This month will mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, which was known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. Australians also call it Operation Falconer. To that effect, last week this author had the honour and pleasure of being the guest speaker for the Returned & Services League (RSL) Washington, D.C. Sub Branch at the Embassy of Australia, whereupon the topic was the Australian Special Air Service’s (SAS) capture of Al Asad Airbase in April 2003.
In drafting a speech and revisiting the events of the time, it became appropriate to discuss whether the Iraq War was justified. This author’s personal feeling is a strong “Yes.”
Yes, Virginia, Iraq DID Have WMDs
It stirs up emotions when opponents of the Iraq War try to rewrite history on the spot by claiming that Saddam Hussein “NEVER” had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
Tell that to the Iranian soldiers, who were on the receiving end of Saddam’s chemical weapons attack during the Iran-Iraq War. Granted, Iran *is* our enemy and a terrorist state, and therefore rather difficult to feel pity for its government’s minions, but the fact remains that Iraq’s use of mustard gas during that was a flagrant violation of the Geneva Protocol, to which Iraq became a signatory back in 1931.
Revisionists may go on, but tell that to the Kurds.
To quote Nick Cohen, columnist for UK newspaper The Guardian – hardly a bastion of right-wing militarist propaganda – in an op-ed piece he wrote 10 years ago: “Every few months a member of the audience at a meeting I am addressing asks whether I regret supporting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein … If my interrogators’ protesting cries allow it, I then talk about Saddam’s terror state and the Ba’ath’s slaughter of the “impure” Kurdish minority, accomplished in true Hitlerian fashion with poison gas … As Bayan Rahman, the Kurdish ambassador to London, said to me: ‘Everyone wants to remember Fallujah and no one wants to remember Halabja.’”
That mustard gas attack caused the death of between 3,200 and 5,000 innocent Kurdish men, women, and children, and injured between 7,000 and 10,000. Again, tell the Kurds that Saddam’s Iraq didn’t have WMDs.
Thanks to the Iraq War, the Kurds are now free from Saddam and his murderous Ba’athists and have been building a better and more prosperous life for themselves.
Now revisionists may say that by 2003, Saddam had gotten rid of all of his WMDs. He never furnished proof that he’d gotten rid of them, and as Bill O’Reilly pointed out all those years ago, the onus wasn’t on the U.S. and its allies, to prove that Saddam had the weapons; the onus *was on Saddam* to prove he’d done away with them.
And if Saddam didn’t have the intent, opportunity, and capability of continuing to develop WMDs, then why did he have the likes of “Chemical Ali” Hassan al-Majid – the mastermind of that Halabja massacre – along with “Dr. Germ” Rihab Taha and “Mrs. Anthrax” Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash in his inner circle?
And then there was this nugget from PBS – again hardly a bastion of warmongering – back in 2014, titled “Uncovering secret chemical weapon victims of the Iraq war,” which revealed that a goodly number of American troops were injured after being exposed to chemical or nerve agents as a result of being tasked with destroying thousands of rockets and artillery shells left behind by Saddam Hussein’s regime. How was this possible if “Saddam had no WMDs.”
And if there were no WMDs left in Iraq, how did ISIS/ISIL/Da’esh seize a former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad back in July 2014, which contained 2,500 chemical rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin?
Iraq IS Now a Democracy AND an Ally
To be sure, Iraq is an imperfect democracy, rife with corruption and sectarian violence, but a representative democracy nonetheless, contrasted with the Ba’athist dictatorship of Saddam, wherein the country’s Shiite Muslim majority were treated as second-class citizens, not entirely unlike South African’s black majority populace was treated during the apartheid era.
As opposed to Ba’athist Iraq, which actually had *extensive* terrorist ties – another reality that runs contrary to the revisionists’ narrative – from the Islamic Jihad to the so-called “Martyrdom Project” of funding Palestinian homicide bombers in Israel to harboring the likes of Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas (mastermind of the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking of 1985 that resulted in the murder of wheelchair-bound U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer), post-Saddam Iraq is a firm ally in the fight against terrorism, as was underscored by SECDEF Lloyd Austin’s visit to Iraq last week.
Post-Saddam Iraq is also an important trading partner in the Middle East, a relationship that was bolstered last month when top Iraqi officials were in Washington for the regular dialogue of the Higher Coordinating Committee of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA). The SFA dates back to 2008, with this year’s dialogue focused heavily on economic cooperation.
Speaking about economic cooperation, Iraq as a whole remains a tragically impoverished nation-state. This fact is a shame, as the country should be every bit as rich and prosperous as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar. It’s easy for simple-minded folks to dismiss Iraq as simply a “Third World sh*thole” and a lost cause, but from having worked three contract assignments in Iraq – Al Asad Airbase in 2011, Camp Taji and Port of Umm Qasr 2012-2013, and Balad Airbase 2015-2018 – I can personally vouch that the country is full of bright, motivated, and entrepreneurial-minded men and women who demonstrate the country’s true untapped potential.
Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force Security Forces officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon). Chris holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC) and an M.A. in Intelligence Studies (concentration in Terrorism Studies) from American Military University (AMU). He has also been published in The Daily Torch and The Journal of Intelligence and Cyber Security. Last but not least, he is a Companion of the Order of the Naval Order of the United States (NOUS).
March 13, 2023 at 5:06 pm
NO, that war which was supported by Joe Biden, was never justified, unless you are Lucifer’s disciple a description which probably now fits uncle Sam.
That war was planned the moment bush junior plunked his backside down behind the desk in the oval office desk.
That pretty much explained why the April 1 2001 Hainan brouhaha turned into a no-show.
The immediate target dancing in front of his eyes was Iraq.
The accusations that Iraq was in cahoots with al-qaeda, was involved in yellow cake wheelin-dealin’ and building WMDs to whack his neighbors were lies straight from the demon’s mouth.
But Joe Biden believed in all of them.
Even if they were true, it was wrong for US and Uk and Poland and Australia to invade Iraq.
They could have just smashed the Saddam palace to smithereens and spared the Iraqi people. Job done.
But the Iraq war started a treadmill for the DoD & CIA to initiate and run all kinds of wars, from drone wars to murderous raids targeting civilians.
The work of the ODA or operational detachment alpha that operated as the A-Team in Afghanistan chiefly targeted women and children.
Then the prisons called black jails that existed aboard ships parked in international waters. Exactly gestapo and kempetai stuff.
The war was wrong and totally unjustified. But uncle Sam is a foremost disciple of Lucifer and thus anything done by Washington this side of heaven (hell ?) is always justified.
March 13, 2023 at 5:27 pm
ridiculous … usa sent a nuclear bomb on japan so what ? usa used napalm on vietnamese people , so what ? usa armed al qaeda against russians so what ? usa armed isis against lybians, so what ? usa armed isis and al qaeda against syrian forces, so what ? …in what iraq was more a terrorist state than the usa?
from Russia with love
March 14, 2023 at 4:00 am
Iran-Iraq War? this is when the United States, France and many other countries supplied weapons to Iraq for the war against Iran? and this chemical weapon that Iraq used against Iran, is it Iraqi-made? or was it delivered to Iraq by the USA? everyone knows how the United States loves to play around with chemical weapons. for example, in World War II, the bombing of Bari and the American ship John Harvey with mustard gas. even Hitler did not use chemical weapons, but the Americans tried. Agent Orange in Vietnam. many examples.
But what is the author trying to tell us here? that allegedly someone claims that Iraq NEVER had chemical weapons. who is this “someone”? did the author invent it when he wrote his nonsense? the whole article is a sheer tangle of manipulations and distortions of facts. At the time of the beginning of the US aggression against Iraq, there was no evidence that Iraq had chemical weapons, and after the occupation, no chemical weapons were found on the territory of Iraq. Powell lied to the world community by brandishing his can of cocaine.
the arguments about protecting the Kurds look especially nice. Christian Orr, can you still support the massive rocket attacks on the United States to return America to the indigenous population – the Indians? this is their land, and you are a descendant of the colonists directly involved in the Indian genocide. 😉