The Invasion of Iraq … Motives and Consequences
MProf. Dr.Mohammed M. Al-Adhami
Head of Culture , Media and Arts Committee
The aim of this paper is to study the real motives and the results of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Many books dealt with this issue since that time, one of them is Bob Woodward’s book (Plan of Attack). He is an American journalist who spent over thirty years in Washington corridors of power, and wrote books like (All the President `s Men )-(Watergate Scandal)- and (The Commanders ) on 1991 Gulf War .The” Plan of Attack” based on documents including official and unofficial records. Woodward also interviewed Bush, Rumsfeld and others.
In this Book we found out that Bush Administration intention to occupy Iraq was before 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Iraq has nothing to do with WMD or Al-Qaida and Bin Laden, who implemented these attacks, and was against Iraq as a secular state.
In early January 2001, before George W. Bush was inaugurated , Vice President – elected Dick Cheney, asked the outgoing secretary of defense to hold with the elected president a serious unusual discussion about Iraq .Ten days before the inauguration , Bush ,Cheney , Rumsfeld and Rice attended that meeting .About four months after Bush inauguration, between May 31ST and July 26TH ,2001,Dputy National Security Adviser Stephen J.Hardly convened the deputies four times to work the Iraqi policy. On August 1st, the group presented a Top Secret paper entitled “A liberation Strategy”. Several meetings were held to discuss this Strategy, and after six days of September terrorist attacks, on 17th, the president signed the Top Secret /pearl order for new CIA and military operations against terrorists worldwide. Afghanistan was the first priority. At the same time secretary of defense Rumsfeld was directed to continue working on Iraq war plans, on the pretext of WMD , relation with Al-Qaida and to get rid of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussain who was accused of threatening the national security of the United States of America and the World by WMD. After the War, nothing was found in Iraq that could threaten American`s security.
There have been a multitude of reports which stated that there were no verified links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and that he saw the group as a threat, not as an ally (Katzman, 2004).However, There was a desire by some elements within the Bush administration to link
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to al-Qaeda no matter what, in order to justify the invasion they had already decidedon (Gellmann, 2004). Once Afghanistan was invaded, the Taliban regime overthrown, and the remnants of al-Qaeda scattered, Iraq represented the next logical step in the War on Terror (Rotella, 2002), although no direct links were ever found between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
In his book titled ” At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA” wrote George Tenet, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during Bush Administration ,that one day after September terrorist attacks, he went to see the President of the United States, and when he arrived at the White House, in the walk corridor leading to the West Wing, he saw Richard Perle leaving the building. Perle was one of a group of characters who holds the title “Godfather” of the neo- conservative movement, he was at the time the Chairman of Defense Policies Committee, which is an independent advisory group following the Minister of Defense. Perle said to him:
(( “Iraq should pay for what happened yesterday .. He bear responsibility” )) .
Tenet was shocked, but never said a word. An hour ago, he has copied the passenger lists of the four hijacked planes which shows with no doubt that Al-Qaeda was behind this but not Iraq. Talent added that for months and years they were investigating the presence of a possible role of state officials supporting Al-Qaeda, but they haven’t found a single clue refers to Iraq involvement. Nevertheless, Bush lunched the war against Iraq on 19th March, 2003, and on 9th April the American troops occupied Baghdad.
These two documented references and others prove that the occupation of Iraq was not because of the alleged WMD or the relations with Al-Qaeda or September terrorist attacks, but other reasons we will discuss in this paper.
In his paper “What Is the Real Reason George Bush Invaded Iraq?” David Wallechinsky defined three reasons: He believe that there were three important informal groups within the Bush Administration that were anxious to invadeIraq, although certain individuals belonged to more than one group. These groups were: War profiteers, neo-conservative ideologues and supporters of Israel.
For the first group when there is a war, there is money to be made, those are a certain class of individuals and companies that, for reasons having nothing to do with politics, roots for wars to start and then to go on as long as possible. There are also huge profits to be made in the reconstruction industry, which moves into rebuild what war has destroyed. War is great for business…if you happen to be Halliburton or Bechtel or Boeing or the Parsons Corporation. The second group are the Neo-Conservatives, those senior US policymakers in government and senior officers within the military establishment had the desire to “finish off” Saddam Hussein’s regime once and for all, and many considered the war in Iraq as unfinished business left over from the Gulf War of 1991 (Gompert et al, 2014). Senior officials in the Bush administration had,in fact, lobbied the government to invade Iraq before the 9/11 attacks ever took place (Lind, 2003). These officials were now in a position to influence policy and saw the War on Terror as the opportunity to marry the new US pre-emptive war policy with their agenda of toppling Saddam which they had been pushing on US administrations for years. Among them were the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. These officials were members of an organization called the” Project for the New American Century”, which had lobbied government for years to invade Iraq, and even went so far as to send an open letter to former President Bill Clinton in 1998 urging him to do so (Palermo, 2011)
On January 27, 1998—three and a half years before the 9/11 attacks—they published an open letter in The Washington Times urging President Clinton to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Among the eighteen signatories to thisletter were ten people who would later join the Bush Administration, like Donald Rumsfeld: Secretary of Defense, John Bolton: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Paul Wolfowitz Deputy Secretary of defense, ZalmayKhalilzad: U.S. Ambassador to Iraq,, Robert Zoellick: Deputy Secretary of State,Elliott Abrams: Deputy National Security Advisor,PeterRodman:Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Richard Armitage: Former Assistant Secretary of Defense and Richard Perle Chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. Among the other founders of the Project for the New American Century were Dick Cheney, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Jeb Bush and Dan Quayle..
Four days after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush held a meeting of his advisors at Camp David. Paul Wolfowitz, with the apparent backing of Donald Rumsfeld, spoke strongly for invading Iraq along with, or instead of, fighting in Afghanistan.
The third group weresupporters of Israel, who believe that Saddam Husain was the only Arab leader who was threatening Israel and should be overthrown.
Once the various administration supporters of invading Iraq came together, all that was necessary to convince President Bush, who believe that he should take his revenge from Saddam for his attempt to kill his father in Kuwait.President George W. Bush was the son of President Bush senior who had invaded Iraq in the Gulf War of 1991, and perhaps a quasi patrimonial desire to finish what his father had started was one of many factors which combined to motivate him to act (Jassat, 2002). His own statement “after all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad” (Bush, 2002, cited by King, 2002) suggest a personal motive.
In his essay, “One War, Many Reasons: The US Invasion of Iraq” the scholar Markus Nikolas Heinrich, Also studiesthe reasons of Iraq occupation, hewrote about the unofficial reasons which led to the US Invasion of Iraq in 2003. The main unofficial consideration was that removing Saddam Hussein would be a demonstration of US military might against a visible enemy, a demonstration whichhawkish elements within the Bush administration and the military establishment considered necessary to deter others and to dispel any appearance of weakness following 9/11 (Karon, 2011) .
The Bush administration hoped that removing Saddam Hussein would result in a domino effect, where all regimes in the greater Middle East hostile to the US and its interests in the region would be intimidated into cooperation, or toppled by their populations following the example the US had set freeing the Iraqi people (Gauss III, 2009).
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was considered the perfect country to be made an example, and removing him was considered unfinished businessleft over from the 1991 Gulf War, by many senior Neo-conservatives in the Bush administration such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney (Manne, 2004).In addition,the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001was not the awe inspiring hammer blow which the US wanted to demonstrate its power, therefore Pentagon planners began shifting military and intelligence resources away from Afghanistan in the direction of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which was increasingly mentioned as a chief U.S. threat in the war on terror” (Council on Foreign Relations, 2002). Iraq presented a much better arena to show the world the extent of the US’ military supremacy. Iraq also possessed a proper traditional army, which could be defeated more conventionally bringing the full spectrum of US dominance to bear in a campaign of “Shock and Awe” (CNN, 2003). This campaign was intended to show that.
The fact that Iraq has the world’s second largest reserves of oil cannot be overlooked. Although major critics of the war such as the political scholars Paul Pillar, Stephen Walt, and John Mearsheimer generally disagree that the war was about oil, Pillar did state that “Iraq’s oil resources are part of what makes it an important and influential state in the Middle East, (Pillar, 2008).Therefore, Although opinion is divided whether or not oil was the main motivation behind the invasion, it should be considered at least a factor, asIraq was the only lake of oil Americans could not control . Iraq was in that time the only OPEC country in the world that was not on a dollar standard to trade in petroleum; they traded in the Euro. Moreover, no U.S. oil company held contracts in Iraq to buy and refine Iraqi oil. Number of Bush Administration members had relations and interests with these oil companies, one of them was vice-president Cheney, he was the CEO of Halliburton Oil Company, while serving as Vice President, maintained substantial stock positions in Halliburton that stood to make him a multi-millionaire (recall the multi-billion dollar NO BID contracts let to Halliburton to support the Iraqi War) and make Halliburton one of the major war contractors in the Iraqi conflict.
Reports show that a mere two weeks into his administration, Bush set up the National Energy Policy Development Group and appointed his Cheney as its chairman. This task force met in closed-door, secret sessions for several months and invited a large number of energy industry executives and lobbyists for consultation. Precisely what was discussed is still difficult to determine exactly, since the Bush administration fought successive Freedom of Information Act (FOI) bids. However the few successes in forcing the administration to reveal some of what went on in these meetings show clearly that Iraq’s oilwas at the very top of its agenda. U.S. did not allow the price of oil to become over $18 per a barrel before the War and became $118 per a barrel, after occupation of Iraq.
According to what aforementioned we can outline the motives of the American occupation of Iraq as follow:
The official reasons were mainly the following:
First: The fight against terrorism. Iraq was presented as a state supporting Al-Qaida.This charge was unfounded, instead, Saddam Husain considered Islamic extremism as a threat to his regime, according to U.S. Senate documents.
Second: The elimination of WMD that was supposed to be held by Iraq. The Iraqi Survey Group which was charged by U.S. Government to find these weapons in September 2004, declared that there were no chemical weapons since 1991, or any current program in progress.
Third: The arrest of Saddam Husain and the abolishment of his regime, which will introduce democracy and peace to Iraq and the region. What was happened after the occupation, Iraq became a fragment society on sectarian bases that led to civil war. Thousands of innocent people were killed, and millions were emigrated under the American occupation.
The unofficial reasons, which considered by many analysts and politicians as the real motives of American invasion and occupation of Iraq, were:
First: The link between the neo-conservatives in power in Washington and the oil companies, including Carlyle Group, Enron, Halliburton Energy Services and Unocal. The occupation of Iraq will allow these companies to profit from Iraq oil by taking control of oil wells.
Second: The links between the neo-conservatives in power in Washington and subcontractors of the Army. Those are private military companies providing armed combat or security services refer to their staff as “privet military contractors. They are civilians who perform military duties.
In her book” The Invisible Soldiers” Ann Hagedorn wrote about theprivatization of America’s national security and the rise of a bold new industry of private military and security companies . On the tenth anniversary of the 2003 Iraq invasion, there was the predictable commentary about why U.S. went to war and what the consequences were. And there was some attention given to the fact that this had been the most privatized military engagement in U.S. history, with private contractors actually outnumbering traditional troops — the “First Contractors’ War,” as Middlebury College scholar Allison Stanger called it in 2009.
For the past two decades, the resource-heavy American way of war has dictated that where U.S. troops go, civilian contractors follow. It’s a way of doing business that has become ingrained in the Pentagon’s culture.
In their paper “Contracts as Military Professionals” Gray Schaub and Volker Franke, estimated that 30,000 contractors were providing security services in Iraq, of these approximately three quarters were armed , presenting the second largest armed force in Iraq, behind only the U.S. military.
From 2003 through 2007, U.S. agencies awarded $85 billion in contracts for work to be principally performed in the Iraq Theater. The Department of Defense awardedcontracts totaling $76 billion, of which the Army (including the Joint Contracting Command—Iraq/Afghanistan) obligated 75 percent. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State obligated roughly $5 billion and $4 billion, respectively, over the same period.
Contractors provide a wide range of products and services in-theater. Most contract obligations over the 2003–2007 period were for logistics support, construction, petroleum products, or food. The contract for the Army’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program is the largest one in the Iraq Theater, with obligations totaling $22 billion.
According to rough historical data, the ratio of about one contractor employee for every member of the U.S. armed forces in the Iraq theater is at least 2.5 times higher than that ratio during any other major U.S. conflict,
Third : The Bush Administration hoped that removing Saddam Hussein would result in a domino effect, where all regimes in the greater Middle East hostile to the US and its interests in the region would be intimidated into cooperation, or toppled by their populations following the example the US had set freeing the Iraqi people.More broadly, the perspective of Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other principal authors of the illegal invasion of Iraq was that the overwhelming military supremacy of the US could be used to intimidate governments and peoples around the globe and subordinate them to the interests of the American ruling elite.
For Bush Administration and their allies, the cost of the U.S. military occupation would be justified, because it would lay the basis for the emergence of the first genuine democracy in the Middle East, with unprecedented constitutional protection of democratic rights. Iraq, the defenders of the Bush administration claimed, would be a beacon of hope for the region. Regimes throughout the Middle East would be compelled to implement similar sweeping democratic reforms.
According to this schema, within several decades the Middle East would be transformed. The region would have shaken off Islamic fundamentalism and economic backwardness, and fully embraced the free market that prevails in the western democracies. Iraq would be fully recovered from the war, democracy and prosperity would prevail and U.S. troops would have staged a full withdrawal—undoubtedly showered with flowers by the grateful Iraqi people.
The consequences of the invasion were absolutely deferent, Bush Administration destroyed the Iraqi secular state and created a sectarian religious government .They allowed the sectarian political parties with their Militia to enter Iraq and seized the Power whether in government or in streets .They allowed and encouraged the mob to burn and destroy the Government ministries , offices, libraries ,museums and colleges, like the National Library of Archives and Books ,Iraqi Museum ,the libraries of the colleges and the universities.
Looking back on the first months of the occupation, it is clear that the invading force, far from seeking to create the foundations for democracy, consciously sought to bring about the complete collapse of the Iraqi state and Iraqi civil society.We can sum it up with the following facts:1-The massacres that accompanied the entry of US troops in Baghdad, Based on the casualty figures reported at the time, more Iraqis died during the 64th Armored Regiment’s overrun into the Iraqi capital, than were killed during the brutal 10-day US assault on the city of Fallujah in November 2004.
2-The incitement by US forces of wholesale looting, arson, murder and general anarchy in Baghdad and other cities, which claimed hundreds of lives and caused incalculable damage to Iraq’s cultural and historical heritage.
3-The decision to disband the Iraqi Army, Police and Security forces threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work.The disappearance of these Institutions resulted chaos nobody could stop or control.
4- The terror unleashed against the Iraqi people during 2003, including searches, night raids, mass detentions and the criminal torture at prisons such as Abu Ghraib, all of which were designed to humiliate and break the will of the population.
5- For the Iraqi civilians, the consequences of the US invasion have been truly horrifying, an estimation of 47000 deaths in the country until 2017,in addition to about half a million disables, according to a study published in the Lancet medical journal, British Survey Institute and the New Arab Website. Unknown thousands have been maimed. Unemployment has hovered between 35 to 50 percent, while every aspect of infrastructure required for civilized existence is dysfunctional: electricity generation, sewerage, health care and the education system.
6- According to UNICEF, the number of orphans in Iraq is 6 million, supported by two million widows aged between 14 and 50 years old. In addition , there are 6 million illiterates, and 6% of the population of Iraq is taking drugs,39 pandemics spread in Iraq due to lack of health care .Iraq needs now 11000 school buildingsto accommodate students ,while In the 1970s, UNESCO considered Iraq as one of the best countries in education and eradicate illiteracy.
7- The occupation and the Militias forced 4.3 million Iraqis to migrate outside Iraq, distributed in 64 Arab and foreign countries, in addition to 2.8 displaced inside Iraq, most of them living in camps.
8-According to the Iraqi Academics Association, the death squads that entered Iraq with the Occupation killed 310 Iraqi scientists and university professors. More than 500 scientists and professors were enlisted to be assassinated. 17,000scientists and professors were forced to leave Iraq.
9-The Occupation destroyed 13,320 factories, which means the distraction of industry in Iraq. As far asagriculture is concerned, Iraq is now importing 92% of his food needs .Before the Occupation Iraq was cultivating 48 million acres, while now only 11 million acres.
10- Iraq’s debt has become 133 billion dollars for the benefit of 29 states, in addition to the International Monetary Fund and Club de Paris.According to the the World Bank, the fiscal deficit of Iraq is $100 billion, and the cost of reconstruction is $300 billion.
11- In addition to the 73 militia, 43 of which subordinate to Iran, the Iraqi Government’s sectarian policy and administrative and military corruption, helped ISIS militia to enter Iraq and control four provinces in 2014. The cost of liberating these areas was the distraction of thecities like Mosul, Ramadi and Baiji. The citizens fled their cities and became refugees in tents. Thousands of civilians were killed as a result of the indiscriminate shelling. Families were found dead under the rubble.
12-According to the field research carried out by a team from the Regional Center for Depleted Uranium in the Middle East, 300 tons of Depleted Uranium dumped on southern Iraq and northern Kuwait in 1991 War.1200 tons dumped on from northern Baghdad to Umqaser in southern Iraq in 2003 war .This caused various cancers andcongenital malformations .As an example, About one million people effected in Fallujah city, north Baghdad.
13- The US Daily Telegraph reported on March 16, 2013, in a study of the cost of the invasion, in its tenth anniversary, that it costs the United States alone more than $801 billion, and said that if the study added the high interest of US debt because of the war, The invasion may exceed three trillion dollars. As far as the American Army is concerned 4533 soldiers were killed, 32310 wounded and disabled, these official statistics were denied by Iraqi sources who estimated the number of the killed soldiers 34000.
14- Since the establishment of the Iraqi State in 1921 under British Mandate, Iraqis considered themselves: Arabs %82, Kurds%13 and other communities 5% .As for the Muslims they are 95%. These are the bases of the Iraqi society When the Americans occupied Iraq they tried to classify the society in a different way: Shi`a, Sunnis and Kurds, though the majority of the Kurds are Sunnis, with no mention at all to”Arab”. The aim is to divide the Iraqi Arabs in two parts to diminish their majority and to divide Iraq into three parts politically and socially to weaken the country.
This sectarian system put the Americans in a big problem, as they allied with Shi`a political parties who were founded in Iran during Iraqi-Iranian war .They became the real power in Iraq with the support of the Americans who neglected the secular Shi`a and Sunnis politicians. This policy helped the Iranian Government to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq, regarding the country as an integral part of Iran.
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–– Harnden, T., (2003). Democracy in Iraq “Could Reshape the Middle East” [online]. The Telegraph
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–– Katzman.K., Iraq and Al-Qaeda :Allies or not?(online),Report For Congress,2014
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– Nekolas Heinrich, Markus. The US Invasion of Iraq(online)Dessertation,2015
– Nikolas Heinrich , Markus. One War, Many Reasons: The US Invasion of Iraq”Assay”
– Palermo, J. A., (2011). John McCain and the Project for a New American Century [online]. Huffington Post.
– Pillar, P., (2008). Iraq Critics Reject Claim War Was For Oil [online]. The Stanford Review
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– Wallechinsky, David. What Is the Real Reason George Bush Invaded Iraq. (online)11/23/2005
.Updated May ,25,2011
Woodward , Bob . Plan of Attack , London,2004