It has been 14 years since America Invaded Iraq and overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. In the end more than 4500 U.S. servicemen lost their lives and nearly 10,000 were wounded.
The death toll among Iraqi civilians was estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands and dozens continue to be killed to this day.
With so much death and destruction along with a blurred objective for the war many Americans wondered "should we have even gone into Iraq at all?"
The Bush administration initially went to war with Iraq because they were said to be an eminent danger to the Middle East region and the world as a whole. Saddam Hussein was suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD's) which it was feared that he might use against neighboring countries.
The fear grew out of an incident after the Persian Gulf War in which Hussein used chemical weapons against The Kurdish religious sect that lived in the northern region of Iraq. Several hundred Kurds were killed or badly injured in the attack.
Shortly after September 11, President George W. Bush declared a war on terror which meant any person or nation suspected of terrorist activity against the United States would be subject to punishment, including imprisonment if found to be cooperating with terrorists.
Under the precept of America's war on terror, the Bush administration accused Saddam Hussein of sponsoring terrorist training facilities in Iraq. This, combined with the danger that he posed by possessing weapons of mass destruction, in the eyes of the Bush administration made him a target for the war on terror.
Only months after beginning the Afghanistan War, President Bush and his advisers started making plans to invade Iraq and on March 1, 2003 those plans were carried out.
The invasion left much of the country in ruins and many communities without basic services like water and electricity.
Years after the invasion former vice president Dick Cheney stated that he did not believe that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
So why did we invade Iraq?
There are three reasons that stand out to me.
President George H. W. Bush
Settling An Old Score
It was widely reported that Saddam Hussein had made a plan to assassinate the elder George (H.W.) Bush after the Persian Gulf War. The plan was thwarted but it was rumored that George W. Bush still held a grudge. It was speculated that September 11 provided the younger Bush the opportunity to strike back at Hussein and he took it.
Several cabinet members in the Bush administration at the time have since indicated that plans to invade Iraq began to be formulated almost immediately after Bush took office in January of 2001.
Whether any of these allegations are true or not is up to speculation but one thing is for certain, it was a strange maneuver to suddenly turn from the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the one accused of being responsible for the terrorist attacks 9/11 and then direct more than 100,000 troops to invade Iraq who for as far as we know, was occupying a neutral position.
No weapons of mass destruction were ever found and some former members of the Bush administration later admitted none probably ever existed.
An Easy Target
Beside the fact that Saddam Hussein was accused of being affiliated with terrorists, he was an easy target.
The Bush administration knew that Hussein's army was no match for the United States armed forces.
They knew that they could roll over Iraq's National Army like a soda can and that's exactly what they did.
In a matter of two months President Bush was standing on the deck of the carrier USS Abraham giving what amounted to, a victory speech under a banner that read "Mission Accomplished."
The banner proved to be premature however.
For the remainder of the time that American forces were in Iraq rebel insurgents and Saddam Hussein loyalists waged a violent and bloody war against U.S. forces up until the time they were withdrawn and Iraqi Security Forces were left to take control of the country.
middle east oil well
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the primary reason that we invaded Iraq was for the oil. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why the number one consumer of oil in the world would invade an oil bearing country.
Iraq's rich oil supplies made it a place of great interest to the United States.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq one of the presumptions by the Bush advisors, was that America would be greeted as liberators and embraced by the people of Iraq.
It probably is not too far of a stretch to believe that the Bush administration thought that within the gratitude of the Iraqi people there would be some oil. After all, we freed you from a ruthless dictator who reigned over you in a regime of violence.
As it turned out, the Iraqi people did not greet the Americans as liberators but as trespassers and wanted them out of their country as soon as possible. This response was a slap in the face of the Bush White House but more importantly the American soldiers who bled and died for their freedom.
Until recently all U.S. combat troops had been withdrawn out of Iraq except for those guarding the embassy there but the rising insurgency that has reclaimed territory once held by Iraqi Security Forces has prompted President Obama to send combat troops back into the nation to act in an advisory capacity.
The same reference was used early on in Vietnam in the early 1960s.
American soldiers and their families have paid a high price for the invasion of Iraq and so have the Iraqi people.
The reasons that we were given for invading Iraq by the Bush administration have obviously been proven to be false. It is nothing less than criminal, what the Bush White House subjected the people of Iraq and the citizens of America to endure.
We may never know the true reason for the invasion of Iraq but one thing is for certain, it wasn't for the reasons we were given.
All About Oil
Brad on July 30, 2018:
It has nothing to do with Iraq having WMD because if that was true we would have invaded N Korea, and Iran. The Bush presidents did it to do it. There was no reason to invade Afghanistan either, and then to invade Iraq made even less sense. If Afghanistan was invaded because of terrorist, we would to have invaded half of the Middle East and Pakistan.
As for the oil, I don't see how Iraq's oil helped us.
LoveLAB on January 01, 2017:
There is another reason for the wars in Iraq and Syria which nobody outside the Whitehouse and the UN have mentioned!
And it ain't profits from sales of weapons and war materials!
In 1933 the president of America told the world the European bankers own the US government, so stop blaming the government, they only do as they are told! And NOT by Americans!
During WWII Churchill told the Chinese "there are NO friends or allies, ONLY our interests" who's interests?
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 02, 2016:
The reason given for the INVASION of Iraq was that they had WMDs, when none were found they tried to link Hussein to 9/11, when that proved false they said it was to liberate the citizens of Iraq, and the only people liberated were the souls set free from their earthly body.
jenny on November 12, 2014:
The real reason why the US went to war with Iraq is as Johannes points out, to maintain the dollar's supremacy as a world reserve currency. The dollar is highly valued because all the oil traded is in USD which keeps up its demand and insures it against it's debt.
Coolpapa from Florida on October 26, 2014:
when was the last time the U,S, won a war?
Tony Daniels (author) from Toledo, Ohio on August 14, 2014:
Couldn't agree with you more Sanxuary. Anyone paying attention would have to see oil was the main objective for invading Iraq. There was no other viable reason. Thanks for your comment.
Sanxuary on August 14, 2014:
I believe at the time that Iran was the number one target. At the time however oil prices were soaring and so was demand. We could not shut off the oil in Iran by starting a war with out increasing the out put of oil some where else. Iraq was under an embargo and of course it looked like an easy target with quick dividends. Big oil has been angry ever since it was kicked out of Iran. Still the main goal is to get access to the Caspian Sea area and potentially the largest untapped oil reserves left in the World which is why Afghanistan was important as well. Its always some wealthy person who cares more about money then the cost in lives who thinks such an expedition will be easy. Now to fix the past mistakes of invading Iraq will require the invasion of Syria as well and the desire to maintain forces in this region for several decades to come.
Johannes Johannes on November 16, 2011:
I read on the web that the real reason was that SH intended to trade Iraq's oil in Euro's.
Any Thoughts ?
Tony Daniels (author) from Toledo, Ohio on July 24, 2009:
could not agree with you more.
Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on July 24, 2009:
I don't recall that any WMD were found. Second, the people who supported the invasion of Iraq were not big supporters of the United Nations, except when it could be manipulated, in their opinion, to our advantage. At the time Bush and Cheney espoused two main reasons--Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to Al Qaeda which was a lie and the neocon's foolish hope that Iraq could be turned into a democratic model for the Middle East which was a fool's errand. Of course allowing the big U.S. international oil companies to get their hands on Iraq's oil was a major unspoken motive.
What was the result? 4,400 American soldiers killed and many more wounded; 100,000 Iraqis killed; a magnet and training ground for terrorists from throughout the Middle East was created; women's rights took a big step backward; about a third of Iraqi Christians have beene driven out of the country by Shiite Muslim fanatics; and the Iraq government was put in the hands of Shiite Muslims friendly to Iran, thus, losing a counterweight to Iran in the region. Finally, the Iraq War, by the end of 2009 will have cost $694 billion which is more than the Vietnam War and a major contributor to the Bush deficits.
MNichopolis from Massachusetts on July 24, 2009:
While you get some of the reasons behind the reasons, the main "formal" reason cited at the time, that I recall, was UN Security Council resolution 1441.
Ostensibly all this had to do with weapons of mass destruction (which weren't found in large quantities). Nonetheless, Iraq was NOT cooperating with the UN inspectors.
It seems this would leave the world two choices;
- Do nothing, and let the UN fade into oblivion - a lion, roaring at the world, but having no teeth.
- Enforce the UN policies
While this is certainly oversimplifying the real reasons the US invaded Iraq, they were definitely the reasons the Bush administration espoused at the time.