de­struc­tion (WMDs) that Sad­dam was al­leged to have as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for in­vad­ing Iraq. For some­time, this was the dom­i­nant jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and the Bush ad­min won a va­ri­ety of UN res­o­lu­tions that in­sisted that Sad­dam had nu­clear and chem­i­cal weapons. But all this rhetoric was later ex­posed as vac­u­ous when the Amer­i­cans found no WMDs af­ter the in­va­sion. This gave both Bush and his close ally Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Tony Blair a lot of domestic po­lit­i­cal prob­lems since they had cer­tainly ex­ag­ger­ated the in­tel­li­gence, and ap­par­ently lied, to jus­tify the un­pop­u­lar war.

At var­i­ous times, Bush also claimed that the pur­pose of the in­va­sion was to pro­mote democ­racy in the Mid­dle East, and he added that Sad­dam’s ter­ri­ble hu­man rights record was an­other jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for regime change. But what fin­ished any re­main­ing cred­i­bil­ity of Amer­ica was the mis­er­able fail­ure to have any plan for the re­build­ing of Iraq af­ter the in­va­sion.

The State De­part­ment had planned to put in 50 Ara­bic-speak­ing former diplo­mats to ease the process of re­build­ing Iraqi civil so­ci­ety, but all of a sud­den Bush gave that re­spon­si­bil­ity to the De­fence De­part­ment, which had no plans. As a re­sult, Iraq had to en­dure the dis­as­trous pro-con­suls of Jay Gar­ner and Paul Bre­mer, who had no idea of that to do the with the coun­try they were given. Sec­tar­ian pol­i­tics took off, and the years of civil war started very soon af­ter. The only peo­ple who have prof­ited from all this are the Amer­i­can se­cu­rity com­pa­nies and mil­i­tary sup­pli­ers, who made for­tunes out of the bil­lions poured into the US mil­i­tary ef­fort in Iraq. Iron­i­cally, one other en­tity that has ben­e­fited from the Iraq de­ba­cle was the Ira­nian government, which saw its ma­jor ri­val in the re­gion de­stroyed by the Amer­i­cans, and its prox­ies tak­ing a dom­i­nant place in Iraqi pol­i­tics.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.