The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was one of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind. The only justification for it that remained after the facts were laid bare was removing the tyrant Saddam Hussein from power. Aren't the Iraqi people better off without him? That's the rhetorical question that apologists for the war like to ask, but let's start where we should start: with the dead Iraqi people.
Are the dead Iraqi people better off with Saddam Hussein gone? Or, would they better off alive, but still having to put up with Saddam Hussein?
They can't answer that question because they aren't here. But, their loved ones are presumably here. So, why don't you ask the Iraqi man whose wife and son were killed by one of our smart bombs if he'd rather have his wife and son back and have to put up with Saddam Hussein or have what he's got? And, let me point out that his wife and son were never given a choice. They weren't asked if they were willing to die to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The choice was made for them. It was thrust upon them. How would you like it if someone could point to you and say, "you have to die because we have to get rid of the tyrant." What would your response be?
After all, there is NOTHING more tyrannical than thinking you hold sway over other people's lives and can extinguish them at your will, when you think it's worth it for some cause or purpose.
I don't recognize the United States having the right to kill ANYONE in Iraq, not even Saddam Hussein. The United Nations refused to sanction the invasion. At that very time, they had their weapons inspectors in the country. Look: we know that when the State has the power to kill someone summarily, without due process; without a trial; without a LEGALLY conducted prosecution and defense, without a thorough and orderly presentation of the evidence for and against, that all is lost; that the ultimate tyranny exists. Now, if that's true nationally, why shouldn't it be true internationally? And if it's true for ordinary people, then why not for Saddam Hussein? And, I realize that he eventually was tried by the puppet government that we installed, and even if you don't like that description, the fact is that WE TRIED TO KILL HIM MANY TIMES BEFORE THAT TRIAL. WE ASSUMED THE RIGHT TO KILL HIM WITHOUT ANY TRIAL.
And, it's worse than that. It is MUCH worse than that. Because when we tried to kill him, the many times we tried to kill him, we killed other people, and not just Iraqi military people, but Iraqi women, Iraqi children, and innocent Iraqi men. So, we missed him, but we got them.
And, it's even worse than that. It is disgustingly worse than that. Because: when you try to kill a person whom you summarily think you are entitled to kill, and you do it by bombing a restaurant that you think he's eating at, you know that other people are going to be killed. And you know that it's the nature of restaurants that they attract families and old people and young people and all kinds of people. There is no way a "smart bomb" can distinguish between them. And you know that. So, when you do it anyway, you are committing cold-blooded murder of the most evil, wretched, and wicked kind. But, you're trying to eliminate a tyrant? Don't even say it. Don't dare say it. You are desecrating the bodies of the dead when you say it. What if it was YOUR wife? Would you be saying it then? You are urinating on the bodies of the dead, just as surely U.S. soldiers urinated on the bodies of the Afghan dead in Afghanistan, just by saying it.
I am providing the latest Iraqi casualty figures from Iraq Body Count. They are very conservative. They only include documented deaths.
There are figures much higher than these. The highest figure I have seen is one million Iraqi people dead, and that was by Johns Hopkins researchers:
It would be great if the world could be free of all tyrants. And not just free of tyrants, but free of all tyrannical practices by governments that aren't even supposed to be tyrannical or profess to be tyrannical. But, if you're going to look at it from the standpoint of moral duty, do we have a moral duty to free every person on the globe who lives under tyranny? No, of course not. It isn't even possible, so how can it be a moral duty? Your moral duty as a person is to make sure that YOU are not hurting anybody or killing anybody, that you do not initiate violence. And I dare say that the same applies to governments with their militaries. Their first obligation is to make absolutely sure that they exist only to defend and never to initiate violence. And the idea of initiating violence to bring about a political change somewhere, the replacement of a regime, as we did in Iraq, that IS an outrage. It is an atrocity, and precisely because it is certain that innocent people are going to get killed when you do it, and mostly innocent people.
What the United States did in Iraq in 2003 and thereafter was a war crime, and every single American soldier, sailor, and airman who participated in that hellish war is guilty of committing war crimes. And I don't care if their job was just to wash dishes in the mess hall; if they went to Iraq and were supporting that war effort in any way, they were committing a war crime. THE MORAL THING TO DO WAS TO REFUSE TO DEPLOY TO IRAQ. And some brave, heroic servicemen did just that. IT IS A MILITARY DUTY TO REFUSE TO OBEY AN ILLEGAL ORDER. And everything about that whole "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was illegal.
If there was any decency here, if there was any respect for human life, George W. Bush would be in prison right now, and for the rest of his life, for his war crimes in Iraq. For Goodness sake, he's not just a criminal; he is a mass murderer. Famed attorney Vincent Bugliosi said so himself. But, there is no statute of limitations on murder, and it would be awfully good, for America and Iraq, if George W. Bush was, someday, brought to justice.