Tuesday, March 12, 2013
As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the U.S. war in Iraq, experts begin to examine the consequences.
Ten years ago this month, U.S. forces invaded Iraq. It was a military action supported by a solid majority of Americans and virtually all national politicians. The rationale for war was that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that could threaten America. Political leaders said Iraqis would welcome the U.S. military as liberators and the war would be over in months. None of that proved true.
Tonight, a forum at UC San Diego will examine some of the consequences of the war in Iraq.
In 2002, Ibrahim Al-Marashi was a graduate student at the University of Oxford. He wrote a paper about how Saddam Hussein could stay in power after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. His work was plagiarized by U.S. and British government officials as an intelligence document and used to bolster the argument for going to war.
Al-Marashi is now a professor of Middle East studies at Cal State San Marcos. He said the actual act of government plagiarizing a student's paper is an indication that governments were desperate for information, and lacking any real intelligence information at the time.
Nearly 36,000 American military personnel were killed or injured during eight years of war in Iraq. Estimates of the number of Iraqis killed go as high as 1 million.
A BBC Arabic and the Guardian documentary released last week implicates U.S. advisers for the first time in human-rights abuses in Iraq.
The Guardian and BBC Arabic conducted a 15-month investigation and found that "retired U.S. Colonel James Steele, played a key role in training and overseeing U.S.-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centers in Iraq."
Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq in 1994. He said in 2003 he was against the U.S. invasion of Iraq because he knew what was coming. But he said he hoped that his fears about the destruction and aftermath of the war were baseless and that it would bring democracy to Iraq.
But, Dr. Al-Delaimy said his worst fears have come true.
"The Iraq war's systematic destruction of the fabric of society was beyond my wildest imagination," he said.