Why Did the US Invade Iraq in 2003? Essay

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U.S. In Iraq

Bush Administration Claims about the Iraqi War

When the United States initiated war with Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration claimed it was in an effort to quash terrorism groups organized in Iraq, and in response to Iraq's use and holdings of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). A writer notes about these claims, "These claims will move us into careful considerations of the Iraq war as a form of self-defense, law enforcement, and rescue, which will thereby take us into moral and practical implications of U.S. foreign policy" (Miller, 2008). Today, we know that the American military and UN advisers never found any WMD on Iraqi soil, and that the war rages on, even though there have been pull outs of military troops in the country. Author Miller continues, "The Bush administration insisted that Baghdad could use such weapons against its neighbors or against the United States, or could ally itself with terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda, which could use WMD to pursue terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests" (Miller, 2008). They used scare tactics to frighten the American people and justify the invasion, and then played the results down when the military never uncovered any evidence of WMD as the war continued.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Why Did the US Invade Iraq in 2003? Assignment

Many critics of the war and the Bush administration believe that members of the administration had wanted to invade Iraq and remove dictator Saddam Hussein for many years. Many of these administration members were extremely close to Vice President Dick Cheney, and that garnered them high-ranking posts in the administration. An expert on U.S. foreign policy notes the group was calling for projects against Iraq as early as 1992. He notes, "It was the same project that began calling for 'regime change' in Iraq in 1998 and that, nine days after the 9/11 attack on New York and the Pentagon, publicly warned that any 'war on terror' that excluded Hussein's elimination would necessarily be incomplete" (Lobe, 2009). Therefore, there was interest in removing Saddam Hussein from power long before George W. Bush took office, and that interest continued in many members of his administration. This casts doubt on the real reasons the administration invaded Iraq. While they said it was to prevent an attack on the United States, and to destroy WMD and prevent nuclear war, the real reasons may be far different from those the administration made public. In fact, a study commissioned by the administration actually found that Hussein had no desire to develop weapons against the United States; his intentions were actually against neighboring Iran, who he had engaged in war before. He also wanted to end the U.N. sanctions against his country. Author Miller continues, "It was more important for Saddam to end U.N. sanctions, not develop his weapons arsenal. Indeed, the Duelfer report contradicts virtually every prewar claim by Washington about the danger that Saddam posed to the United States" (Miller, 2008).

American Imperialistic Power

Many critics of the war believe the Bush administration used the war to send a message of power and dominance to other world leaders, such as China and Russia, and to prove that our military was a strong defense mechanism. Another writer notes, "Indeed, a demonstration of such power could well be the fastest way to formalize a new international order based on the overwhelming military power of the United States, unequalled at least since the Roman Empire" (Lobe, 2009). While the administration might argue against this analysis, the world has seen another, more aggressive side of the United States during this war, and it could have made them think about their own views about America and her military.

Of course, many other countries joined in the fight in Iraq with the U.S., including countries such as Great Britain, Japan, and many others. Since then, many countries have pulled their troops out of the country, and as the war drags on, it remains to be seen when all American troops will actually pull out and return home. No one actually thought the war would last this long, and it seems many American people are tired of the war, its expense, and the ongoing strife in Iraq, and they simply wish the troops would come home for good.

The Israel Connection

Many people believe that the war was also an attempt to shore up Israel's power and protection in the region. Author Lobe continues, "Ousting Hussein and installing a pro-Western leader was the key to destabilising Israel's Arab enemies and/or bending them to its will. This would permit the Jewish state not only to escape the Oslo peace process, but also to secure as much of the occupied Palestinian (and Syrian) territories as it wished" (Lobe, 2009). Most media and administration officials downplay the Israeli connection to the war, although Israel has become more aggressive in the last year or so, drawing criticism from the Obama administration and leading to some tension between the two countries.

The Pre- and Post-War Intelligence

Much of what led to the war in Iraq depended on U.S. And UN intelligence reports. Writer Miller says, "The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report of October 2002 on Iraq's WMD, representing the consensus of sixteen intelligence agencies, claimed that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges that exceeded U.N. restrictions; and, if left undeterred, could develop nuclear weapons capabilities during this decade" (Miller, 2008). This would seem to support the administration's prediction that it was necessary to attack Iraq before they could create the ultimate WMD, which they based their "preemptive war" argument on. Conversely, author Miller continues, "However, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found serious defects in the Bush administration's assessment of intelligence and concluded that Iraq's prewar abilities were exaggerated in the NIE report" (Miller, 2008). Thus, the administration used faulty information to build their case for war, clouding the issue and covering up the real reasons for invading Iraq.

Military pre-war intelligence was also shockingly inaccurate. The editors of the PBS show Frontline note, "U.S. commanders, meanwhile, reveal that much of the intelligence they received prior to the war regarding how the Iraqi people would react once the invasion began was shockingly inaccurate. 'We thought once we had crossed the Euphrates River, that might be the trigger for Shia resistance or Shia opposition to the regime to take overt forms,' says Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of allied ground forces in the invasion. 'Well, it didn't happen'" (Editors, 2004). There were other instances where troops expected little resistance and actually received heavy resistance, which indicates military intelligence was highly inaccurate in many cases.

US Patriotism

Throughout history, the American people have largely supported their military (the Vietnam War was one exception), and the American people largely support their military members, even if they do not support the war in Iraq. However, the media and the administration used the swell in U.S. patriotism to attach it to the war and make it more palatable. Two other writers note, "The equation United States = Freedom = Flag even found its way into a popular Ad Council public service announcement in which a neighborhood blossoms with flags in response to the terror attacks" (Harmon & Muenchen, 2009). This campaign began shortly before President Bush began calling for war with Iraq, and it made the war seem more of a patriotic (hence "good") effort. Patriotism still plays a part in the view of the war, with many citizens feeling that if you do not support the war, you cannot possibly be a "patriot" leading to contention between protesters and supporters of the war.

The UN/NATO View

Ultimately, the UN and many members of NATO supported the war. In fact, President Bush used UN resolutions as another argument for the invasion of Iraq. Author Miller continues, "Remarked President Bush: 'Under [U.N.] resolutions 678 and 687, both still in effect, the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction'" (Miller, 2008). In November 2002, the UN Security Council passed resolution 1441 that found Iran had not followed up on resolutions 678 and 687, and they were in breach of the resolutions. This helped pave the way for the U.S. invasion, which occurred in March 2003. Hussein expelled UN weapons inspectors as far back as 1998, but it took four years for the UN to create the modern resolution. Author Miller questions whether it was necessary to go to war five years after he expelled the inspectors. He writes, "Saddam had been contained by sanctions, the deployment of troops in the region, and U.S. control over the northern and southern no-fly zones. A coercive strategy to contain Saddam was in place" (Miller, 2008). The administration clearly thought these sanctions were not enough, and that war was inevitable to prevent the use of WMD on the United States.

Many critics actually believe the UN benefited from the war in many ways. Another writer notes, "Although not mentioned by General… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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