This counterinsurgency sequel to occupation would not be decided on the kind of battlefield where arrayed military capabilities confront one another, but rather through a war of attrition waged by hit and run domestic Iraqi forces, abetted by foreign volunteers, opposed to the tactics of Washington.
Such a war has a shadowy beginning and a still uncertain ending, and is often, as in Iraq, as it proved to be earlier in Vietnam, a quagmire for intervening powers. Inside Story Americas - Are there any winners of the Iraq war? There are increasing reasons to believe that the current Iraqi leader, Maliki, resembles the authoritarian style of Saddam Hussein more than the supposed constitutional liberal regime that the US pretends to leave behind, and that the country is headed for continuing struggle, possibly even a disastrous civil war.
The Iraq War was a war of aggression from its inception, being an unprovoked use of armed force against a sovereign state in a situation other than self-defence.
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The Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals convened after World War II had declared such aggressive warfare to be a "crime against peace" and prosecuted and punished surviving political and military leaders of Germany and Japan as war criminals. We can ask why have George W Bush and Tony Blair not been investigated, indicted and prosecuted for their roles in planning and prosecuting the Iraq War. As folk singer Bob Dylan instructed us long ago, the answer is "blowin' in the wind", or in more straightforward language, the reasons for such impunity conferred upon the American and British leaders is a crude display of geopolitics - their countries were not defeated and occupied, their governments never surrendered, and such strategic failures or successes are exempted from legal scrutiny.
These are the double standards that make international criminal justice more a matter of power politics than global justice. There is also the question of complicity of countries that supported the war with troop deployments, such as Japan, which dispatched 1, members of its self-defence units to Iraq in July to help with non-combat dimensions of the occupation. Such a role is a clear breach of international law and morality. It is also inconsistent with Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
Should such a record of involvement have any adverse consequences? It would seem that Japan might at least review the appropriateness of its complicit participation in a war of aggression, and how that diminishes the credibility of any Japanese claim to uphold the responsibilities of membership in the UN. At least, it provides the people of Japan with a moment for national soul-searching to think about what kind of world order will in the future best achieve peace, stability and human dignity. Are there lessons to be drawn from the Iraq War?
I believe there are. The overwhelming lesson is that in this historical period interventions by the West in the non-West, especially when not authorised by the UN Security Council, can rarely succeed in attaining their stated goals.
More broadly, counterinsurgency warfare involving a core encounter between Western invading and occupying forces and a national resistance movement will not be decided on the basis of hard power military superiority. But rather by the dynamics of self-determination associated with the party that has the more credible nationalist credentials, which include the will to persist in the struggle for as long as it takes, and the capacity to capture the high moral ground in the ongoing struggle for domestic and international public support.
It is only when we witness the dismantling of many of America's plus acknowledged foreign military bases spread around the world, and see the end of repeated US military intervention globally, that we can have some hope that the correct lessons of the Iraq War are finally being learned.
Until then, there will be further attempts by the US government to correct the tactical mistakes that it claims explain past failures in Iraq and Afghanistan , and new interventions will undoubtedly be proposed in coming years, most probably leading to costly new failures, and further controversies as to "why?
Andre Gunder Frank
American leaders will remain unlikely to acknowledge that the most basic mistake is militarism itself, at least until challenged by robust anti-militarist political forces not currently on the political scene. Explore how your country voted on global issues since , as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.
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Have your say. Give us feedback. Sign up for our Newsletter. US pullback from northern Syria: Key questions answered. Discovery of 20 new moons puts Saturn ahead of Jupiter. Iran arrests Instagram celebrity for 'blasphemy': Report. Iraq experienced years of turmoil under Saddam Hussein resulting in economic mismanagement, a war with Iran and UN-imposed sanctions. After four years of US occupation, Iraq suffers from extreme unemployment and poverty, with over 4 million internally and externally displaced refugees. The country's infrastructure is in ruins and US reconstruction plans have been mired in fraud, mismanagement and incompetence.
Commentators expect the country to suffer from the effects the war for years to come. However, the withdrawing of troops, including replacement of equipment and assets from the bases, and the medical treatment and disability claims of US veterans, will increase the cost of the war. Christian Science Monitor. The US has promised to withdraw troops and contractor personnel from Iraq by the end of the year, as required by a security agreement between Washington and Baghdad.
Lessons to be learnt from the Iraq War
However, the number of State Department-hired private security personnel and personnel from the Deparment of Defense DoD that will remain is unclear. The DoD is facing the complicated task of withdrawing troops, contractors, equipments and other assets from the bases, while at the same preventing attacks and looting of US government assets.
According to a Government Accountability Office report, the DoD and State Department are not equiped to deal with this situation and a third of the army equipment could be lost. The UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in weakened the Iraqi educational system. However, under the US occupation, that system has drastically deteriorated.
Students in Iraq's schooling system, once known as the best in the Middle East, are failing in their studies because of harsh conditions caused by the invasion. This Inter Press Service article argues that many students, whose fathers are either dead or detained, are abandoning their studies to become their families' bread winners.
Furthermore, other students cannot even attend school due to a lack of security.
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Many Iraqis see the bilateral treaty as a way to prolong the US occupation indefinitely and fear the government will approve the contract in return for marginal concessions. Iraq's financial reserves remain in the US Federal Reserve Bank as a consequence of the international sanctions against Saddam Hussein in the s.
The costs of the war to have so far exceeded the administration's original estimates ten fold. With no move toward immediate withdrawal- the cost of the Iraq war will continue for decades to come. According to an unpublished US military poll on the quality of life in Iraq, Iraqis are unsatisfied with the provision of basic services, particularly water, gas, electricity and sanitation systems. The poll suggests that overall the conditions are worsening with some areas of Iraq receiving only 11 hours of electricity per day.
Peace and Development in Post-War Iraq | Middle East Policy Council
The bill prevents the White House from using funds to construct permanent bases in Iraq or assert US control over Iraq's oil. However, commentators say President Bush will veto the bill. Congressional Democrats claim that the bill responds to the concerns of US citizens about the length and the costs of the war. Washington Post.
In this AlterNet article, Nancy Scola argues that Iraqi farmers face a similar predicament to that experienced by Indian farmers who are committing suicide under the strain of debt and failed crops after buying seeds from US agro-giant Monsanto. The author warns that traditional farming methods will be lost with the introduction of large agribusiness into the country. Meanwhile, more and more US corporations "are cashing in" on lucrative military contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan each quarter. These gains accrue directly to the companies and not the US military, and therefore do not offset any of the expanding costs of the war.
Inter Press Service. Following the US-led attack against Iraq, L.
Iraq had suffered years of turmoil as a result of economic mismanagement under Saddam Hussein, a war with Iran and the ensuing UN-imposed sanctions. But this corporate invasion aggravated Iraqi citizens' daily struggle to make ends meet, while enriching the war profiteers. This article describes the quagmire in Iraq as "an extreme example of the violence that underpins the wider project of neoliberalism.
This Los Angeles Times article states that if the US involvement in Iraq continues at the current scale, funding for that conflict and the overall "war on terror" will, by , exceed the cost of the Vietnam War. Although the US occupation in Iraq has not lasted as long as the Vietnam War, the price tag is approaching a record high and the spending is taking place much faster than in the past.
Yet the latest payment will not go to war victims, but to large US-owned corporations operating in Kuwait to compensate them for "lost profits" and a "decline in business. This Independent piece points out that, despite Hussein's absence from power, the Iraqi people continue to pay for the crimes of their former dictator.