After seven years of bloodshed and wanton destruction, President Obama "turned the page" and announced an end to the U.S. combat operations in Iraq on August 31. The end came only after the loss of lives of more than 4,400 U.S. soldiers and a war tab of a trillion dollar (according to one estimate it tops $3 trillion). It's hard to estimate the death and destruction that the war brought to Iraq - a country that never presented even a remote threat to the U.S. national security. The full cost of war to Iraqis in terms of human lives and material is immeasurable.
What were the motives of one of the longest running, costliest, and bloodiest wars in history?
The Bush administration kept changing its rationale for war against Iraq. First, Iraq's possession of the long-range weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was the reason given for the U.S. drive to war. On March 6, 2003, President Bush declared: "Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country, to our people, and to all free people... He has weapons of mass destruction... The American people know that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction."
However, the Bush administration's claim that Iraq's armament contains WMD was thoroughly debunked in October 2004 with the release of the report of chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer. Duelfer admitted, "We were almost all wrong" about Iraq's weapons. Later it was found that the charges were intentionally fabricated to justify the war against Iraq. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief weapons inspector Mohammed El-Baradei had testified before the UN Security Council that the allegations of WMD were based on documents determined to be forgeries.
After Duelfer's report sucked the air out of the WMD accusation, the reasons for war shifted from one assertion to another - link to 9/11 attacks and Al-Qaida, creating an environment in Iraq conducive to stable democracy, etc - all these assertions proved to be without merits. The attempts to link Saddam to 9/11 were disreputed to the point where President Bush was forced to disavow the claim himself.
The U.S. declaration of war against Iraq had nothing to do with WMD, 9/11 attacks, threat to the U.S. security, the war on terrorism, or a desire to create an open and democratic society in Iraq. Then why did the U.S. go to war with Iraq?
Though, some argued, Iraq was a destabilizing influence and posed unacceptable risk to the flow of Gulf oil to international market. The steady supply of oil to the U.S. and its western allies must not be jeopardized and must be defended "by any means necessary, including military force." However, the evidences negate the notion that seizing or controlling oil resources were the principle motivation for America to launch its invasion; it may be seen as peripheral benefit of the invasion, but not the raison d'tre. Neither the oil flow secured anymore, nor the domination of the region rich in energy sources enhanced in any significant way than what it was before the war. The huge human and economic drain of the war - trillion plus dollar and the loss and maiming of thousands of American soldiers - simply could not be justified as the price for mere securing the oil supplies when there were no serious threats of cutting off oil deliveries to the west.
When we put the pieces together, we find enhancing Israel's security and survival, controlling countries in Israel's neighborhood, and protecting Israel's WMD were the motives hidden behind the faade of lies and deceit for invading Iraq. Iraq war was not waged at the nudging of big oil concerns, but in the words of Lawrence Wilkerson, who was former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, the Iraq war was embarked upon by "secretive, little-known cabal". It was the secretive cabal of Zionist ideologues that was bent on creating a war with Iraq out of its concern for Israel's security and pave way for the "final solution to the Palestinian problem".
Columnist Tim Rutten in his review of Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell by Karen DeYoung (October 09, 2006, LA Times) says, "Powell's version of events confirms what others have reported that Cheney, Rumsfeld and their neoconservative aides arrived in Washington determined to find a reason to attack Saddam Hussein." In Powell biography, Rutten further writes, "readers are told that the neoconservatives in the Defense Department -- nearly all of them Jews -- supported war against Iraq as the first step to replacing Arab despots with democratic governments that would sever their ties to the Palestinians, thereby enhancing Israel's security." General Colin Powell later regretted his role in the Iraq war and called his famous speech to the United Nations, in which he gave a detailed description of Iraqi weapons programs that turned out to be false, as "painful" and a "blot" on his record.
Stephen J. Sniegoski, a historian and writer, says in his paper, The war on Iraq: Conceived in Israel, published more than a month before the American attack, says: "A clear illustration of the neoconservative thinking on war on Iraq is a 1996 paper developed by Perle, Feith, David Wurmser, and others published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, titled 'A clean break: a new strategy for securing the realm.' It was intended as a political blueprint for the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu. It presented a plan whereby Israel would 'shape its strategic environment,' beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, to serve as a first step toward eliminating the anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran."
The peace treaty with Israel neutralized Egypt, Jordon, and PLO. Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf countries are having not so secret trade and cozy relations with the Jewish state. Turkey always maintained friendly relations with Israel, though the relations have recently become strained. Attempts are being made to fracture and defang nuclearized Pakistan and closing in on Iran. Iraq was the only country left in the Israel's neighborhood, and to some extent Syria and Lebanon, that remained a thorn at the side of Israel and somewhat threat to its security. The U.S. and the Great Britain, who jointly midwifed Israel, and since its birth played the role of protector and benefactor, with their own blood and treasure removed Iraq from Israel's security threat list.
Israel's long time wish for the destruction of Iraq, the most advanced Arab nation that ardently defended and supported the Palestinian resistance and exhorted other Arab regimes not to normalize relations with the apartheid state of Israel at the expense of Palestinian rights, came true without losing a single Israeli soldier or spending a dime.
Yesterday, besieged but independent Iraq rejected an offer to participate in a peace process with Israel in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions (Al Jazeera, 09 Nov 2009). Today, the occupied Iraqi government has dropped an article from the Baghdad International Fair charter which obliges participating companies to prove they do not have trade links with Israel. Iraq is surely being put on the path to join the Egypt and Jordan led club of Israel friendly Arab countries to reshape the Middle East into a neutered and Israel-friendly region - so the muffled protesting cry of Palestinians gather no volume.
Abdul-Majid Jaffry is a retired aerospace engineer and a freelance columnist. He resides in Washington, USA.