[pjw] FACTS: 19 Years Since the Devastating US Invasion of Iraq

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Fri Mar 18 18:23:27 EDT 2022

IAG supporters
I had intended to send a reminder out earlier this week about tonight's 
Friday rally (which starts in less than 2 hours).


But, time flies.

I have posted the fact sheet that we'll be handing out tonight at

The contents are pasted in below. Feel free to share.
dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Remembering the Devastating 
US Invasion of Iraq 19 Years Later
March 18, 2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine on the questionable justification of 
protecting Russians living in that country has drawn parallels to the 
March 19, 2003 United States invasion of Iraq, which was based on false 
accusations of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The US launched a 
massive military campaign of "shock and awe," killing thousands of people 
in Iraq, destroying civilian infrastructure along with military targets, 
then invading and occupying the country. Now, nineteen years later, the 
Iraqis still have not recovered from the damage done by the 2003 invasion, 
as well as the 1991 "Gulf War," a sanctions regime that crippled their 
economy from 1990-2003, and the US warfare against the Islamic State 
(ISIS) from 2014-2017. The US also strained relations when President 
Donald Trump ordered the assassination by drone of Iranian General Qasem 
Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader inside of Iraq in early 2020.

Despite a promise from President Joe Biden to withdraw all US troops from 
Iraq at the end of 2021, instead he re-categorized the 2500 military 
personnel there not as "combat troops" but as "advisors." That term is a 
loaded word used to describe the early troops in Viet Nam. It is important 
to remember that President Biden, as a Senator in 2002, voted to authorize 
the war in Iraq. In fact, following Presidents George HW Bush, Bill 
Clinton, GW Bush, Barack Obama and Trump, in January 2021 President Biden 
became the sixth consecutive president to bomb Iraq.

After the assassination of Soleimani, the Iraqi parliament voted to demand 
the US leave their country. Though this was more symbolic than a legal 
mandate, it sent a strong message. The next Prime Minister of Iraq will be 
named by Moqtada Al Sadr, a cleric who led an armed militia which fought 
to force the US occupation out of their country (Rudaw, March 13). It 
remains to be seen whether the new leader will direct the last troops to 

The "Gulf War" came about as a reaction to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 
August 1990. While that attack was an apparent violation of international 
law (like the US attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan and Russia's invasion of 
Ukraine), the Kuwaitis had been slant-drilling for oil under the Iraqi 
border, and US Ambassador April Glaspie expressed that the US had "no 
opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts." Many took this as a green light for 
Iraq to invade. America's fierce response is thought to be its message to 
the world (and to Russia): following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the US 
can do what it wants militarily. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a 
result of the war and the sanctions, famously drawing former Secretary of 
State Madeleine Albright to tell Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes that the death 
of half a million children was "worth the price" (May 12, 1996).

The US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was predicated on the idea that the 
government there was harboring the Al Qaeda members who plotted the events 
of 9/11. Even if true, that war was also not justifiable under 
international law, as no Afghans attacked the US. One reason also given 
for the US invasion of Iraq was a supposed connection between Saddam 
Hussein and 9/11, which was also untrue. In fact, the official narrative 
says that the majority of people engaged in the 9/11 attacks on New York 
and Washington, DC were from Saudi Arabia. The US continues to support 
that country, including indirect support for its war against Yemen, 
despite the Saudis' toll on Yemenis in that conflict, its terrible human 
rights record, and the murder of American journalist Jamal Kashoggi in 

America's "war on terror" after 9/11 has also involved bombings by drone 
and conventional aircraft in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. In 2011, on the 
eighth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the US and its NATO allies waged 
a devastating war in Libya, leading to the death of President Mohammer 
Ghadaffi. Libya's ensuing civil war has still not been resolved, with 
elections originally planned for December 2021 still on hold due to 
political fighting. The US also began bombing Syria in 2014, later sending 
in ground troops without that country's permission. Hundreds of US troops 
remain in Syria today. There have been a few close calls in which Syrian 
allied Russian planes nearly got into firefights with US aircraft in 
Syrian airspace, including as recently as February 15 (CNN, February 15).

The US continues these wars as a means to control oil and other resources 
in the entire region. After invading Iraq, the US built the world's 
largest embassy in Baghdad, even though Iraq is the 36th largest country 
by population and 58th largest in size. The US's sanctions on neighboring 
Iran and threats of military conflict over a non-existent nuclear weapons 
program there are also part of the same strategy. America has been 
claiming that Iran could build a nuclear bomb within a year for about 20 
years now. And meanwhile, American ally Israel has occupied the West Bank, 
Gaza and the Golan Heights since 1967 and itself has dozens of undeclared 
nuclear weapons. In addition, the US has strict sanctions against 
Venezuela, having gone so far as to recognize an opposition leader who did 
not win an election rather than President Nicolas Maduro, who did. The 
release of two US prisoners in March appears to be the beginning of 
thawing relations with Venezuela (The Hill, March 8). Though likely 
motivated by the idea of replacing boycotted Russian oil with Venezuelan 
oil, diplomacy is always better than sanctions and war. The US has also 
chosen to "pivot" its military attention to China and Russia rather than 
the mid-east, including sending warships through the strait of Taiwan and 
into the Black Sea, actions seen as provocative.

For people hoping that the US will learn to use nonviolent means to 
resolve conflicts, it was slightly encouraging to read a report from 
Airwars in December saying that airstrikes by the US are down 54% under 
President Biden, with bombings in Afghanistan down from 660 to 372 
(dropping off, of course, after the US withdrew its troops at the end of 
August) and in Iraq from 201 to 58.

While there are still remnants of the Islamic State there, the Iraqis now 
describe their work to contain the militant group as more of a law 
enforcement issue than a military effort (Yahoo News, January 26). Perhaps 
if the US had taken that approach after 9/11, the countries of Iraq, 
Afghanistan and Libya would not be in shambles. Iraq's official 
"coalition" military response to ISIS, which included the US, was declared 
over in December (Rudaw, December 29).

In terms of the Iraqis' recovery from 13 years of sanctions followed by 19 
years of war and occupation, they would have had more of their own money 
to rebuild if not for the United Nations making them pay reparations to 
Kuwait for the invasion. Iraq's water, sewage and electrical plants were 
destroyed by the US in both 1991 and 2003. The final payment on the $54 
billion paid to the Gulf Emirate was made in early February, about 31.5 
years later; the UN panel overseeing the reparations was disbanded (The 
New Arab, February 9).

As Russia prepared its invasion of Ukraine, the US made public statements 
there would be a "false flag" operation the Russians would use as 
justification. America lied about one of its warships coming under attack 
in the Gulf of Tonkin in  1964, used as an excuse to enter the war in Viet 
Nam. As part of the build-up to the "Gulf War" between August 1990 and 
January 1991, the US shared a false story about Iraqis dashing Kuwaiti 
babies in incubators to the ground. And then there was Secretary of State 
Colin Powell telling the United Nations in February 2003 that there were 
WMDs in Iraq to gain support for the US war. Essentially, the US pointing 
a finger at Russia revealed America's long-time playbook.

While America's economy continues to struggle in the wake of the pandemic, 
the military budget was increased by $25 billion over what was sought by 
President Biden, to the tune of $777 billion for this fiscal year (Al 
Jazeera, December 16). Over $10 billion was then added to that total to 
fund the Pentagon and Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion, in a 
package that had $22 billion in COVID relief cut from it (NBC, March 11).

In the UN General Assembly in early March, Iraq was one of 35 nations to 
abstain from condemning Russia, stating: "Iraq has decided to abstain 
because of our historical background in Iraq and because of our sufferings 
resulting from the continuing wars against our peoples." If the Russians' 
attack on Ukrainian civilian targets is prosecuted as a war crime, there 
are many Americans who also need to be brought up on charges for what the 
US did to Iraq. The Iraqis have not been free from US interference by war, 
sanctions and other means since August of 1990. The US must end its 
attempts to undermine Iraq's sovereignty once and for all.

This flyer was prepared 
in March, 2022 by the
Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group
PO Box 42456 
Portland, OR 97242
iraq at pjw.info 
(503) 236-3065 
Contact us about our meetings!
Meetings usually 2nd Tuesdays, 7 PM; next one is April 12.

March 18 event held as part of the weekly Friday Rally for Peace and 
Justice, ongoing since November, 2001.

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