March 19 marks the 20th anniversary of the brutal, unprovoked, illegal invasion of Iraq by the armies of the US, Britain and some other countries, led by the US.
The armies of the imperialists carpet bombed Baghdad and other cities. There were 29,200 airstrikes by the forces of US and Britain in 2003 alone. Their armed forces rained missiles on the Iraqi people and unleashed death and destruction on an unparalleled scale.
The Anglo American imperialists concocted a big lie to justify the invasion of Iraq. They declared that they had evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction such as biological weapons and that it was preparing to build nuclear bombs.
The “intelligence report” presented to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, by the then US secretary of state Colin Powell to justify the invasion of Iraq, was a fake. It drew on a report published by the British government on January 30, 2003. The British government’s report entitled “Iraq Its Infrastructure Of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation”, accusing Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction, was found to have been created by cutting and pasting from three articles on the internet, by three different authors, and adding more spice to it. To a large part, it was found to have been copied verbatim – including spelling and grammatical errors – from an American graduate’s postdoctoral thesis submitted 12 years earlier. All this was exposed in the British media, on February 6, 2003, more than a month before the war was launched.
The US and British governments lied before the UN Security Council. They lied to the people of their countries. To whip up war hysteria against Iraq, the US Secretary of State went to the extent of stating at the UN that the Iraqi government had “the capability to develop small pox and spread it”. This claim too was proven to be false.
By May 2003, the head of the CIA admitted that documents — claiming to show that Iraq was trying to import Uranium from Niger in West Africa — were forged. US President George Bush had earlier brandished these forged documents to prove that Iraq was building nuclear weapons. Lies were also spread about the Iraqi government’s “close links” with the terrorist organization Al Qaida.
A memo from the British Prime Minister’s office, and subsequently leaked to the media, has pointed out that the US and British governments were agreed on invading Iraq in July 2002 itself. The memo pointed to the need to manufacture enough justification for the invasion to their own citizens and to the world’s peoples.
The US launched the war against Iraq even though both the US and British governments were well aware that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.
US imperialism’s aim in launching the war against Iraq
The war against Iraq was an integral part of the plan of US imperialism to ensure its domination over the whole world in the 21st century.
The launching by US imperialism of the “war against terrorism”, using the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York as a justification, its declaration that all states must either side with US imperialism in this “war against terrorism” or be considered as supporters of terrorism, and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, were all part of this strategy.
The imperialists raised Islamophobia to a fever pitch. Their aim was to subjugate the Arab and Muslim peoples of West Asia, North Africa, and other regions and take over the massive oil wealth of the peoples. Along with the invasion of Afghanistan, US imperialism carefully prepared the invasion of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and some other countries.
Iraq was rich in oil. The US imperialists wanted to get control of Iraqi oil, in order to deprive their rivals of oil. At that time, Iraq was supplying oil to the European Union (EU). President Saddam Hussein of Iraq was negotiating with the EU to carry out the oil trade in the new currency Euro. The US feared that this would lead to the strengthening of the EU as well as the Euro. It could result in many more countries starting to trade in the Euro, thereby weakening the position of the US and the US Dollar. The US imperialists together with their British allies attacked and destroyed Iraq to nip this possibility in the bud.
The crimes committed by US imperialism against the Iraqi people can never be forgotten or forgiven
The people of the world can never forget that in the face of the most ferocious enemy known to humankind, the people of Iraq fought courageously, defending their motherland. In US, Britain, and other countries of the world, millions of people poured out onto the streets to protest against the unjust war launched by the US and Britain against the Iraqi people.
The imperialists used chemical weapons, such as white phosphorous, depleted uranium and a new kind of napalm, all of which greatly increased birth defects, cancer rates and infant mortality rates. They deliberately polluted the rivers. They destroyed sewage treatment plants, hospitals, bridges and electricity supply installations. They looted the museums of Iraq which were home to priceless books and artifacts of an ancient civilization.
An estimated 2.5 million men, women and children lost their lives as a result of the war unleashed by the US imperialists. Over 4 million people suffered grievous injuries. Over 7 million people were turned into refugees. 1 million people went missing. Three million women were turned into widows and five million children were orphaned.
The invasion and destruction of Iraq was a war crime of unparalleled magnitude. It was a planned genocide of a population, similar to what was done by the Nazis during World War 2. The Anglo American imperialists set up torture chambers like Abu Ghraib, where Iraqi patriots were murdered after being subjected to bestial torture.
The principle of Command Responsibility implies that US President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and other top civilian and military leaders of these two countries must be punished for war crimes. However, till today, none of them have been charged with a single crime under international law, or in institutions such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) which are under the thumb of the imperialists.
The invasion and destruction of Iraq was followed by the invasion and destruction of Libya and Syria. The US has been threatening the sovereignty of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea, and all those countries, which are refusing to bow to its dictate. Its armed forces maintain a significant presence in all continents and all the seas and oceans. It spends more on armed forces then the next 8 countries combined.
US imperialism acts as the policeman of the world, claiming to defend a “rules-based order”, whereas US imperialism is the biggest unilateral violator of all international norms and conventions governing relations among countries. At the present time, it has unleashed a terrible war in Ukraine, which is aimed at encircling and weakening Russia, weakening the European Union, destroying Ukraine, and strengthening the domination of Europe by the US.
The US is the most ferocious enemy of the sovereignty of countries and of world peace. The path it is pursuing can result in embroiling the peoples of the whole world in a new world war, many times more devastating than the previous ones. The defence of the sovereignty of countries and of world peace requires that people in every country unite to stay the hands of US imperialism.