Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, was captured, tried and then executed in 2016. His execution took place on the 30th December 2006. Ten years ago today. I actually think the world was a better place when he was in charge of Iraq. I think the war in Iraq and the subsequent power vacuum has done great damage to the region, to the US and to the rest of the world. Here is why I have come to that conclusion.
1) Over 4000 US Soldiers died during the war in Iraq. Now one of the major arguments for the war was that Hussein has gassed 5000 Kurds to death….and so as a result, the US sent 4000 soldiers to their death. But worse than that…Documented civilian deaths in Iraq to date number 188,293.
2) The Bush administration estimated the war would cost between $50-$60 billion. But the actual cost was around $2.4 trillion with another $490 billion owing to war veterans. From memory at the height of the war, the war was costing America $1billion a day.
3) The credibility of US Intelligence agencies suffered a near fatal blow. We all remember Colin Powell showing us the photos of the Weapons of Mass Destruction that Iraq was stockpiling. Except when they invaded based on this intelligence, no such weapons were found.
4) The leadership of the US as a superpower was significantly harmed. Have a read of the following paragraph from http://www.juancole.com/2013/03/what-iraq-harmed.html.
The US invasion and occupation of Iraq harmed the US in bringing into question its basic competency as a world leader. Almost everything the US did in Iraq was a disaster. It could not even get the stated reason for the invasion right, as it turned out there was no nuclear, biological or chemical weapons program. It looked dishonest, bumbling. It went into the war having no plans, and the plans the Bush administration made on the fly were mostly poorly thought-out and doomed to fail. It fell into search and destroy as a tactic for counter-insurgency, with the same results as it had had in Vietnam– it caused resistance to swell. Billions were wasted on reconstruction projects that assumed Iraqi know-how and equipment that they did not have, and which could not therefore be maintained even if they were completed. The US tried to run in English an Arabic-speaking country that had been deliberately isolated and cut off from the world by sanctions, without any basic understanding of Iraqi culture, customs, beliefs or ways of life.
5) Linked into the previous point. The US showed its hypocrisy by criticizing countries that use torture and in particular waterboarding…..and then went and did exactly the same thing….we all remember the prisoner abuse photos from Abu Ghraib.
6) With Saddam Hussein out of the way it created a power vacuum that led to a brutal and bloody sectarian civil war. Which then allowed Iraq to become a breeding ground from which ISIL arose. This fostered Islamic Extremists around the world with those tentacles striking Sydney during the Lindt Café Siege.Click here to read my Blog on the Lindt Cafe Siege. My opinion is on this point comes from a book I read on the subject ISIS: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern and J.M Berger. Highly Recommended.
7) It is not too much of a stretch to link in some degree, the fall of Saddam Hussein to the current conflict in Syria. Various sites I read about Syrian conflict put the civilian death toll at between 312,000 and 470,00.
8) With Hussein out of the way and the rise of IS, one of the great tragedies was the desecration of ancient artefacts and sites. Like for example the destruction of Jonah’s tomb in Mosul.
9) One could also argue that as the US was involved in a war in Afghanistan at the time they started the Iraq war, this led them to being distracted and dropping the ball in Afghanistan. You could make a strong case that the current resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan is as a result of this distraction 10 years down the track.
10) Under Hussein, Christianity was allowed to prosper. In fact Nowra City Church, the church I was pastoring prior to the start of the Iraq war, used to finance a Christian Outreach Centre Church in Baghdad. Post the fall of Hussein, the seven COC Churches in Iraq were all closed and Christians suffered much persecution as a result.
So was Saddam Hussein a nice person who served his country well? No not at all. He was a brutal dictator that was known for his murderous ways. Yet the world is worse off with him gone…..One of the great ironies of International Politics. So do I wish he was still in charge of Iraq……Probably. The world just might be a better place than it is right now.
Anyway, that’s what I think
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