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The Second Gulf War – The Iraq War of 2003

Introduction

As Cashman (2007, p.10), stated, we do not live in the golden age of peace. There are Constant conflicts, frequently reported in magazines, newspapers, televisions and every possible media means. Statistics about wars are always threatening and the trends in war data convey both good and bad news. Many countries of the world have had different war experiences in history, though some countries have been badly hit than the rest. One such country is Iraq. It is also worth noting that the wars of the present age are bad compared to those of the past times. Many of the wars are either inter or intrastate wars.

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Hakan (2008, p.6), Iraq is one of the countries of the Middle East. Since the 17th century when the nation-state became the dominant form of governing unit, interstate wars have been the most common form of war. Some of the wars that have hit this country in the past include the First World War, the Second World War in the Pacific, and the 1967 war in the Middle East, the Indo- Pakistan war of 1971, the Iran-Iraq war of 1980, and the Iraq war of 2003. This report looks into the most recent war that hit the country, which is the Iraq war of 2003. It is also referred to as the second Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation new dawn. This report looks into America’s reputation consequences from the war, terrorist threats if the war did foster more casualties than undertaken in the US.

Why and how the war was fought

As Liebermann (2010, p.3) stated, the war began on 19th March 2003 and was started by American and British forces. The war is mostly referred to as Second Iraq War or the Persian Gulf War 2. It was the first true war of the 21st century. The invasion was launched by U.S. soldiers in collaboration with U.K. Denmark, Australia and Poland also sent their troops. Several reasons led to the start of the war. After the Gulf war of 1991, there was still tension and hostility among the involved countries. One of the major reasons for the hostility is the fact that Iraq soldiers were expelled from Kuwait. The war led to Iraq succumbing to pressure and it resolved to destroy some of the weapons it had started developing. These included weapons of mass destruction as well as scud missiles. Weapon inspectors from United Nations were sent to the country to supervise the destruction of the weapons and to investigate some of the weapons that the country may have not destroyed (Cashman & Leonard, 2007, p.4).

Allied aircrafts patrolled the air to prevent Iraqi aircraft from attacking the communities to the north and south, the minorities who were against Saddam. Iraqi air defense had over the time fired missiles and other weapons to these aircraft, to shoot them down but had been unsuccessful. In response to this, the allied warplanes responded by bombing the air defense sites. And their radar-associated installations (Lieberman, 2010, p.12).

According to Liebermann (2010, p. 19), George Bush made a rhetoric statement where he blamed Iraq for having a connection with Al-Qaida. This came shortly after the United States was attacked on 11th September 2001. By claiming that Sadam secretly supplied terrorists with weapons, Bush ordered for Iraq disarmament. This was supported by the United Nations security council which later sent its agents to supervise the process and inspect other weapons that the country may have been hiding. In 2003, the US and British governments complained that Iraq was declining to support Security Council representatives that had been sent to conduct weapon inspections. This led to Bush ordering Sadam and his son to leave the country within forty-eight hours. However, they did not take heed to his order leading to the United States waging war on Iraq. The war was thus meant to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism and free the Iraqi people. The trigger was therefore Iraqis failure to willingly disarm themselves of weapons that were felt to be a threat to world peace (Lieberman, 2010, p.8).

The number of casualties during invasion varies, but the high death toll and casualties occurred after a declaration to end the war was made. 139 American military people had been killed by this time. Over 4000 have been killed since then. The civilian casualties are more than this though the figures vary. Approximately 7500 had been killed during the invasion, by April 2007; more than 60,000 had been killed since the war ended. Since the invasion, it is approximated that 100,000-150,000 Iraqis had been killed. The war, therefore, fostered more casualties than undertaken in the US (Galbrith, 2008, p.5),

The consequences of the war

According to Lieberman (2007), in an interview conducted in the US on the reputation consequences of the Iraq war, 51.1% of the Americans felt that the Iraq war had damaged the standing of the US in the international community. 86.2% of self-described democrats strongly agreed with this. In a poll by TNS released in Washington Post and ABC News, many adults feel that the war has negatively affected America. 76% of adult Americans feel that the war did damage America’s reputation in the rest of the world (Reid, 2006, p.76)

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According to Porter (2010, p.10), the war has fuelled anti-American sentiments around the world, making global diplomacy difficult. America’s relationships with most countries in the world are characterized by war. This war made US prestige in the entire world reduce greatly. He further says that as a result of the war, Turkey, a key model of pro-western Muslim democracy became anti- America.

The Iraq war has led to increasing in terrorist threats to the American government. According to Mazzetti, an assessment of terrorism behavior conducted by American intelligence agencies established that the American invasion of Iraq has led to the emergence of an Islamic group leading to an increase in terrorist attack threats being issued by these groups. He says that from the report by the National Intelligence it has been found that instead of such Islamic groups stopping their activities, they have embarked on recruiting new members around the world. According to the report, the war has intensified the desire for terrorists to attack America and its allies rather than scaring them away. It is believed that the idea of Jihad emanated from the war. It is feared that Islamic militants who participated in Iraq war will at one time go back to their countries introducing Islamic radicalism in them. A report released by the Republican-controlled house intelligence committee stated that the Al Qaeda leaders wait for the opportune time to strike (2006, P.78).

The majority of Americans believe the war has undermined the US’s ability to fight terrorism. In the aftermath of the July 7th bombing of London, the number of Americans who believed that shot up from 36% to 45%. As a result, 521% of Americans favor maintaining US troupes in Iraq until the country stabilizes. According to Galbraith, (2008, p.34), while the US was obsessed with Iraqis nonexistence of WMD, due to the war, this became an opportunity for Iran and North Korea to advance their nuclear programs, which poses a threat.

Generally, there is adequate information to claim that even today Iraq poses a major terrorist attack threat. Carafano (2002, p.56) states that it is feared Iraq may develop in the near future and use biological and nuclear weapons to attack. Thus, the war against Iraq did not achieve its objective of reducing terrorism but instead increased it. Consequently, the war against Iraq was a wrong strategy for Americans to curb terrorism.

Reference

Cashman, G. (2000). What Causes War: An Introduction to Theories of International Conflict. Maryland: Lexington Books Publishers.

Cashman, G. & Leonard, R. (2007). An Introduction to the Causes of War: Patterns of interstate conflicts from world war to Iraq. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Galbraith, P. (2008). Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened Americas Enemies. New York: Simon and Schuster publishers.

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Lieberman, J. (2007). UPI Poll: Iraq war hurts US reputation. UPI com. Web.

Mazzetti, M. (2006). Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Attack. The New York Times, Web.

Porter, K. (2010). Huge Impact on American Relationships. Foreign policy Implication Of the Iraq war, vol 9 pg 23-25.

Reid, Angus. (2006). Iraq war damaged US Reputation, say Americans. Angus Reid Global Monitor. Web.

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