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Iraq War - on Iraq and the U.S.
The drums of war once again echo in my ears. I am disgusted seeing Donald Rumsfeld on television defending the U.S. invasion of Iraq. CNN shows old footage of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Hussein's hand, made in the late eighties when the U.S. was providing know-how for Saddam to build chemical weapons. I was five years old when we left the country, but I have one clear memory of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1987. I was at my grandmother's house in Esfahan, Iran.
My grandfather was listening to the radio report on our volunteer army, fighting the evil Saddam Hussein in the name of Islam. Grandfather turns the radio up; its' a bombing raid. "Let's go," Grandfather says; we go to the basement and I hear engines roaring. My mother presses me to her bosom. The roaring gets louder; they are closer to us" La ella ha ela Allah" my mother prays. Bombs falling, "boom!" "boom!" Light flashes at the window. "Don't be scared," my mother says. I should have been scared but the pounding in my chest was not fear. Then the roars become faint again. Mother's hand rests around me. I feel my mother breathe out. "It's over."
Formal Definition of Key Terms
The "war in Iraq" should actually be called the "U.S. attack of Iraq, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq." "Coalition forces" means those countries that have sent a small or token cadre of troops to help in the fighting.
The justifications for the American attack on Iraq in March, 2003, was largely based on the political decisions of President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and others in his administration, that: a) Saddam Hussein was in the process of developing "weapons of mass destruction" and the United Nations inspectors should not be given more time to search suspected sites in Iraq for them; b) Saddam Hussein was linked to bin Laden's group of Islamic extremists, or terrorists, and was giving support and/or sanctuary to al Queda; c) Saddam Hussein was in the process of building nuclear weapons; c) attacking Saddam was part of the administration's ongoing "war on terrorism." But those justifications have not stood up well to the test of truth, and the test of time. Soldiers are being killed daily, and the American people are becoming less and less patient with the so-called post-war "occupation" of Iraq. It's a dirty and an evil war, and it plays into the hands of extremists like bin Laden, who hate America, and whose efforts have been to kill Americans at every turn. Moreover, since friends of Bush are making billions of dollars as Bush gives no-bid contracts to corporations to "rebuild Iraq" it casts an even darker shadow over the U.S. presence in Iraq.
The United States does not have clean hands when it comes to involvement in Middle East affairs. The U.S. orchestrated a coup in Iran in the 1950s, which will be outlined in this paper. The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s - going so far as to give Saddam money and materials and training to help him build weapons of mass destruction. Meantime, as the American forces in Iraq continue to be killed, Bush insists America will not back down. There are solid reasons to doubt Bush's justifications for going to war, and those reasons - in addition to the facts and issues surrounding Bush and the way and reported by major market journalists - will be examined in this paper.
Preface to America Attack Iraq: Background on U.S. Iran / Iraq Involvement
It's an historic fact that Iraq's neighbor, Iran, has been used as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. The true story of U.S. meddling in the Middle East is important, if one is to realize why many Islamic militants and extremists - and many other Muslims who are not extreme - hate the U.S. so intensely.
The CIA, according to well-known documents, pulled off a bold coup in Iran in 1953 (EIU.com, 2003), the first successful overthrow of a foreign government by the U.S. The operation was code-named TP-AJAX (Iranchamber.com, 2003), and it was implemented in order to depose Iran's nationalist leader, Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, who had nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company - much to the chagrin of the U.S. And British governments, both of which were intent on keeping a hand on the rich oil supply gushing from Iranian wells. And as a replacement for Mosaddeq, the CIA's mission was to install "The Shah of Iran" (Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi).
And though the coup, which reached a conclusion on Aug. 19, did not go precisely as planned, it is interesting that one of the key players in the strategy of the coup was General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the father of the commander of the U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf War of 1991. After the Shah had taken power in Iran, President Eisenhower funneled an estimated $5 million to Iran to help him "consolidate power" (www.Iranchamber.com).
During his 26 years in power, the Shah used brutal repression to subdue political dissent, and in fact expelled the popular Ayatollah Khomeini, a Shia cleric - who was stirring up Islamic passions against the Western-leaning Shah - in 1964. But in 1979, the tide turned against the Shah and American foreign policy, as Khomeini returned to Iran.
The foreign policy "wheel of misfortune" continued spinning under Reagan, and his successor, George Bush, after Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces invaded Iran in 1980; and, during the long and bloody war, Reagan and later Bush provided millions of dollars and weapons to Saddam Hussein simply because the U.S. hated Iran so intensely.
So, the first President Bush initially lavished money and materials onto Saddam, and yet the senior Bush's foreign policy towards Iraq later turned 180 degrees, morphing into the Gulf War to repel Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. And the son of then-General H. Norman Schwarzkopf - who in 1953 helped devise Eisenhower's CIA coup (which thrust the Shah into power) - followed in his father's leadership footsteps by heading up American forces against Saddam in 1991. The irony in that 1991 Gulf War playing out of foreign policy is that General Norman H. Schwarzkopf wanted very desperately in 1991 to take U.S. troops and march all the way north into Baghdad and kill Saddam; but the senior Bush would not permit it (the U.N. And U.S. Allies had been sold on supporting America's effort just to push Saddam out of Kuwait, not depose him); and yet today, the current president, son of the senior President Bush, launched his own crusade toppling Saddam, albeit with controversial motives, justification, and aftermath.
Background for Bush's Justification for the Attack on Iraq
With that information as background, it is worthwhile now to turn to the issue of current President Bush's decision to go to war was not a difficult one to sell to the United States citizens. After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Bush's polling numbers went up into the high 80s and even into the 90s. It had been a long time since any foreign adversary had attacked on U.S. soil, and the American people traditionally back up their president in time of conflict and war. This was extraordinary, being attacked by our own commercial airliners, and not only did Bush's polling numbers stay high, he very much had his way with the U.S. Congress; when a president is enjoying high "approval ratings" in the opinion polls, he can use that "popularity" to push through his agenda. Using his political capital, or put another way, his political leverage, Bush pushed through big tax cuts - most of which went to the wealthy - and followed a very conservative agenda domestically.
But all the while, Bush had his eye on Iraq, and by Labor Day, 2002, Bush, and his vice president, Dick Cheney, were stepping up the rhetoric against Saddam. In his January, 2003 "State of the Union" speech Bush declared that Iraq was developing "nuclear weapons" because some paperwork had been uncovered that allegedly detailed Saddam's desire to buy tubes from an African nation, tubes which are needed to build a nuclear program. Donald Rumsfeld and other Administration figures appeared on all the Sunday "news talk" TV shows, and with every opportunity, they pushed the theory that Saddam needed to be killed, that he was hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMD), that he was capable of using them against U.S. allies, and that the U.N. weapons inspectors had indeed been given ample time to do their work, and now it was time to go to war.
The War on Iraq and what went wrong in the aftermath
Within two months of his State of the Union speech in January, 2003, Bush gave the go-ahead to attack Iraq. The war very quickly went the American…[continue]
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