Ryan McMaken – January 3, 2020
The US government tells us that Iraq is harboring anti-US Iranian forces and must be bombed. Yesterday, the US bombed Baghdad International Airport, killing seven people, including an Iranian general and two Iraqi politicians. Meanwhile, US marines invaded Iraqi sovereign territory — in a move euphemistically called “arrest raids” — in an effort to capture an Iraqi member of parliament and a militia leader.
But how is it that Iraq is so full of anti-US politicians and militia leaders working with Iranian forces?
Wasn’t the 2003 invasion of Iraq supposed to turn Iraq into a Western-style democracy and a friendly outpost for US forces in the Islamic world?
That, at least is what we were promised at the time. But those, like the other reasons given for the war, were the usual lies we’ve come to expect from Washington, DC.
Justifications for the 2003 Invasion
When the United States regime was attempting to justify its unconstitutional and unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003, it made a wide array of promises.
The first, of course, was that the invasion was some sort of retribution for 9/11. This had been debunked even then, but by suggesting there was a connection between the Iraqi regime and 9/11, the more ignorant among the rubes could be convinced that the war would “keep us safe.”
The more well-informed knew the 9/11 connection was nonsense so they needed something more. Other justifications for the war included:
- Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
- Saddam Hussein is a bad guy and must be punished.
- A US invasion will convert Iraq into a liberal democracy.
- Iraq will become a US-friendly regime and a free Middle East will flower as a result of this new Iraq.
The first reason has since also been debunked. Colin Powell and the Bush administration were simply lying about WMDs.
And then there was the claim Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and so must be removed through a full-scale US invasion. This has always had the ring of hypocrisy about it, especially since the US then, as now, sponsored and approved of a wide variety of brutal and illiberal regimes. The US’s first war against Iraq, after all, was justified as “liberating” Kuwait, a repressive Islamist regime with no respect for human rights. The other chief beneficiary of that war (aside from the state of Israel) was Saudi Arabia, which has completely outlawed Christianity, beheads women for “sorcery,” and wages starvation campaigns against toddlers in Yemen.
Thus, the idea that the US regime cares about human rights only resonates with those who know absolutely nothing about US foreign policy.
Thanks to the US’s latest bombing of Iraq, the last two justifications — claiming the war would convert Iraq into a US-friendly, human rights-loving democracy — have now become obvious farce as well. For example, the US State Department now advises all Americans to leave Iraq, noting:
[The] U.S. Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately. U.S. citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land. Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.
In other words, Iraq is a place where Americans are unsafe and where the US embassy cannot function as an embassy.
The alliance between the Iraqi parliament and Iranian forces is at the point where anti-US forces can function freely within the country.
Yesterday, Rep. Thomas Massie stated the obvious conclusion to be drawn from this, quoting from this article and writing:
“To recognize that the Baghdadi government is an enemy of the United States is to acknowledge that not only was the Iraq war a mistake, but that its outcome was a boon for Iran. The same failed generals & civilian leaders who led us into this are not going to readily admit that.”— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 1, 2020
Prior to the US invasion of Iraq, of course, Iraq was quite inhospitable to Iranian forces. Saddam Hussein was an intractable enemy of Iran and had led Iraq in an eight-year war against Iran. But for whatever reason the Bush administration — perhaps due to close and affectionate ties between the Bush family and the blood-drenched Islamist Saudi dictators — decided the secular anti-Iranian regime in Iraq had to go.
What came afterward never came close to matching the fanciful promises made by the US regime to justify the war. Since the US invasion, Iraq has hobbled from insurgency to civil war, and in the absence of Hussein, terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS were able to gain substantial footholds in the region. As in Libya and Syria, wherever the US “spreads democracy” terrorists have followed.
Today, Iraq may hold occasional elections, but this hardly illustrates that the current regime cares more about human rights. lt would be highly inaccurate to describe the situation there as an improvement for human rights over the one under the previous regime. Thanks to the Bush administration’s invasion, for example, Christian communities in Iraq — protected by the Hussein regime — have been decimated by various Islamist uprisings. Moreover, the destruction of Iraq by the US has tilted regional power more in favor of Saudi Arabia, empowering that regime to carry out its terror campaigns against enemies, both domestic and in neighboring states such as Yemen.
A New War Much like the Old One
But with the US’s de facto declaration of a new war against Iraq, the complete failure of the US war is fully apparent.
The invasion never established a pro-US regime, and indeed paved the way for the Shia majority in Iraq to secure its rights through greater alliances with their coreligionists in Iran.
So now the Pentagon tells us it must arrest Iraqi members of parliament and plan to send — yet again — more troops to Iraq to protect US interests there. The warhawks will claim this is the result of Iranian interlopers. Indeed, the Pentagon is attempting to frame the conflict as one in which the US just happens to be fighting Iran on Iraqi soil. This is the same Pentagon that has been lying for years about the state of the failed war in Afghanistan, and which has attempted to hide information from the taxpayers.
But make no mistake: the Iraqi regime itself is not a US-friendly regime, and this reality just illustrates, yet again, that the war on Iraq has failed in every metric once set out by the war’s promoters.
Get ready for the US warfare state to push for yet another war in southwest Asia. But don’t expect any of the architects of the last failed war to admit their failure.
Originally published at Mises.org. Ryan McMaken is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. He has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado, and was the economist for the Colorado Division of Housing from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.
Image source: Getty