Fifteen years since the launching of the Iraq War
21 March 2018
Fifteen years ago today, on the night of March 20-21, 2003, the armed forces of the United States and Great Britain began an illegal and unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a country of 26 million people. As bombs and missiles began to rain down on Iraq’s cities, and tanks and armored vehicles crossed the border from Kuwait, US President George W. Bush set in motion a war of aggression whose catastrophic consequences now shape world politics.
The World Socialist Web Site described the consequences of this onslaught for the Iraqi people as “sociocide,” the deliberate destruction of the entire infrastructure of modern civilization (see: “The US war and occupation of Iraq—the murder of a society”). Similar catastrophes have now been visited upon Syria, Libya and Yemen, as a direct result of the continuation and extension of US aggression by Bush’s Democratic successor, Barack Obama. Now Donald Trump threatens to add Iran and North Korea to the list.
According to the running tally of the Costs of War Project, sponsored by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined killed 370,000 people directly and 800,000 people indirectly (with Iraq accounting for the bulk of the total). Other estimates, based on mortality surveys and other public health measurements, place the death toll as high as 2.4 million.
The war on Iraq was launched by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the basis of deliberate and flagrant lies: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” that threatened the world’s population; and he was in alliance with the Al Qaeda movement of Osama bin Laden, which had carried out the…