4th Place - $1,000 Resolve to Evolve Scholarship Winner
The Iraq War
A common argument favoring the invasion of Iraq by the United States and coalition forces has long been that Iraq was a threat to the United States and the free world. It was believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and its refusal to allow inspectors in was evidence that it was secretly holding them. The consequent invasion of Iraq led by American forces failed to show that the threats previously presented were valid.
In its unilateral action, the United States acted in violation of international law by invading a non-belligerent nation and removing its government from power. Saddam Hussein was indeed a cruel dictator living in luxury while the majority of his people were in poverty without a clean source of water and working electricity. He controlled the nation with an iron fist, killing any opposition, and consistently running unopposed in political elections.
However, regardless of Hussein's actions as a leader, he was still the president of Iraq. Neither the United States nor any other nation has the power to violate a nation's sovereignty and remove its leader from power. Hussein was not a threat to the United States and had not been belligerent towards the United States nor another nation. He had not violated international treaty or law in any manner that hurt other nations. As a result, his rule was seen as legitimate in the international community, though not democratic. If he was to be removed from power, it should not have been the decision of a foreign power but rather the people who were directly under his control. The people of Iraq should have been the ones to revolt against his rule, not the United States. The United States is beginning to act as a police force enforcing rule of law by its own standards and for its own benefit.
The preemptive strike in Iraq did not have the support of the international community. The United Nations, the only body representing the entire international community, failed to pass any resolution to support the actions of the United States.
Cases for intervention in another nation have been only justified in cases of humanitarian crisis. However, rarely has that occurred. During the genocide in Rwanda as well as in the current mass killing in Sudan, the international community, including the United States, has failed to act. Rather than bring an end to murder and bring order to a devastated land, the international community sits idly by. Yet, the United States has brought disorder, instability, resentment, and war to Iraq, which was a land of order under Hussein. American resources would better serve the international community and surely by justified if they were used to save lives in Sudan rather than destroy lives in Iraq.
Despite the lack of justification for the Iraq war, it is too late for the United States and its Allies to leave. In order to bring order and stability back to the region, it is necessary for American forces to see this war to the end. If coalition forces leave Iraq in its current state, the lands will fall back into anarchy. Competing religious sects will attack each other, leading to a civil war, and terrorist groups will take advantage of an unstable region. To preserve the future of Iraq and the Middle East, the United States and coalition forces must continue to stabilize the area.
The best course of action that can be taken in Iraq is the involvement of the international community in the reconstruction of Iraq. If the United Nations and nations that originally did not support the war get involved, then the region can be revitalized without conflict. In addition, the new government of Iraq must be well protected and secured by occupying forces. Iraqi troops must be trained to protect their own lands. Eventually occupying forces must withdraw without any lasting trace of their original control. The people of Iraq must develop confidence in their government and nation and no longer feel the need to rely on the international community.
In order to rebuild Iraq as well as secure the Middle East, the region must be modernized. Western technology and resources must be shared with the area to provide new clean energy sources as well as technologies that will allow to area to compete with the rest of the world. The region will never prosper with technology of the past. In order to facilitate the advancement of the region, economic rehabilitation programs must be established. Foreign investment in the region will create jobs, bring wealth to the nation, and eventually allow the nation to support itself. Foreign investment could also bring prosperity to the entire Middle East, allowing for the region to no longer fall into to conflict over resources and supplies. Economic strength is necessary for the growth of any area.
The invasion of Iraq brought about great hardships to the area and has left it even more vulnerable than before. If the United States and the international community fail to remedy the failures of the preemptive strike then the Middle East will continue to see the devastation currently plaguing the region.