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Iraq

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Despite the terrible loss of life in Iraq, surveys of Iraqi people do not support the claim that Iraqis are worse off since the U.S. invasion.
The primary reason the US Government stated for going to war with Iraq in 2003 was to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). This includes nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These weapons were never found, and many questions were raised regarding the failure of US intelligence.
The justification for the Iraq war partly predicated on the assumption that the war would be swift and easy. In 2007, 4 years after the war started, the U.S. Government authorized the “Surge” – an additional 20,000 troops - to quell ethnic violence in the region.
The primary reason the US Government gives for maintaining a military presence in Iraq is to give the Iraqi people a chance at democracy. However, a common skeptical theory is that the US is significantly motivated by a need to secure a cheap supply of oil.
In 2007, 4 years after the war started, the US Government authorized the “Surge” – an additional 20,000 troops - which has successfully quelled ethnic violence in the region. Skeptics fear that the ethnic violence will re-erupt if or when the US military leaves.
Iraq has three major ethnic groups, the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. Under Saddam Hussein's rule, the ethnic tension was contained, but Iraqi society favored Sunnis (despite having less numbers than Shiites). After the invasion of Iraq, violence has escalated massively, with a violent death-toll in the 6-figure range. There is the fear that if the US pulls out of Iraq, the ethnic tension will spiral out of control.
In 2003, the United States went to war with Iraq. The primary justification was preemptive - to rid the country of Weapons of Mass Destruction before they could be used against the US and their allies. There was considerable debate as to whether preemption was legitimate, whether the intelligence was sound, and whether going to war was the most effective way to deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
The primary reasons the US Government gave for invading Iraq in 2003 was to rid the country of Weapons of Mass Destruction and to free the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. However, many critics of the US believe its government was significantly motivated by a need to secure a cheap supply of oil.
Conservapedia
What happened is a huge, major shift, from the old order of 1,000 years of persecution, of dictatorship, of religious supremacy, of prosecuting minorities, to a completely new order, which is called democracy, human rights, accountability, and transparency, and all this.
Robin Hanson
Among all the policy arguments I accept, [skepticism about] war seems among the most solid. And among all the things policy can get wrong, war seems among the worst. So for me, war policy tends to trump other considerations. ... I voted against Bush in '04, and I'll vote against Obama in '12, because they both started wars without meeting the high standards I hold for justifiably starting a war.
Donald Trump
I always heard that when we went into Iraq, we went in for the oil. I said, "Eh, that sounds smart." Except that we never did. So we went into Iraq for 1.5 trillion dollars. Thousands of lives and wounded. And here's what's going to happen. ... As soon as we leave Iraq, Iran is going to take over those huge oil fields. ... That wouldn't happen under my watch.
Michael Neumann
...big oil and big business have never been supporters of the war. Bush I, who was much closer to big oil than Bush II, never wanted to invade Iraq. ... Why then did the US go into Iraq? To my mind it was because the US had to show the world that it was powerful after the humiliation of 9-11, and especially after the equally great humiliation of failing to capture or kill Bin Laden and the Mullah Omar.
Baker Institute
Iraq remains a destabilizing influence to U.S. allies in the Middle East, as well as to regional and global order, and to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets. ... The United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments.
Tony Blair
Let me first deal with the conspiracy theory that this is somehow to do with oil. There is no way whatever, if oil were the issue, that it would not be infinitely simpler to cut a deal with Saddam, who, I am sure, would be delighted to give us access to as much oil as we wanted if he could carry on building weapons of mass destruction. The very reason why we are taking the action that we are taking is nothing to do with oil or any of the other conspiracy theories put forward.
Sarah Palin
We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources, which is nonsensical when you consider that domestically we have the supplies ready to go.
Colin Powell
We know that Saddam is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he's determined to make more. Given Saddam's history of aggression, given what we know of his grandiose plans, given what we know of his terrorist associations and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time and the place and in the manner of his choosing at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond?

New Comments

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Should the United States invade Iraq? General Comment
Shouldn’t this be worded “Should the US have invaded Iraq in 2003?”. The question as worded is not the same.

0 Points       Benja       13 Apr 2011     Is oil a motivation for maintaining a military presence in Iraq? General Comment
Thanks Trump for setting the record straight: it makes "business sense" to go to war for oil. Clearly it's a fantastic deal for US soldiers, who obviously get paid in oil proceeds. I hear a new arm costs only a few barrels of oil nowadays. But really, it's not about the money for the soldiers. For them it's about the satisfaction of knowing that they helped the US economy. There's nothing more inspiring than the words: "died for the US economy" on a soldier's gravestone. Going to war for oil is also a boon for America's likability. Not just for the country invaded, but the entire region will no doubt get warm fuzzies thinking about America for perhaps decades to come.

0 Points       blacktrance       10 Feb 2011     Would invading Iraq result in a quagmire? Agree
Yes, as it clearly did.

0 Points       blacktrance       10 Feb 2011     Was oil a motivation for invading Iraq in 2003? Agree
And what's worse is that oil prices still went up.

0 Points       blacktrance       10 Feb 2011     Does Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction? Disagree
No. The invasion proved that.

0 Points       blacktrance       10 Feb 2011     Should the United States invade Iraq? Disagree
The United States should not have invaded Iraq. It accomplished little but needless deaths and expenses. No WMDs were found, the US hasn't been made any safer, and it only contributes to the US's excessively interventionist foreign policy.

0 Points       Benja       02 Nov 2010     Can the US military presence in Iraq help create democracy? General Comment
"Democracy can not be created out of Military aggression."
What about America's military presence in Japan at the end of WWII?

I also recall a theory, or perhaps more of an observation, that there is a threshold of order/wealth a country typically must have before democracy reaps benefits, and before that threshold is reached, dictatorships have actually been better for the people than democracies. Perhaps the military presence from a working (albeit foreign) democracy can help create enough order/wealth to help a fledging government successfully make the transition to democracy. I'm not saying I agree with this - but it doesn't seem implausible to me.

1 Point       Glenn F       02 Nov 2010     Can the US military presence in Iraq help create democracy? Disagree
Democracy can not be created out of Military aggression.

Well, it can, but only when the oppressed rise up against the forces of aggression -- like in the American Revolution, or in India's.

Remember, the large majority of Iraqi's people have always wanted American forces out of their country and government. How is it American aggression there is going to "create democracy" when the military is itself non-democratic? If America were to support democracy in Iraq, shouldn't America help that nation respond to the democratic opinions of it's people?

1 Point       Glenn F       02 Nov 2010     Should the United States invade Iraq? Disagree
1. There was no legal grounds for the invasion of Iraq, whatsoever.
2. That "Mr. Hussein must disarm!" or "That Iraq is building nuclear weapons!" is not grounds for invasion, by the international laws America helped create and by our domestic law. Needless to mention, military aggression wasn't supported by Iraqi law either.
3. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was projected by the Pentagon to make the world a more dangerous place -- to increase the raw number of terrorists, the potential for destruction from each of that growing population of terrorists, and to increase the rate of nuclear arms proliferation among terrorists and terrorist states. Even though the most educated military strategists in the world for the most powerful military in the world all agreed that the invasion would actually increase the amount of terrorism America and it's allies were to face, the political party in power lied to Americans that the "War on Terror" was going to reduce terrorism.
4. The U.S. has the biggest nuclear arms arsenal in the world. We already had some of these human-civilization-ending weapons pointed at Iraq when our military illegally began provoking Iraq into war. Iraq didn't respond. America used the excuse that "Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction" and that was somehow a threat to our power (remember, we had the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet already developed...)

1 Point       the27th       09 May 2010     Should the United States invade Iraq? Disagree
based on faulty intelligence, horrendously destructive, unnecessary.

0 Points       the27th       09 May 2010     Will genocide occur if the US pulls its combat troops out of Iraq? Mostly Disagree
I suspect it's not quite that bad.

0 Points       the27th       09 May 2010     Can the US military presence in Iraq help create democracy? Mostly Disagree
No. There's no imposing freedom by the sword. I hope they become democratic, but it will be their doing, not ours.

New Editorial Comments

0 Points       Benja       13 Sep 2008     Should Iraq be split into three largely autonomous regions? Editorial Comment
Need to get a quote from the Economist magazine. I recall they were quite dismissive of Joe Biden's opinion.


Iraq Question Index

Can the US military presence in Iraq help create democracy?
Should the United States invade Iraq?
Is oil a motivation for maintaining a military presence in Iraq?
Was oil a motivation for invading Iraq in 2003?
Does Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction?
Are Iraqis better off since Saddam's regime was toppled?
Would invading Iraq result in a quagmire?
Should Iraq be split into three largely autonomous regions?
Will genocide occur if the US pulls its combat troops out of Iraq?