On the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War, it is essential to reflect on the 20 lies that led to one of the most disastrous foreign policy decisions in American history. In 2013, author and journalist Glenn Greenwald compiled a list of the "20 lies about the Iraq War," which remains just as relevant today.
The first lie on the list was that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Today, it is widely accepted that there was no collaboration between Iraq and al-Qaeda regarding the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 Commission Report confirmed that there was no evidence of a collaborative relationship between the two.
The second lie was that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States and had weapons of mass destruction. Despite the overwhelming evidence that Iraq did not possess WMDs, the U.S. government continued to push this narrative to justify the invasion. The U.S. intelligence community's pre-war assessments were also flawed and relied on unreliable sources, including forged documents.
The third lie was that the U.S. had evidence that Iraq had WMDs. This was a claim that was used to justify the invasion, but after the war, it was revealed that there were no WMDs in Iraq.
The fourth lie was that the U.S. needed to invade Iraq to protect America. This claim was used to gain public support for the war, but it has been widely criticized for its lack of evidence.
The fifth lie was that the U.S. had the support of the international community for the invasion of Iraq. The U.S. did not have the support of the United Nations Security Council, and several countries opposed the invasion.
The sixth lie was that the U.S. would be welcomed as liberators in Iraq. This proved to be far from the truth, and instead, the war led to prolonged violence and insurgency in the country.
The seventh lie was that the U.S. had a post-war plan for Iraq. The lack of proper planning and preparation contributed to the chaos and violence that followed the invasion.
The eighth lie was that the U.S. would not need to use force to bring about regime change in Iraq. This proved to be false, as the U.S. ultimately used force to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
The ninth lie was that the war in Iraq would be quick and easy. The war lasted for over eight years and resulted in the loss of many lives.
The tenth lie was that the U.S. would not need to deploy a large number of troops to Iraq. The U.S. ended up deploying hundreds of thousands of troops to Iraq.
The eleventh lie was that the U.S. military was prepared for the war in Iraq. The lack of proper planning and preparation contributed to the chaos and violence that followed the invasion.
The twelfth lie was that the U.S. would not need to spend a lot of money on the war in Iraq. The war in Iraq ended up costing the U.S. government more than $2 trillion.
The thirteenth lie was that the war in Iraq would pay for itself through Iraqi oil revenues. This was another claim that proved to be false.
The fourteenth lie was that the U.S. military would be able to secure Iraq's borders. The U.S. military was not able to secure Iraq's borders, which allowed militants and weapons to flow into the country.
The fifteenth lie was that the U.S. military would be able to prevent sectarian violence in Iraq. The U.S. military was not able to prevent sectarian violence in Iraq, which contributed to the instability in the country.
The sixteenth lie was that the U.S. military would be able to prevent a civil war in Iraq. The civil war in Iraq was one of the major consequences of the war.
The seventeenth lie was that the U.S. would be able to create a stable, democratic government in Iraq. The instability in Iraq and the subsequent sectarian violence made it challenging to establish a stable democratic government.
The eighteenth lie was that the war in Iraq would make the U.S. more secure. Instead, the war fueled anti-American sentiment and increased the threat of terrorism.
The nineteenth lie was that the war in Iraq would increase stability in the Middle East. The opposite proved to be true, as the war destabilized the region and led to increased violence and instability.
Finally, the twentieth lie was that the U.S. had a moral obligation to invade Iraq. This was a claim that was used to justify the war, but in hindsight, it is clear that the invasion was a grave mistake.
In conclusion, the Iraq War was a tragic and costly mistake that was based on lies and false information. The lies that were used to justify the war have been exposed, and it is essential to reflect on these lies and learn from them. As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War, we must continue to hold our leaders accountable and demand transparency and honesty in our foreign policy decisions. We must also work towards a world in which war is no longer seen as a viable solution to conflicts and prioritize diplomacy and peaceful resolutions.
While experts and human rights organizations have accused the US and its allies of committing war crimes, and have called for the ICC to investigate the actions of the US and its allies during the Iraq War, the lack of jurisdiction over US citizens and the lack of a Security Council referral has prevented the ICC from taking action.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 to investigate and prosecute individuals for the most serious international crimes, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. However, the ICC can only exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed by individuals from countries that are parties to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC.
The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute and has not ratified the treaty, which means that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over US citizens. Additionally, the ICC has limited jurisdiction over crimes committed by non-party states unless the United Nations Security Council refers a case to the ICC.
One of the most publicized war crimes was the use of torture and abuse of detainees in US custody, including at the Abu Ghraib prison. The use of these tactics has been widely condemned as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and international law. In 2014, a Senate report on CIA torture found that the agency engaged in "brutal" and "ineffective" practices that constituted torture.
Another is the unlawful killings of civilians by US and allied forces, including the 2007 "Collateral Murder" video released by Wikileaks that showed a US helicopter attack that killed Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists. While Julian Assange is in prison for revealing those crimes, those who committed the crimes have never been pursued.
In addition, the US-led coalition has been accused of using indiscriminate force in civilian areas, leading to high numbers of civilian casualties. Human rights organizations have argued that the coalition did not take sufficient steps to protect civilians during the war.