FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Iraq One Year Later

by Rep. RON PAUL

The Iraq war began about one year ago with the swift and decisive overthrow of Baghdad and the Hussein regime. We are only beginning to understand, however, the true scope of our ongoing occupation of a nation rife with civil, ethnic, and tribal conflict. July stands as the deadline for our provisional government to relinquish control to an emerging Iraqi government, but we are kidding ourselves about just how long American forces will need to remain involved.

More than 580 Americans have died in Iraq; roughly 10,000 have been wounded. American taxpayers have spent hundreds of billions of dollars. We must not be afraid to face these facts and understand the terrible cost of war.

Were these sacrifices worth it? To answer that question, we have to look at the justifications given for our invasion of Iraq.

One justification was that Saddam Hussein ignored United Nations Security Council resolutions. Whether this was true or not was none of our concern. America should never act at the behest of the UN or help enforce its illegitimate edicts. America should never commit troops to any UN action. We should not even be a member of the UN, but rather should ignore it completely. Membership in the UN is incompatible with our Constitution and national sovereignty. It was nonsensical for conservatives suddenly to cite Iraq’s purported lack of cooperation with the UN as justification for war.

The second justification for invading Iraq was that Mr. Hussein posed a threat to the United States. This was not true. Hussein had only a small army, and virtually no navy or air force. He had no long-range weapons and no ability to strike the US 6,000 miles away. He was not working with bin Laden or al Qaeda terrorists. He was a despicable tyrant at home, but the liberation of Iraq from his clutches was given as a new justification only after the American public had absorbed overwhelming evidence that he posed no threat to us.

Is America better off as a result of our war in Iraq? The young men and women who were hurt or killed certainly are no better off. Their families are no better off. Taxpayers are no better off. Whether we are safer from terrorism here at home is an open question. We all hope and pray nothing happens. But even our own intelligence forces cautioned that an invasion and occupation of Muslim Iraq could breed resentment among sympathetic Muslims and serve as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda. As commentator Lew Rockwell states, “It is not caving in to the bees to stop poking a stick into their hive.”

Are the Iraqis better off? Saddam is gone, along with his murderous cohorts, and that certainly presents a positive opportunity for the Iraqi people. But we cannot be sure that the Hussein regime will be replaced by something better. Iraq is still very unstable and divided between Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd factions. Civil war could ensue upon the departure of American troops.

Even if we assume that anything will be an improvement over the Hussein regime, the fundamental question remains: Why should young Americans be hurt or killed to liberate foreign nations? I have never heard a convincing answer to this question. If we sacrifice 500 lives to liberate Iraq, should we sacrifice five million American lives to liberate the people of North Korea, Taiwan, Tibet, China, Cuba, and countless African nations? Should we invade every country that has an oppressive government? Are nation-building and empire part of our national credo? Those who answer yes to these questions should have the integrity to admit that our founders urged the opposite approach, namely a foreign policy rooted in staying out of the affairs of other nations.

Ron Paul is a Republican from Texas.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
Charles R. Larson
A Review of Mary Roach’s “Grunt”
David Yearsley
Stuck in Houston on the Cusp of the Apocalypse
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail