Why are we still in Iraq 5 years after the invasion and toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein?
1. The multilateral entry into Iraq (more countries joined the invasion than invaded the Normandy beachhead in the invasion of Europe in World War 2) was premised on several factors. Among them:
a. Iraq’s relationship with known terrorists
b. Iraq’s push to develop nuclear weapons
c. Iraq’s push to develop biological weapons
2. At the time of the invasion the intelligence service of every major power – all G8 countries – agreed that Hussein was developing nuclear weapons. An earlier reactor the French had built with him at Osirak had been bombed by Israel on 30 Sep 1980, after which it was discovered Saddam had been closer to nuclear weapons than anyone had thought. After 9/11. American no longer was willing to await another surprise attack, this time with nuclear weapons. The American government decided to pre-emptively strike Iraq to preclude any possibility of a nuclear attack on America by Islamist terrorists. Contrary to popular belief, had America not acted on the combined G8 intelligence, America would have been acting unilaterally, rather than the multilateral attack based on international agreement on intelligence. The fact of not finding nuclear weapons does not change the fact of multilateral intelligence and a multilateral invasion force. The legal justification for the invasion was the failure to live up to either the Cease-Fire agreement suspending the Gulf War (technically that war had not ended and was in suspension pending Saddam’s behaving as defined by the UN Security Council), and 17 UNSC resolutions he ignored).
3. Saddam Hussein already had used chemical WMD against his own people in a March, 1987 attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja, killing upwards of 5,000 immediately and an estimated 7-10,000 over time. This attack was, as of 2008, the largest-scale chemical weapons attack directed against civilians on record. Since he already had used WMD, since he already had been building nukes (Osirak), since all G8 intelligence services believed he was building them again, attacking was not only prudent but necessary.
4. Once Hussein’s government had been toppled, America botched the occupation extraordinarily. As a result of this Al Qaeda and various other organization of Islamist terrorists, nearly all Arabs funded by Saudi Arabia, descended on a destabilized Iraq to kill Americans and drive the Western allies from the theater of operations. This has been referred to in various articles as the “fly-paper strategy.” Meaning – draw the terrorists to where the American military is and kill them, rather than having them come to America and kill American civilians.
5. Over the course of 2003 – 2007, the strategy in-place denied the enemy the opportunity to win, while at the same time provided free elections by the Iraqi people, the first in their history. However, as the terrorists proved unable to drive the Americans away with their tail between their legs, these terrorists began focusing on killing Iraqis. It is important to remember that many times more Muslims have been killed by other Muslims (and here) over the course of the existence of Islam than have been killed by non-Muslims. Shia and Sunni have been killing one another since Mohammed died; Persians (Iranians) have been killing Arabs since the beginning of Islam. As Iraq became bloodier and bloodier with Muslim blood, many American politicians decided that a Shia-Sunni Civil war was occurring and we had no business either being a part of, or dying in it.
6. Disagreeing that the violence in Iraq was a Shi-Sunni Civil War, but rather violence escalated by foreign terrorists, wiser official prevailed. American remained and continued killing terrorists. In 2007, American forces were increased in the “Surge,” the introduction of a larger American contingent which has succeeded in reducing violence significantly. General Petraeus testified before Congress on May 22, 2008, “the number of the number of security incidents in Iraq last week was the lowest in over four years, and it appears that the week that ends tomorrow will see an even lower number of incidents.”
7. As American forces have been killing terrorist, Iraqi civilians have begun to feel safer, as witnessed by more businesses opening, more oil being pumped and a broader government acceptance in Iraq.
8. Additionally, what is referred to as the “Awakening,” Iraqi tribal chiefs losing patience with terrorists and finally coming to the conclusion that these foreign terrorist were killing far more Iraqis than any Americans, and that Americas truly were there to help by building schools, repairing long-neglected electrical, water and oil infrastructure. Acting on this conclusion, Tribal chiefs began working with Americans, vastly increasing and improving our intelligence, with the result of far more terrorists being targeted and killed.
9. Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, a Shia in a country of approximately 80% Shia (Saddam as Sunni), finally lost patience with a Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, who has his own militia of over 50,000 fighters and became convinced that his forces, with logistical help from Americas, finally could do something about the problems he was causing. The Iraqi army attacked Al-Sadr’s fighters in the last week of March with the result of beating them so badly al-Sadr sued for peace.
10. Over the past year American politicians have become increasingly impatient with the political progress within Iraq. Demands have been made for political cooperation between Sunni and Shi, for sharing oil wealth fairly (nearly all Iraqi oil is in Shia territory and Sunni have been afraid once democracy came, they would be voted out and made poor by the dominating Shia; this has not been the case).
11. Political progress has been and is being made that improves the wealth, education and safety of all Iraqis. Military progress is being made both by American and Iraqi forces driving from Iraq both Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists. Economic progress is being made by the numbers of shops and business opening and re-opening.
Why are we still in Iraq? To give the people of Iraq a chance at a stable, modern, democratic government, to be in charge of their own destiny, as we are of ours.
This is a people who, in 2003 were fed to dogs, had mothers raped in front of their children, had men put into commercial shredders, were governed by a madman who had impoverished a once-wealthy and educated country, and who had used chemical weapons against his own people and conducted a war of aggression against Iran lasting over ten years and costing over 1M lives.
Both those wanting us to stay in Iraq, and those wanting us to leave, believe that violence there will escalate should we withdraw too soon, they are in agreement on that.
So the real questions are these:
Do you believe these people are deserving of freedom, democracy, safety, and a real chance for themselves and their children?
Or do you believe that these people are not worthy of what we take for granted?
If you believe these people are worthy of creating their own destiny, then you must believe we should stay.
If you do not so believe, then you think that these people are not deserving of a safer more democratic government, and deserve to die in a failed state.
It’s that simple. Like it or not.