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
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Honduras Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sandes Must Demand Answers
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Gilbert Mercier
Donald Trump: Caligula of the Lowest Common Denominator Empire?
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Robert Dodge
On President Obama’s Hiroshima Visit
Andrew Moss
Bridge to Wellbeing?
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
May 26, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Stage of Capitalism: Germany’s Assault on the IMF
Pepe Escobar
Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability
Sam Pizzigati
America’s Cosmic Tax Gap
Ramzy Baroud
Time to End the ‘Hasbara’: Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story
José L. Flores
Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
Patrick Cockburn
The Battle of Fallujah: ISIS Unleashes Its Death Squads
John Feffer
The Coming Drone Blowback
Alex Ray
The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail