20 years after the invasion of Iraq: serious reappraisal is overdue

20 years after the invasion of Iraq: serious reappraisal is overdue

Hardly anyone questions that the war against Iraq was a mistake. And yet no one has been held accountable to this day.

US military toppled a memorial to Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, 2003

A monument to Saddam Hussein is torn down in Baghdad in April 2003 Photo: Jerome Delay/ap

The US-led invasion of Iraq was preceded by a web of lies. The war claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 5,000 Americans. He made millions of refugees and led the entire region into instability. The war split the United Nations, bred terrorist organizations, and turned the country that started the war, the US, into a bundle of nerves, armed to the teeth and watched by hundreds of thousands of domestic snoopers.

Twenty years later, the broad consensus in Washington parlance is that the war against Iraq was a “mistake”. And yet, to date, not a single military or political figure responsible for war crimes has ever been convicted in the United States: neither for murdering civilians, nor for torturing them, or for preparing propaganda about alleged weapons of mass destruction or Saddam Hussein’s connection to al-Qaeda.

The trillions of dollars that the war in Iraq cost could have made the US a better place. A fraction of that would have been enough to alleviate poverty in the United States, universal health care and promote the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energies. Few benefited greatly from the war.

First and foremost are the armaments companies Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, to which the majority of the Pentagon’s orders have gone, as well as the mineral oil companies, which are handling growing parts of the global oil business in the USA. Almost 20 years to the day after the invasion of Iraq, when the USA was the aggressor, Joe Biden presented the largest armaments budget in US history: resistance to this is not to be expected from the USA. The armaments industry has won.

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