Whatever the outcome of the initial stages of the conflict that has begun, American imperialism has a rendezvous with disaster. It will not find through the medium of war a viable solution to its internal maladies.
March 20, 2023, marks 20 years since the beginning of the US invasion of Iraq. From the initial horrific “shock and awe” bombing campaign, through the invasion and subsequent occupation, some one million Iraqis died and the entire society was devastated.
At the time of the initial invasion of Iraq, the WSWS published many statements on the background of the war, the lies used to justify it and its implications. This page features some of the most important statements.
The war against Iraq was part of three decades of unending war that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was preceded by the first Gulf War (1990-91), the bombing of Serbia (1999) and the invasion of Afghanistan (2001). It was followed by the bombing of Libya (2011) and the US-backed war in Syria (2011).
In the preface of A Quarter Century of War: The US drive for global hegemony: 1990-2016 David North, the Chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, wrote:
The last quarter century of US-instigated wars must be studied as a chain of interconnected events. The strategic logic of the US drive for global hegemony extends beyond the neocolonial operations in the Middle East and Africa. The ongoing regional wars are component elements of the rapidly escalating confrontation of the United States with Russia and China.
As the world marks the 20th anniversary of the war against Iraq, the US and NATO powers are relentlessly escalating their war against Russia. At the same time, the US is preparing the ground for a military confrontation with China.
The statements, essays and articles included on this page are essential not only for understanding the war in Iraq itself, but the fundamental social, historical and political issues behind the eruption of imperialism.
As in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I, and in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II, the eruption of war in 2003 arises out of deep-rooted contradictions in the world capitalist system.
A shameful day in American history
The US bombardment of Baghdad is being carried out for predatory imperialist aims—above all, the seizure and control of oil wealth—against the defenseless population of a nation that represents no threat to the American people.
A series of sustained counterinsurgency operations by US troops has signaled a new stage in the US occupation of Iraq. Faced with escalating armed resistance and growing hostility from the Iraqi people, Washington has decided to use overwhelming force to suppress and terrorize the country’s 24 million people.
In advance of the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration employed increasingly brazen lies, centered on the claims that Saddam Hussein had ties to Al Qaeda and possessed “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD).
On February 5, US Secretary of State Colin Powell made his infamous address to the United Nations Security Council. In a statement the next day, headlined “Powell's UN speech triggers countdown to war against Iraq,” the WSWS Editorial Board subjected his brief for war to a thorough analysis, noting that it “was predicated on a colossal lie: that the coming invasion is about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Baghdad’s supposed threat to US security and world peace.”
These lies were wilfully repeated by the American media, whose integral role in laying the groundwork for the war reached its logical conclusion once the conflict began. The media maintained an unprecedented and obedient censorship of the human suffering imposed on Iraq, and willingly participated in the invasion via hundreds of so-called “embedded journalists.”
US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s brief for war against Iraq is was predicated on a colossal lie: that the coming invasion is about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Baghdad’s supposed threat to US security and world peace.
The year 2003 opens against the backdrop of impending war and deepening economic crisis. Within a matter of weeks the US will be raining bombs on a defenseless Iraqi population.
Bush speaks for a regime that is going to war in the hope that it can somehow extricate itself from its crisis by means of military aggression and the seizure of Persian Gulf oil.
"The most hateful thing they could do to us"
Just over a year after her husband was killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Jessica Murrow contacted the World Socialist Web Site to express her agreement with an article criticizing the Bush administration’s exploitation of the September 11 tragedy. She said that if her voice, as someone who had suffered such a terrible loss, carried any weight, she wanted to raise it as strongly as she could against the drive to war against Iraq.
The Philosophical Society of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland held its annual debate on American foreign policy on the evening of October 14, 2004. The proposition debated before an audience of more than 200 people was: “This House Believes that America is Still the World’s Peacekeeper.”
WSWS Chairman David North spoke in opposition to the proposition. Other speakers opposing the resolution included Irish Senator David Norris, Chris Marsden, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain, and Leonard Doyle, the foreign editor of the Independent newspaper in Britain.
In the face of the militaristic frenzy of the most ruthless imperialist regime in the world, more than 10,000,000 people have spoken out against the plans for an invasion of Iraq.
The events of February 15-16 constituted the largest single political protest and the first truly global demonstration against war.
This statement was distributed at demonstrations on February 15-16, 2003 in cities across the US, Europe, Asia Australia and New Zealand.
The turnout far exceeded the expectations of the organisers and expressed the hostility of broad layers of the people—from all walks of life, all ages and a wide array of ethnic backgrounds.
US operations in Iraq have amounted to sociocide—the deliberate and systematic murder of an entire society.
As many as 260,000 children have died since the March 2003 invasion, according to one estimate reported by the British daily The Independent in January 2007.
This is the final part of a three-part series. Its purpose is to examine a series of recent reports establishing the immense scale of death, destruction and oppression that have been wrought by the US occupation of Iraq.
The encounter of America with Iraq has been catastrophic for Iraq’s population, and the situation grows worse on a daily basis.
Every quasi-serious investigation, carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the media or the US military itself, points to a “systemic” pattern of humiliation, terror and—in an unknown number of cases—murder prevalent in the American jails and camps holding Iraqi prisoners.
One year after photographs of American soldiers torturing and humiliating naked and hooded Iraqi prisoners triggered a wave of international revulsion, the US Army was forced Wednesday to declare a mistrial in the prosecution of one of a handful of junior-ranking enlisted personnel charged in the matter.
When the revelations of torture of Iraqi detainees at the hands of the US military at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq emerged it outraged world opinion.
The horrifying images of prisoners, naked, strapped to apparatuses on the floor, hanging upside down, wounded, threatened by snarling dogs, masturbating for their abusers, draped in women’s underwear, forced to sodomize themselves, arranged in the most degrading and painful positions, as well as photographs of dead bodies and blood-smeared cells, have been in the possession of the US military for several years and have been systematically suppressed.