Andy Goff remembers the lies behind the invasion of Iraq and ponders on the “mission accomplished”
I was watching Newsround on CBBC shortly after President Obama announced the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In the BBC news broadcast it was clearly stated that Britain and America had invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power; in other words, the objective had been regime change.
Regime change was not the reason we were originally given for our invasion of Iraq, although it was generally suspected that was the case. The BBC stuck to the Labour Government’s line that our forces were going to Iraq to enforce UN Resolution 1441 regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
Regime change, as an objective of war, is illegal in international law. Had Labour Party Leader and British Prime Minister Tony Blair used that as a reason for the invasion it would have rendered his position impossible. Had the BBC not towed the propagandist line at the time then it is likely there would have been more than the one regime change at the BBC which followed Andrew Gilligan’s revelation of the truth about government lies regarding WMD.
So now the truth is out and too much time has passed for anyone to care about the legality of government actions.
The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power, there is no doubt about that, but the cost of removing him – measured in lives lost or broken, staggering corruption, moral scruples forgone and nations destabilised – is something which remains beyond measure.
But just as the invasion was predicated on lies, so is the withdrawal of forces being carried out less than honestly.
It is reported that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will boast the staggering figure of around 17,000 personnel. Some embassy! Then there are the subcontractors – the ones that President George W Bush enriched with his privatisation of war: Companies like Blackwater (intriguingly renamed Xe), Halliburton (‘Solving challenges™’) and others.
By 2007 there was one ‘contractor’ for every 1.4 U.S. soldiers. So it is likely there remain huge numbers of U.S. employed personnel to carry on the fight for freedom, justice and democracy in the crippled state. No mention of these mercenaries being withdrawn.
There were few Iraqi ‘winners’ from the illegal invasion of Iraq, but there were plenty in the corporate board rooms around the ‘free’ world who reaped the benefits of the blood shed on behalf of western governments. And they’re still at it – enjoying the ‘trickle-down’ effect of tax payers funding governments, who fund dubious organisations that operate outside state control.