Looking Back on the Iraq War – Honoring the Iraqi Army Day


Having been a participant in many wars throughout history, Iraq set January 6th as an army day, one of the important Iraqi holidays. One of the most influential wars involving Iraq is the Iraq war. The conflict ignited when the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003. The European and the Middle Eastern public was vigorously against the war. Many in the Middle East saw the war as a new brand of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic imperialism, and most Arab leaders decried the occupation of a fellow Arab country by foreign troops.

The cost of the war was catastrophic; in addition to 190,000 recorded deaths, approximately 130,000 civilian deaths are undercounted because the Iraqi Ministry of Health and morgues have been told not to release all the war’s dead. The officially announced rationale of the Iraq war pointed towards Saddam Hussein’s possession of Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD), the threat Hussein posed to the Middle East, Iraq’s link to al Qaeda, Hussein’s harsh treatment of the Iraqi people, and Iraq’s lack of democracy. In addition to the ‘moral’ rationale of the Iraq war, the US mentioned that in a post-9/11 world uncertainty about WMD is not an option as they were trying to prevent any further mass terror attacks against themselves. However, scholars and political scientists state that there are several underlying reasons besides those officially announced by the US through the rationale.

Many argue that resources were the fundamental cause of the war. Before the outbreak of the conflict, the US government commanded a special military task force to protect oil fields once the invasion commenced. When missiles and bombs demolished Baghdad’s infrastructure, museums, and treasures, the US military solely safeguarded the Oil Ministry building. Though US governors were indifferent about the heritage loss their attack would bring, they had meticulous plans to protect the oil resources. Perito, the special advisor to the Rule of Law program at the United States Institute of Peace, mentions that “I think the lesson that the Iraqis drew from that is, what was the United States’ real goal here? Was it to get our oil? It wasn’t to protect the national Museum … It wasn’t to protect the National library … It wasn’t to protect the hospitals which were looted, et cetera, et cetera. It was to protect the petroleum ministry.”

The important question concerning this war is why did the US make the drastic decision of invading Iraq? To gain control over the country’s oil resources? The US sought an opportunity to disempower Hussein, who constantly abused his absolute political authority. The US already acknowledged that it was impossible to remove Hussein through internal opposition. Instead, they chose to deprive Hussein of oil revenues, which functioned as the monetary resource that helped him maintain his political status internationally. George Bush, the vice-president of the US back then, foresaw the potential threat that Iraq could pose on the US economy if Hussein intentionally fluctuated the oil prices.

Another factor that ignited the Iraq war was the US’s objective to protect its dollar value. Though the US took advantage of its privileged currency position for a long time, the dollar could be replaced by other international currencies such as the euro. Iraq complained about the US overusing their authority over currency. In 1999, Iraq mooted pricing its oil in euros, and in late 2000 Hussein made the currency switch for Iraqi oil. Iraq’s supportive response to the euro drove Bush to consider Iraq as the axis of evil, taking away the US’s international economic power. If other Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had also applied Hussein’s decision, this could have severely threatened the US economy.

The US’s rationale explaining why they had to invade Iraq already discords with humanity. In fact, the actual cause of the war was based on the nationalism of the US, which makes the Iraq war even more unjustifiable; the war resulted in numerous sacrifices just for the US’s gain. The scarcity of oil assigned such significance to the resource itself, which caused the US to struggle to have more control over it and possess it. The Iraq war was the only way to gain the authority that petroleum gave to its proprietor.