War On Terror Or Senseless Bloodbath

The invasion of Iraq in 2003, approved by President George W. Bush has been a very debated topic for well over a decade now. While the governments had its eye on Iraq for quite some time before the attack on September 1, 2001, this attack incited extreme fear and frustration in the people, which in due course led to the invasion of Iraq just shy of two years after the fact (Smith, 2008). Although the invasion was short lived, lasting only around 3 months before “mission accomplished” was announced on May 1, 2003, it left a path of dead bodies and total destruction in its wake (Webster, 2011). So, what was the point of this war? Were we as a country really in any danger? Why did we decide to invade Iraq? These questions often come up when discussing this topic.

The reason the Bush administration stated we were going to war was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction they were planning to use in an attack on the US (Webster, 2011). This can be argued as untrue because there was never any proof shown of these supposed weapons, if they had the weapons that they were accused of creating, why were they never found? The bush administration claimed the mission was to overthrow Saddam Hussein because he was an imminent threat to the US, although Saddam had no formal ties to Osama Bin Laden, or Al Qaeda, he had no involvement in the planning or implementation of the attacks on 9/11 (Webster, 2011). With so little evidence of imminent danger or the supposed weapons of mass destruction, why were the administration and the public so willing and eager to invade Iraq (Webster, 2011)? Did we as a country make the right decision to go to war?

Was the failure of Operation Desert Storm motivation to go to war again? Operation Desert Storm was set to be the original take down of Saddam Hussein, but it was prematurely called to and end (Smith, 2008). The invasion of Iraq suspiciously looks like just another attempt to recover from such a huge loss of the nations. The premature shut down of operation desert storm was seen as a failure and an embarrassment, due to the fact that the US did not accomplish the one thing they set out to do, and thus allowing the continuous reign of power by Saddam Hussein (Smith, 2008). This partially attributed to the urgency and willingness to invade Iraq, so that the original mission could be carried out. As earlier speculated Saddam Hussein was of no imminent threat to the United states, so this can not be the true reason we made the decision to attack Iraq. Evidence has proven the members of the Bush administration knew that the reasons were not entirely about destroying these weapons of mass destruction.

Its entirely plausible to argue that religion, and religious values are vaguely correlated to stances on Americas foreign policy, nonetheless there are both methodological and theoretical reasons that encourage the thought that religion may play a bigger role than most may think (Smidt, 2005). Religion and beliefs have always been an area of great divide in all countries, not just the US, although the United States have voiced their opinions louder than most on what beliefs should be. Jewish, and Protestants were among the readiest to invade Iraq, due to the fact that they believed Islam was an extremely violent religious group (Smidt, 2005). According to our constitution religion and state are to be separate, therefore if any part of the decision to invade Iraq was influenced by religion the United states violated our very own constitution, and its doubtful that they would ever admit to that.

Jus in bello and jus ad bellum. Jus in bello, translated to Justice in war; jus ad bellum, translated to justice of war (ANTIC, 2009). According to the work of St. Augustine, the most important principle is whether war occurred for a just purpose or for self-gains (ANTIC, 2009). When looking into the invasion of Iraq its possible to view it as just or unjust, it all depends on how you look at it and what your beliefs are. Although its obvious the US and Iraq both desecrated jus in bello, it is absolutely positive that the US blatantly violated jus ad bellum. In order to be considered a pre-emptive strike there has to be proof of imminent danger, due to the lack of evidence it has been determined the invasion of Iraq was not pre-emptive because there was no imminent danger, only fear of the masses (ANTIC, 2009). Saddam Hussein being a looming threat to the US did not in anyway mean that Iraq as a whole was a threat. The United States weren’t even able to claim this as a counter intervention because there was no intervention of power (ANTIC, 2009). Now we are left asking, what good did this war do?

Liberated or subjugated, who knows? The people of Iraq have yet to decide whether they have been liberated or if they were just subjugated (Yaphe, 2003). Americans were told that the invasion was to democratize Iraq, yet all the happened was de-secularization of Iraq (Yaphe, 2003). What purposes have been fulfilled? The only real purpose we see fulfilled was the defeat of Saddam Hussein, but was that really enough victory to make up for the fact that we destroyed lives, and murdered innocent civilians and swept their lives under the rug?

The invasion of Iraq has been gone over and combed through for years on end and is still under constant speculation, yet still no true answers have come about. More than likely religious beliefs were in fact behind the invasion but as mentioned earlier they will never admit to defiling the constitution. In the end the United States desecrated jus ad bellum, and our troops were just blindly doing their jobs as paid to do. While the US did satisfy the mission to overthrow Saddam Hussein, it still lies a mystery if any other mission was accomplished (Yaphe, 2003). There is and always be considerably more unanswered versus answered questions thanks to the Bush administration not being open and honest with the civilian population about what the reasons for war were. With all the discrepancies in the Bush administration pertaining to this topic is enough cause for speculation on whether or not this war was called for and morally reasonable (Lang, 2007).

Works Cited

  1. ANTIC, M. (2009). Iraq War (2003-): Was it Morally Justified? Politicka Misao: Croatian Political Science Review, 46(1), 88–113.
  2. Lang, A. F. (2007, September). The Violence of rules? Rethinking the 2003 war against Iraq. Contemporary Politics, 13(3), 257- 276.
  3. Smidt, C. E. (2005). Religion and American Attitudes Toward Islam and an Invasion of Iraq. Sociology of Religion, 66(3), 243- 261.
  4. Smith, M. A. (2008, March). US bureaucratic politics and the decision to invade Iraq. Contemporary Politics, 14(1), 91- 105.
  5. Webster, R. G. (2011). American Nationalism, The Flag, and The Invasion of Iraq. The Geographical Review, 101(1), 1-18.
  6. Yaphe, J. K. (2003). Aftershocks of the Iraq War: What Purposes have Been Fulfilled? Middle East Policy, 10(3), 1-21.
10 October 2020
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