Iraq War 2003
Baghdad under an onslaught of 3000 cruise missiles and bombs from the US and UK, 20 March 2003
Why did America and Britain plan to take over Iraq?
The main purposes of this war were always clear to people who had read about what has happened in Iraq over the last fifteen years and have studied American foreign policy. They were not the policies announced to the British and American people by George Bush and Tony Blair. They were to take control of Iraq's oil. Privatise Iraq's state industries, install a puppet government, build American military bases, and hold the whole of the middle east under the American threat so that the oil will flow and no-one dare challenge the US. This can be read in American defence planning documents, but events show this to be entirely true.
Was the war against Iraq legal under international law?
The first thing that needs saying about this war is that it was an unprovoked attack against a sovereign country. No threat was ever made by Iraq to either America or Britain. The war was a war of aggression and as such it was the most serious crime in international law. Those who planned it and justified it are war criminals.
The Judgement of the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal (1945)
The Judgement of the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal (1945) stated, "To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime it is the supreme international crime." And, "To initiate a war of aggression is a crime that no political or economic situation can justify." Even if Iraq possessed abundant quantities of weapons of mass destruction this would not have amounted to a justification for the war. Mass murder and mass mutilation cannot be justified morally or legally.
Iraq was not a threat to the west
Iraq was not a threat to the west. In fact it was an extremely weak country and for all practical purposes it was defenceless.
From the point of view of Bush and Blair, so long as they escape arrest, yes, the Iraq war now appears to be a success. The main objectives appear to have been achieved.
Following the bombing of Iraq by British and US planes in 1998 Saddam Hussein decided he would sell no more oil to America and Britain and he would trade oil in euros and not American dollars. Objective one of the war was to take control of Iraqi oil fields. This was done within days of the start of the attack. Oil is traded in US dollars. The oil industry in Iraq is run by US firm Haliburton. Iraq's contracts to supply oil to France, Russia, China, Germany and others were effectively terminated by the war.
Business opportunities for US firms
On 19 September 2003. Paul Bremer, the US Governor of Iraq, announced in his order number 39 that 200 of Iraq's state industries and services including banks were to be privatised and sold to mainly foreign investors. They could buy from a war-torn country at bargain prices. There would be no requirement to invest profits back in Iraq. And corporation tax would be reduced from 40% to 15%. This move was undemocratic, totally against international law, and something very close to extreme robbery with extreme violence.
More business opportunities for US firms
Bush's corporate sponsors have been given a great trade boost. It has been boom time for US weapons manufacturers, and for oil, construction and security firms who have been given huge contracts in Iraq.
America has sent a message to governments in the region: co-operate with us or expect violent treatment. America has established new military bases in Iraq.
But aren't the Iraqi people now free?
Mass murder, gross abuse and theft. Having taken away the right to life of about 30,000 Iraqis in 2003 and 1.7 million by the imposition of sanctions 1991 to 2003, and having caused untold destruction in this period, and having maimed fifty thousand more, and having imprisoned over ten thousand Iraqis who were free under Saddam Hussein, and having used torture on a wide scale to crush opposition and perhaps even for the sadistic pleasure of it, and having increased unemployment from 50% to 70%, and having taken control of Iraq's key national asset plus many of Iraq's most important businesses and services you could say, that in a sense, Iraq is now free.
But not free to control its economic destiny nor is it free to stop any military action the British and Americans choose to embark upon in Iraq. These are still in the hands of the American government. Iraq is now free to try to revive one of the most devastated and abused countries on the planet. It has not got a choice about whether or not it wants the American conquerors to have the contracts for rebuilding the country. It cannot stop the Americans taking Iraqi oil, not yet any way.
We could have helped and behaved decently
If we had wanted to help Iraq we could have done it years ago by ending the sanctions which killed hugely more people than Saddam Hussein ever did. Sanctions were a British and American crime committed in the name of the United Nations. I feel deeply ashamed of what we and our American allies have done to persecute the people of Iraq. Can we be surprised that there is intense anger against the British and American people when we condone behaviour which is in defiance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, and international law?
Rising death toll
The above was written in early June 2004. This month (November 2004) the death toll in Iraq has been estimated to be over 100,000. Today (Saturday 13 November) at the end of a week of bombing and blasting with tanks and machine gun fire the city of Falluja is in ruins. Water and electricity supplies were cut off at the beginning of the week. No food has entered the city since then. All medical facilities have been put out of action. Today's one o'clock news announced that 1600 insurgents had been killed. Who are these insurgents? They are men who are fighting to get rid of an enemy invader. In France in the Second World War such people were called "the resistance" and they were greatly admired for the risks they took and the way they fought against the enemy invader.
The US action today is building the resistance to their presence to greater and greater strength. They are at risk of incurring the anger of the entire Iraqi population. Even now, although we are told how grateful the Iraqi people are for bringing the end of Saddam Hussein. It is hard to see how they could be grateful for so much destruction of their country, so many deaths and so much suffering.
In September I went to a public meeting in Brighton. It was addressed by a ten year old Iraqi girl who had had a leg blown off by a British or American bomb. Eleven members of her family had been killed in the war. Fifteen hundred other children in Iraq are awaiting artificial limbs.
My member of parliament wrote to me when I complained about the war. He said, "I still believe it was the right thing to do."
David Roberts, November 2004
If you would like to know more about what has really been happening in Iraq over the past fourteen years UK readers might be interested in the 24 page pamphlet I wrote for Action for UN Renewal although it is only available at the moment when I give a talk. During 2019 I hope to be able to produce it as a downloadable ebook.
Lessons from Iraq
The UN must be reformed
The UN has profound problems, but it can and must be reformed and saved.
The task of the United Nations
Even Kofi Annan (Secretary General of the United Nations) admits that the UN body set up "to maintain the peace and security of the world," the Security Council, lacks credibility. It cannot function effectively because, in spite of the noble efforts of many members its work is viewed around the world with sadness, or even contempt, anger or hostility.
The UN has failed Iraq
This pamphlet examines the astonishing failures of the UN Security Council in its dealings with Iraq and suggests reforms and remedies which may enable the Security Council to gain respect and fulfil its mission. Crimes against Iraq cannot be ignored and rogue members of the UN must be brought into line with UN principles.
There are tasks which both the UN itself and ordinary citizens everywhere can carry out in order to return the United Nations to its founding principles and help to ensure the survival and well-being of the human race.
See Action for UN Renewal website for modest cost and how to buy.
A very important book on Iraq
and the Middle East
For even more detail about what has been done to Iraq and the Middle East by America and the way America by means of violence exploits the region read this disturbing and outstanding book,
Behind the War on Terror, the Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq
by Nafeez Ahmed, published by Clairview at £11-95