Another Political Debacle For US – OpEd


After 8 years of goalless, futile warmongering in Iraq, the US government has finally pulled out all of its soldiers and troops from the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.

The pullout marks another shameful political debacle for the White House and the American politicians whose weak and insignificant performance in the so-called War on Terror has disappointed not only thousands of American citizens but millions of people around the world.

To the innocent American taxpayers, the Iraq War was nothing but a heavy burden which the Bush administration imposed upon them. George W. Bush was after satisfying his unquenchable thirst for bloodshed and killing, and the American taxpayers were those who paid its cost.

Although there are different data as to the cost of the 8-year war in Iraq, some resources have put forward striking figures. For example, the Brown University reported as a part of its “Cost of War” project that the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan might exceed USD 3.2 trillion. The report indicated that the Secretary of Defense has directly spent USD 757.8 billion in the Iraq war, and this was something which the Americans hardly believe or accept.

What had made going to war with Iraq an unacceptable and objectionable decision was the fact that many Americans now believe that the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was baseless and unfounded. During the 8-year war with Iraq, the results of different surveys and polls showed that the American citizens were strongly opposed to the war and believed that it was nothing but wasting the national resources, squandering the country’s capitals and endangering the lives of the US nationals. In August 2006, CNN released a poll that showed about 61 percent of the respondents opposed to the war with Iraq and only a minority of 35 percent favored it.

In April 2008, a joint USA Today/Gallup survey also indicated that 63% of the Americans believed that the United States has made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, while in the early 2003 only 23% of them were against the war.

In terms of human loss, the Iraq War is considered as one of the deadliest wars the US has ever waged. Although there are varying numbers as to its casualties, the London-based Opinion Research Business revealed in a recent survey that 1,033,000 Iraqis were killed from March 2003 to August 2007 as a result of the war. This survey, however, did not include data related to the years 2007 to 2011, which are considered to be among the most fatal years of the war. The Associated Press puts this number at 110,600 deaths while according to the WikiLeaks, 109,032 Iraqis were killed from January 2004 to December 2009.

The Iraq War was also a disastrous and terrible war for the American troops serving in the US army. According to the figures released by the’s “The Human Cost of Occupation” project, a total of 4,484 American soldiers were killed since the war began on March 19, 2003. This was actually a military and political failure for the US government and many Americans would explicitly express their anger against this military and political failure.

Opposition to the invasion of Iraq by the United States was widespread and prevalent. Many former US politicians and military figures believed that there is no single page of evidence confirming that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and that an attack on Iraq would escalate tensions in the region and create unnecessary troubles for the US government.

People such as William J. Crowe, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Ronald Reagan, Scott Ritter, a Nuclear Weapons Inspector in Iraq from 1991-98, Joseph Hoar, former Commander of US forces in the Middle East, Merrill McPeak, former Air Force Chief of Staff, John Reinhardt, former Director of the United States Information Agency, Donald McHenry, former Ambassador to the United Nations and Stansfield Turner, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency were among the opponents of war against Iraq who believed that there’s no point in attacking Iraq and invading the country.

Even some prominent members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a neo-conservative think tank, have contested the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq as they believe the move would violate the UN Charter and endanger the regional security.

Bush was too adamant and stubborn to heed these calls and attacked Iraq in what can be called one of the deadliest military adventures of the United States in the past decades. With the arrival of the American troops in Iraq, instability, sectarian conflict, violence and unrest reached its peak and now the country is spending a tumultuous and turbulent era. US President Barack Obama finally kept his word and as to what he had promised in his election campaign, withdrew all of the American troops from Iraq.

Although Iraq is undergoing hard times and its security is dramatically diminutive and insignificant, the Iraqis are cheerful and satisfied with their country being freed from the hands of occupation.

Even though the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq marks the fulfillment of an electoral campaign promise by Barack Obama, it is unquestionably a debacle for the United States which is increasingly losing its credibility and popularity worldwide. The Iraq War was the heritage of former President George W. Bush who left for Barack Obama one of the most contested and unpopular armed conflicts in the history. Now the Americans fear that Iran’s influence may grow in the Shiite Iraq and the partnership and coalition between the two neighboring countries may jeopardize their interests in the region and foil its plots for isolating Iran among its friends.

From the other hand, the US has not achieved anything special in this war but some 4,500 dead soldiers, a tainted image in the eyes of the public and an enormous amount of money wasted in these critical and crucial days of economic recession.

At any rate, the US troops have returned home and the people of Iraq are indescribably happy that their country will be in their own hands from now on, even though the government of Nuri Al-Maliki has a long way to help his country experience security and tranquility.

Kourosh Ziabari

Kourosh Ziabari is an award-winning Iranian journalist, writer and media correspondent.

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