That “Shock & Awe” Was So Wrong …
By SHAKEEL SYED
Two decades old US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 proved to be one of the most profoundly wrong foreign policy decisions in modern times, and the subsequent war was marked by a high level of violence, instability, and human rights abuses. Reports of US brutality in Iraq have been well-documented and have raised serious concerns about the conduct of US forces in the country, yet no one is held accountable as of today.
The invasion on Iraq was based on the manufactured evidence about Saddam Husain’s weapons of mass destruction and that he was an imminent threat to global security. However, the evidence for this claim was totally manufactured, and the decision to invade Iraq was based on made up intelligence.
The consequences of the war were catastrophic. It led to the deaths of a million Iraqis and nearly 4,500 US soldiers. The country was destabilized, and sectarian tensions were exacerbated, leading to years of violence and turmoil. The cost of the war was astronomical, with estimates ranging from $2.4 trillion to $6 trillion, making it one of the most expensive wars in history.
One of the most egregious examples of US brutality in Iraq was the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. In 2004, images of US soldiers physically and sexually abusing prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison were leaked to the media, sparking international outrage. The scandal revealed a culture of abuse and impunity within the US military and raised serious questions about the very idea of justice.
In addition to the Abu Ghraib scandal, there have been numerous reports of US forces using excessive force and committing war crimes during the Iraq War. For example, the US military was accused of using white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, in civilian areas, causing severe burns and respiratory problems. There were also reports of US forces targeting and killing unarmed civilians, including women and children.
US military’s use of drones in Iraq has also been criticized for causing civilian deaths and injuries. Drone strikes have been responsible for numerous civilian casualties, including women and children, and have led to calls for greater transparency and accountability for the use of this technology.
US military has also been accused of using torture and other forms of mistreatment against detainees. The US government has acknowledged that it used “enhanced interrogation techniques” on prisoners, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and stress positions. These techniques are widely considered to be forms of torture, and their use has been criticized by human rights organizations and the international community.
Despite of learning from the past, our nation continues to saber rattle across all continents while millions of people in our country live paycheck to paycheck and tens of thousands live on our streets. Our nation’s priorities can be best understood looking at our military budget, accounting for approximately one-third of global military spending.
Two decades old US led Iraq invasion anniversary invites us all torepent, repatriate (Iraqi people and US soldiers) and reflect todayfor a peaceful tomorrow.
Shakeel Syed is the Executive Director of the SouthAsianNetwork.org.