Iraq - how the West lost
Iraq was supposed to be the war that finally erased the memory of defeat in Vietnam but intead, says Simon Assaf, ten years on it is clear that the conflict dealt another blow to imperialism. It was a war designed to demonstrate US military power, but ended exposing its limits. The invasion of Iraq ten years ago was sold on lies. There was a heady optimism that Iraq would become a model for neoliberal success—and that invasion would give a hard lesson to those who challenged US imperialism.
By December 2011, when the last US combat troops left, Iraq had replaced Vietnam as the symbol of imperial disaster. The country suffered over one million dead, countless wounded, maimed and displaced.
Far from the shining example of success, the US emerged from the occupation with few tangible gains. The much sought after oil fields of southern Iraq are now under the control of Chinese companies. In the north, Turkish companies have swept up many of the lucrative reconstruction contracts. The foundation for the failure of the Iraq war was laid before the first Western soldier fired a bullet.
The invasion began on 20 March 2003. Iraq had already been ruined by a decade of punitive economic sanctions aimed at the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein. The West had armed and courted Hussein for years until he invaded Kuwait. Sanctions were put in place following the 1990 Gulf War. They reversed decades of social and economic progress. The country experienced an epidemic of poverty and shortages, and the destruction of its infrastructure.
The “shock and awe” barrage of cruise missiles unleashed by the US in the lead up to the ground invasion destroyed what little remained.
Part 1: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway
Part 2: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway
Part 3: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway
Part 4: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway
On Feb. 3rd 2003, the Pitstop Plougshares were charged with $2.5 million "criminal damage" followng their nonvolent dsablng of a U.S. Navy warplane. Initially remanded in Limerick Prison they were brought to trial three Itmes over the following three years at Dublin's historic Four Courts. In 2006 following two mistrials, the Ploughshares - Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran and Caron O'Reilly - were unanimously acquitted of all charges by a Dublin jury. Accordng to WikiLeaks released Dubln U.S. embassy cables, the action and acquittal sent shock waves through the U.S. and Irish government war conspirators.
Deirdre and Ciaron were joined on Sunday by sizeable contingent of Garda and anti-war activists from Dublin, Galway and Limerick. Many of those gathered mantain a monthly anti-war persence at the airport and ongoing opposition to the continued use of the civilian airport by the U.S. military and C.I.A.
The gathering began by reading the February 2003 action statement of Derdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran and Ciaron O'Reilly. This was followed by remembering the dead of Iraq, those soldiers who passed through Shannon to their deaths and anti-war activsts who had resisted the militarisation of the airport who have sadly passed away over the past ten years. Imprisoned U.S. military whistleblower Bradley Mannng http://www.bradleymanning.org/ ,who passed through Shannon Airport to deployment in Iraq, was also remembered. Reflections were then shared by all gathered before mustard seeds were scattered as a symbol of hope for future nonviolent resistance at the airport.
ÁINE McMAHON - IRISH TIMES
Ann Wright, a former US diplomat and the highest ranking member of the US military to resign over the Iraq war, has cautioned against Ireland getting involved in Nato.
Ms Wright was special guest at a joint Irish Anti-War Movement/ Peace and Neutrality Alliance meeting in Dublin yesterday. She is most noted for having been one of three state department officials to publicly resign in protest at the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
“I would urge the citizens of Ireland to really push back on this attempt to get Ireland as a part of the Nato forces. We have seen what has happened in Afghanistan and the numbers of Afghans that have been killed in by military operations,” said Ms Wright.
Ms Wright praised Ireland’s record of neutrality but warned it was now being “shopped around” by Nato. “They are trying to get Ireland to join up with them .The secretary general of Nato, Rasmussen, is here today to try and convince the Irish Government to join up with Nato,” she said.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on a visit to Dublin this week, encouraged Ireland to get involved in more Nato projects and to develop its defence forces. Ms Wright described any involvement of Ireland with Nato as a “slippery slope”.
“It’s a much different road than working with UN forces doing peace keeping operations in Lebanon, [as] Ireland has done for a long time.”
Micah Zenko - Foreign Policy
"The United States is in a state of perpetual war, spending $633 billion this year on defense, with over 200,000 US servicemembers deployed around the world."
During his second inaugural address on 21 January 2013, President Obama offered two aspirational statements that struck many observers as incongruous with administration policies: "A decade of war is now ending" and "We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."
We should question these observations, not least because of the string of US government plans and activities that increasingly blur the conventional definition of war.
My own list of war-like activities since Obama's inaugural would include:
the announcement that the US military would provide intelligence, transportation, and refueling support for the French intervention in Mali;