Many people have different opinions about the Iraq War. Some believe that our nation shouldn’t have gotten involved in the affairs of other countries at all, while others support the war completely. Still others think that the government was right to take action, but that the time has come now to pull out of Iraq. Despite these opinions however, the truth of the matter is that we did in fact get involved with the issues in Iraq and there is nothing we can do now to change that. We can however, learn the reasons out country had for taking action and what effects these actions had on us, those in Iraq and the rest of the world.
One reason for the involvement of the U.S. in Iraq is that it has developed and may possess weapons of mass destruction. The country also has a history of aggression against its neighbors. Iraq has used poison gas against Iran and even against its own citizens. In a speech in Cincinnati, Bush said that “Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. Iraq has also sponsored international terrorism. It was directed primarily against Iran, the PLO, Israel and other Arab countries, but it is possible that this may grow to also include other countries, like the U.S. Up till today however, Iraq has posed no real threat to the United States, its main interests or its allies. Yet the Bush administration still fears that Iraq may share the weapons of mass destruction that it holds with terrorists and in their eyes, war is the only sure way to eliminate this threat.
Another reason for the U.S. declaring war on Iraq is its repeated violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The government justifies the war by saying that since Iraq has violated Resolutions 660, 661, 678, 686, 687 and 688, and is currently violating Resolution 1441, which was passed fairly recently by the U.N. Security council, the U.S. would simply be ‘enforcing international laws by going to war to remove its regime.’ The Iraq regime is often considered a ruthless dictatorship. No one can be sure that ‘the occupation of a complex, divided country like Iraq and the installation of a new regime will lead to a rapid flowering of democracy.’ Yet the Bush administration still felt the need to make this attempt and hoped that the occupation of Iraq would lead to the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East.
The effects of the Iraq War are great and have impacted us all, whether we realize it or not. Over 1,040 American soldiers lost their lives fighting in the Iraq War and over 7,413 troops have been wounded since the war began. Economically, the war has hurt our country greatly. Over $151.1 billion has been put towards the war so far and it is expected that the war bill will add up to about $3,415 for every U.S. household. U.S. crude oil prices have reached record highs at over $90 per barrel. Although these effects of the war may seem bad enough, this is only half of it. In Iraq, the consequences are even more devastating. By September 22, 2004, between 12,800 and 14,843 Iraqi civilians had been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation, and almost 40,000 had been injured. Iraqi citizens have dealt with a rise in crime and have also dealt with a number of psychological impacts of the war. Unemployment has almost doubled and Iraq’s oil company has suffered greatly.
It is clear that the outcomes of this war so far have hurt both the U.S. and Iraq significantly. Both countries have experienced difficult times and the citizens of both nations have had to go through a lot. Tens of thousands have died and the war has hurt the economy of both nations. However, it is important to realize the causes for this war and hope that, despite our losses, in the end, things will work out and we will achieve what we meant to do.