The following is a comment that I left on someone's blog, in response to a post that I read this morning. I think that it's important to encourage debate and conversation on such issues. I'm always receptive to corrections, contradictions and collaborations, so anyone that reads this should feel free to comment.
I must concur with minispace on this issue. The war in Iraq was not a war of liberation. There are three significant pieces of evidence in favour of this:
1) The initial reasoning for an invasion was made upon a purely military basis (eg. the phoney assertion that Iraq was a fundamentalist, terrorist state, with the ability and or will to procure and use WMDs). When anti-war protests hit full strength the pro-war emphasis was subtly changed, in terms of governmental rhetoric, to one of 'liberating the poor people of Iraq.'
2) There are other countries requiring far more support in terms of liberation - countries that are yet to receive so much as a 'how do you do' from the US - nations like Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran. Strangely (although not really strangely!) no 'war of liberation' has occurred in these countries despite the fact, particularly in the case of Zimbabwe (and excluding Iran), liberation would be far more welcome and, indeed, easier to effect. The reason for not invading other countries in need is, of course, because they provide no gain: strategic or otherwise.
3) The people of Iraq are now no more liberated post Saddam than they were during that evil dictators reign. Basic amenities have dropped below what they were during the Saddam era, and the new draft constitution allows for the possibility of fundamentalist law to creep in to the mainstay. What this means is that what was once a (admittedly tyrannical) secular state will soon be held under the thrall of Sharia law: not a very liberating law for women or dissenters alike.
I think it is also a misnomer to suggest that Iraq should be held to account for its crimes against humanity while in the same breath excusing the US for putting the weapons in its hands, weapons which have allowed it to perpetrate such crimes. The US can't sit in judgement of Iraq, and proclaim itself the 'policeman' of WMDs, when, in fact, the US is the only country in the world to have used, not one but two, such weapons capable of destruction on a national scale (I do, however, realize that is an argument for another occasion).
It is also incorrect to assert that intelligence organizations around the world had a belief that Iraq possessed WMDs. Since the invasion many members of the US intelligence community have come forward to state that such evidence was at best stretched and, at worst completely fabricated in order to make a case for an invasion. Such 'whistle blowers' have been summarily persecuted by the Bush administration: I'll point you towards the outing of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame as one such example of this phenomenon.
Linking 9/11 and Iraq in the same breath automatically places suspicion on Iraq for having had terrorist links, even if you state that you don't link the two. It is a proven fact that none of the terrorists that attacked America on that fateful day were of Iraqi national extraction. It is also proven that Iraq - a secular regime - had no links to the funding, organization or support of the operation. In fact, it is well known that Saddam had a strong dislike for Fundamentalist Islamics, as they posed a very real threat to his dominance of the region. Saddam had funded terrorists in his local region, an act that is/was not exclusive to Iraq; nor for that matter something that the US hasn't dabbled in over the years. So to say that Saddam's support of terrorists (support which was, in fact, on a very local, micro level), should make them a terrorist state is tantamount to implying the rest of the world should ready an invasion of America. Sadam did, also, initiate the attempt on Bush Snr's life, but, however, this is once again not an unusual phenomenon. It was with amusement recently that I observed Pat Robertson call for the assassination of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez; a statement from which the Republican regime has attempted to distance itself. Unfortunately, the Republican party obtains much of its vote by riding on> the coattails of such lunatics and, as such, must be seen to share views somewhat analogous to this.
"The US soldiers are doing the most honourable job imaginable and volunteering with their lives." This statement, to me, neglects the mention of the unspeakable atrocities that were committed at Abu Grade. It also omits mention of the various 'collateral damage' incidents that have occurred since the war's beginning.
So, if not for reasons of liberation, why do I think that the Iraq war occurred? I think that the nepotistic allotment of government contracts definitely was an element - most of the contracts for rebuilding the country have gone to companies that are now run by ex-Republican party members or friends of the Bush elite - however this was only a tasty incentive for the US invasion. The reason that I think the US invaded Iraq was that in the light of its failure to capture the real culprit in all this (O.B.L) it required an easily obtainable and symbolic target in retribution for the 9/11 attacks. That is why so much evidence was provided (evidence which was later disproved) in regard to Saddam's links to Al Qaeda. I think that Iraq serves as an ideological carrot dangling before the Bush administration's gaping maw; a strategic landmark upon which it wishes to set about bringing democracy and - yes - those good old fashioned Christian ideals which it holds so dear.
In closing, I'd like to say that the war in Iraq is a hotly contested issue (as any war should be), and one that can raise the extremes of emotion. Sam, I'm not angry at you for your opinions, beliefs and arguments. I quite enjoy reading your blog, and I find it refreshing to balance out my beliefs with those of someone in opposition, for, indeed, the only way to obtain even a fibre from the fabric of that mystical garment named 'truth' is to listen to - and, yes, accept - the arguments of those with divergent opinions. I think that the only real test of who is right and who is wrong (not that 'right' and 'wrong' are readily quantifiable states) in all this will be the test of history. I think that when America pulls out of Iraq - probably leaving it in the grip of civil war - we will be better able to determine if the people of that shattered country benefited from all of this.