In the light of the recently released Chilcot Report, the coalition of the willing consisting of US, UK and Australia should acknowledge the responsibility for devastation from illegal Iraq War.
The Chilcot Report on the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq has demonstrated that some government accountability is still alive, at least in the UK.
The Report indicated the lack of credible pre-War evidence of weapons-of-mass-destruction in Iraq, that Blair had slanted intelligence findings against Iraq, committed to a rushed invasion many months beforehand, and opposed the principled stand of France and Germany that evidence did not support invasion.
An informed analysis indicates the invasion was most probably illegal. Iraq, the former leading Arab country in science and technology in which Sunni, Shi‘a and Christian citizens collaborated and intermarried, having an illustrious history with Baghdad as capital of the Abbasid caliphate, was degraded to a failed state, losing 200,000 to 1.4 million lives (estimates vary) as a consequence of “Operation Iraqi Liberation”. This is closely comparable to the devastating 1258 Mongol destruction of Baghdad.
The war had been called to save Iraqis from their tyrant dictator, Saddam Hussein, but in reality the Iraqi people themselves were harmed. Rupert Murdoch strongly advocated the war using his global media might, including The Australian newspaper.
The invasion was promoted by heads of the US, UK and Australia – George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard. The stated justifications clearly did not satisfy requirements of UN resolutions on Iraq for invasion and open these leaders to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It should be ascertained by the appropriate international authority whether these countries are liable for war reparations and compensation to the Iraqi people for the massive killings and disabilities.
The war was negligently prosecuted without a sustainable post-War plan to safeguard Iraqi society. Multiple evidences that the campaign harmed the civilian population at large include massive destruction of civilian infrastructure – water supply, sewerage, schools, mosques, churches – in the opening Shock and Awe campaign, acerbation of sectarian divisions as a divide and rule policy, and shockingly increased deformations and deaths of babies arguably due to radiation from WMDs – depleted-Uranium munitions used by the allies. British SAS troops were caught undercover with bombs believed to be promoting social discord. Citizens in US-run prisons were radicalised by torture and inhuman degradation.
Such conducts violate the UN Charter, Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg Charter. In 2007, Iraqi refugees exceeded 4 million. Summing up the cruel disregard of Iraqi life was former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright’s belief with regard to pre-War sanctions, which led to deaths of up to 227,000 Iraqi infants (Richard Garfield, Columbia University) that “the price is worth it”.
The world should state once and for all that there is no relativism in value of human lives – loss of any innocent non-European or Muslim life from misguided state-sponsored militarism is as much a serious concern as the loss of any one western citizen from terrorism!
Australian MP, Andrew Wilke’s protest resignation as an intelligence analyst pre-War, is totally vindicated. He believes the Bali bombings and Lindt Siege could be blamed on Australia’s involvement in the Iraq War, which also instigated the rise of ISIS.
Further, 36 million peaceful protestors (including this writer) who participated pre-War in the largest anti-War demonstrations ever seen are also vindicated. Jeremy Corbyn bravely apologised on behalf of the British Labour Party.
Big questions though that remain are whether apologies to the Iraqis for the destruction wrought are enough, and what is to be done to ensure such abuses of international law never recur. An Australian Iraq War Inquiry a la Chilcot is surely overdue.