For the past few months, a strange thing has been happening in the central Iraq town of Fallujah. Thousands of citizens, virtually all of them Sunni Muslims, have been gathering in public squares to protest the oppressive Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Sleeping in tents and wielding Twitter feeds and YouTube accounts, the young Sunnis have attempted to take democracy, and a certain sectarian disaffection, into their own hands.
It's not quite the Iraqi Arab Spring -- although that's what it's been tentatively called by some -- but it is a reminder of the stark failure of nearly a decade of American-led warfare in that country.
When President George W. Bush announced the invasion into Iraq in March 2003, the goal was to remove a dangerous dictator and his supposed stocks of weapons of mass destruction. It was also to create a functioning democracy and thereby inspire what Bush called a "global democracy revolution."
The effort was supposed to be cheap -- to require few troops and even less time. Instead, it cost the United States $800 billion at least, thousands of lives and nearly nine grueling years (see the graphic below for a further breakdown of various costs).
The toll on the people of Iraq were even greater. A decade of war left chaos and impoverishment, hundreds of thousands of citizens dead and millions more displaced, and a vicious sectarianism that still threatens to rip the country apart at the seams. The government of Nouri al-Maliki, which has reportedly interfered with independent government bureaucracies and ordered the arrest of his Sunni vice president on trumped-up terrorism charges, often rules in a manner more befitting the autocrat the U.S. invaded to remove.
"Here is a country that's being liberated," proclaimed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld a few days into the invasion, even as the first signs of the chaos to come began to stir. "Here are people that are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they're free."
Instead, today in Fallujah, the site of two of the war's largest and most devastating military campaigns, the very best that can be said is that two years late to the party -- not 10 years early -- the Arab Spring has arrived. But the government the people are rising up against is the very one the U.S. installed.
What does it mean to say that the war in Iraq was a wasted effort? Last month, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction filed a final report that found $8 billion of U.S. development aid had been "wasted outright," in the words of Wired magazine.
But nearly eight times as much money -- $60 billion -- was spent rebuilding the country on the whole, with very little to show for it.
And more than 10 times that amount -- $800 billion -- was spent on the mission overall, a boondoggle that left more than 4,000 American service members dead, 32,000 more wounded, and an authoritarian government in place that is little better -- and possibly, owing to its closer ties to Iran, worse -- than the one that was taken out.
Was any of that money wasted? Was any of it not?
Consequences of the Iraq War Essay
450 Words2 Pages
War in Iraq, which was launched by the United States and the United Kingdom on March 20, 2003 and continues to the present, was intended to be a preventative war against terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction, as president Bush repeatedly claimed that "these weapons posed a significant and timely threat to the United States and its allies." As a matter of fact, the things that considered Iraq as a threat to global welfare had not been discovered, and in spite of the common thought that this war will produce many advantageous consequences, it certainly caused a greater number of unfortunate ones.
First, the war on Iraq has cost the lives of almost two thousand of "Coalition of the willing" soldiers in addition to…show more content…
Also, it will definitely drain the economy of every member of the Coalition, and the US' most of all. It is known, that the largest oilfields are located on the Iraq territory, and as a result of the invasion, the oil supply from Iraq to the global market was shot, which raised oil prices making it not beneficial for the world's economy as well.
Third, due to the constant growth of opposition and terrorist attack, the American Democracy itself most likely will go through serious changes. Our freedom will be limited as our government continues to ensure the nation's security. Additionally, it is obvious that terror of Islamic extremists, which is really a major threat not only to our country, but to the entire world, will rise sharply, causing more deaths and distraction. It is just impossible to fight terrorism the way we do it.
Liberal nations will continue to abjure such attacks; aggressive and inhumane regimes have never observed such self-imposed moral limitations and never will. (Clark, 34)
Last, but not least, this war also caused a reputational consequence for the US around the world, which will make our relationships with other countries more complicated and problematic. As they didn't support this war, its outcome only proved that starting it wasn't the right thing to do and its mission has failed:
If America comes to be viewed by its key democratic