There has been great controversy involved with the Iraq war. This article shall analyze the negative sides of the Iraq war and its detrimental consequences to US, its allies, people of Iraq and the rest of the world. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that destroyed Twin Towers, part of the Pentagon and caused death of over 3000 people was the principal initiating cause of the Iraq war.
The attack was seen as attack of a medieval and sectarian ideology of terror on the principles of democracy, justice, liberty, freedom humanity and equality that the Twin Towers and ultimately USA represent. Faced with the challenge of safeguarding these ideals as well as necessity of safeguarding its own national security concerns, USA started waged a war to destroy the axis of terrorism and hatred. In this effort Iraq became the second frontier after liberation of Afghanistan in the campaign to root out axis of terror and evil, restore humanitarian values and justice world over (Teson, 2005).
The course of war over last four years
United States formally declared war on Saddam Hussein’s regime on 20th March, 2003 and within three weeks, on 9th April 2003, the unprecedented strength and force of coalition armies was successful in ending a tyrannical rule that was holding soul and spirit of Iraq in capture over several decades (Aday, Cluverius, Livingston, 2005). However, the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime did not bring end of the war, or the continued presence of allied forces in Iraq. This in itself was the strongest proof that US’s concern in the war ran much beyond merely overthrowing the incumbent tyrannical rule, and that it was fully committed to democracy and peace in Iraq.
This commitment to democratic ideals has cost US much more than its first objective of ending former Iraqi government. While it lost only 139 soldiers before the President of United States declared an official end of combat in may 2003, the number of casualties since then has crossed over 3000, and going up even today (Aday, Cluverius, Livingston, 2005, Iraq Coalition Casualties, 2007). Most of these deaths have been due to suicide attacks and rebel attacks by loyalists of the former dictators. Many other have been engineered by al-Queda terror cells in Iraq, that have claimed military along with high number of civilian lives on almost routine basis, creating difficulties in Iraq’s transition to democracy.
Consequences of Iraq war
Whether seen from economic, ethical, and political point of view or from perspective of human sufferings and causality, Iraq war has spawned a web of troubles and problems that have continued to take their toll on every one involved with the campaign. The economic costs of Iraq war are huge and involve not just the direct expenditure on US military campaign, but also the cost of war on Iraqi economy, cost of rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure and impact on oil market (Nordhaus, 2002, 55).
The initial estimates of cost of Iraq war were projected anywhere from US $ 100 million to US $ 100 billion, although even that was considered an overestimation (Bilmes and Stiglitz, 2006). Very soon the initial estimates were proved wrong and plans for budgetary allocations showed that even congress was estimating the cost of war to be in excess of $ 500 billion. But even this cost was an under projection of the final cost which, in the final analysis of events, shoots upward a staggering $1.3 trillion (Yglesias, 2006).
This includes the cost of insurance, medical help, and disability payment made out to soldiers injured or killed in the Iraq campaign. With government’s valuation of a male in prime age at $ 6 million, as determined by environmental and safety regulations, the total cost from casualties alone goes to $ 12 billion (Bilmes and Stiglitz, 2006).
Another critical economic cost suffered emanates from diminished American reputation and prestige in Middle Eastern countries and countries hostile to the concept of Iraq war. In these countries American products have lost favor, and American companies no more the first choice to do business with (ibid). As the war has resulted in increase in oil prices, it also threatens to result in increasing prices of various commodities and severely affecting transportation sector, especially the aviation sector where many companies are facing bankruptcy prospects (Bilmes and Stiglitz, 2006).
Many analysts have also stated that the money spent in Iraq war might had been better used in strengthening the education and health care system of USA and thus the country has been robbed of benefits worth billion of dollars due to diverted and improvident expenditure on Iraq war (Wilson, 2006) Another negative consequence of Iraq war is the number of casualties and lives lost during the course of the war. Since the beginning of war US military has suffered 3190 deaths whereas 23758 soldiers have been wounded so far (Griffs, 2007).
It is important to see that these deaths and casualties are not merely figures and statistics. They represent bright, ambitious and young sons, capable to achieve much in their life, and contribute to the US future in a much better way than to be killed or maimed permanently by a roadside bomb, or an ambush (Grigg, 2006). There are thousands of soldiers who, despite escaping death, have been crippled and suffered permanent loss of their limbs, vision, and disfiguration. These losses to life and health cannot be measured in terms of economic costs and they amount to a life time of agony and pain to survivors and their relatives.
The war has also resulted in death of around 60,000 civilian deaths in Iraq (Casualties in Iraq war, 2007). Thousands of Men, women, and children have been killed by suicide attacks, burnt to death in their own home, entire families have been wiped away and thousands of families in Iraq have lost their sole bread earner (Savoy, 2004). Today they are faced with a grim prospect of uncertain and hard life staring at them.
Iraq war has also a deep moral underside. US initiated the war with claims that Iraq possessed large consignments of weapons of mass destruction and with allegations that Iraq had links with al Queda as well was somewhere responsible in September 11. 2001 events (Pfiffner, 2004). However, as it turned out, these reports were completely fictitious and created just in order to give credence to the US case against Iraq (Enemark and Michalesen, 2005).
No amount of manipulation of facts and findings could produce any substance to the allegations against Iraq. As a matter of fact, on September 18th, 2003 President Bush surprised many when he admitted that there was no evidence of Iraq’s connection with World Trade Center attacks (Pfiffner, 2004). Even the war in Iraq was no more projected as a war against terror network, but as a war to liberate Iraqi people from tyranny of Saddam Hussein- a claim that was hitherto absent in pre war arguments and preparations. These switching of statements greatly damaged US credibility and soured its relations with many important countries such as Germany and France.
The road ahead
Although the USA and coalition countries’ military objective of Iraq war were completed with dethroning, capture and finally execution of Saddam Hussein, their continued presence have not served either the interests of Iraqi population or the interests of coalition military personnel. As the most satisfying argument, it can be stated that Iraq has successfully removed its former tyrannical ruler, and with elections it has achieved at least semblance of a democratic order, its complete transition to democracy is yet incomplete due to intense internal conflicts and complexities. However, the US has suffered a great and completely unnecessary ordeal through this entire episode that may potentially affect its strategic and economic leverage and its worldwide reputation.
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