Rationale for the Iraq War

Rationale for the Iraq War

The rationale for the Iraq War (i.e., the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent hostilities) has been a contentious issue since the Bush administration began actively pressing for military intervention in Iraq in late 2001. The primary rationalization for the Iraq War was best articulated by a joint resolution of the US Congress known as the Iraq Resolution.

The US stated that the intent was to remove "a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world". [http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/24172.pdf Winning the War on Terror] Retrieved 30 January 2008] Additional reasons have been suggested: "to change the Middle East so as to deny support for militant Islam by pressuring or transforming the nations and transnational systems that support it." [ [http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID={34DC13AA-9EF4-4E9F-A455-81D0D1E04D68} The Whole Argument for Operation Iraqi Freedom] FrontPage Magazine February 18, 2004] For the invasion of Iraq the rationale was "the United States relied on the authority of UN Security Council Resolutions 678 and 687 to use all necessary means to compell Iraq to comply with its international obligations". [http://www.state.gov/s/l/2005/87203.htm Transatlantic Approaches to the International Legal Regime in an Age of Globalization and Terrorism.] Retrieved 30 January 2008]

In the lead-up to the invasion, the U.S. and UK emphasized the argument that Saddam Hussein was developing "weapons of mass destruction" and thus presented an imminent threat to his neighbors, to the U.S., and to the world community. The US stated "on November 8, 2002, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1441. All fifteen members of the Security Council agreed to give Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its obligations and disarm or face the serious consequences of failing to disarm. The resolution strengthened the mandate of the UN Monitoring and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), giving them authority to go anywhere, at any time and talk to anyone in order to verify Iraq’s disarmament." [ [http://www.state.gov/p/io/rls/fs/2003/17926.htm UN Security Council Resolution 1441] Retrieved 30 January 2008] Throughout late 2001, 2002, and early 2003, the Bush Administration worked to build a case for invading Iraq, culminating in then Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 2003 address to the Security Council. [ UN document |code=securitycouncil/meeting_4701 |body= Security Council |meeting=4701 |page=2 |anchor=pg002-bk08 | speakername=Colin Powell| speakernation=United States|date=5 February 2003 | type= PV| accessdate=2007-07-17 ] Shortly after the invasion, the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence agencies largely discredited evidence related to Iraqi weapons and, as well as links to Al Qaeda, and at this point the Bush and Blair Administrations began to shift to secondary rationales for the war, such as the Hussein government's human rights record and promoting democracy in Iraq. [Smith, Jeffrey R. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/05/AR2007040502263.html "Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted"] . The Washington Post, April 6, 2007. Retrieved on May 9, 2007.] [Sandalow, Mark. [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/09/29/MNGE590O711.DTL "NEWS ANALYSIS: Record shows Bush shifting on Iraq war"] . "The San Francisco Chronicle", September 29, 2004. Retrieved on May 17, 2007.]

Accusations of faulty evidence and alleged shifting rationales became the focal point for critics of the war, who charge that the Bush Administration purposely fabricated evidence to justify an invasion it long planned to launch. [ [http://thinkprogress.org/2006/03/21/made-up-his-mind/ Bush Insists ‘I Didn’t Want War,’ Overwhelming Evidence Suggests Otherwise] Retrieved 30 January 2008] Supporters of the war claim that the threat from Iraq and Saddam Hussein was real and that this has later been established. The US lead the effort for "the redirection of former Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) scientists, technicians and engineers to civilian employment and discourage emigration of this community from Iraq." [ [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2003/27409.htm Redirection of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Experts Short-term Program] Retrieved 30 January 2008]


The 1991 Gulf War never fully ended, as there was no armistice formally ending the war. As a result relations between the United States, the United Nations, and Iraq remained strained, although Saddam Hussein issued formal statements renouncing his invasion of Kuwait and made reparations payments for Kuwait. The U.S. and the United Nations maintained a policy of “containment” towards Iraq, which involved numerous and crushing economic sanctions, Iraqi no-fly zones enforced by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, and ongoing inspections of Iraqi weapons programs. In 2002, the UN Security Council unanimously passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 demanding that Iraq "comply with its disarmament obligations" and allow weapons inspections. Iraq war critics such as former weapons inspector Scott Ritter claimed that these sanctions and weapons inspections policies, supported by both the Bush and Clinton administrations, were actually intended to foster regime change in Iraq. [ [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051114/ritter Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh: Iraq Confidential] Retrieved 30 January 2008]

U.S. policy shifted in 1998 when the United States Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the "Iraq Liberation Act" after Iraq terminated its cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors the preceding August. The act made it official U.S. policy to "support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power..." although it also made clear that "nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces." [ [http://www.iraqwatch.org/government/US/Legislation/ILA.htm H.R.4655] Retrieved 30 January 2008] [cite web| url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.R.4655.ENR:| title=Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)| publisher=Library of Congress| accessdate=2006-05-25] This legislation contrasted with the terms set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, which made no mention of regime change. [cite web| url=http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0687.htm| title= RESOLUTION 687 (1991)| accessdate=2006-05-25| date=April 8, 1991]

One month after the passage of the “Iraq Liberation Act,” the U.S. and UK launched a bombardment campaign of Iraq called Operation Desert Fox. The campaign’s express rationale was to hamper the Hussein government’s ability to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but U.S. national security personnel also reportedly hoped it would help weaken Hussein’s grip on power. [Arkin, William. “The Difference Was in the Details”. "The Washington Post", January 17, 1999; Page B1. Retrieved from [http://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/irqtar.htm] on April 23, 2007.]

The Republican Party's campaign platform in the 2000 election called for "full implementation" of the Iraq Liberation Act and removal of Saddam Hussein; and key Bush advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Rumsfeld’s Deputy Paul Wolfowitz, were longstanding advocates of invading Iraq, and contributed to a September 2000 report from the Project for the New American Century that argued for using an invasion of Iraq as a means for the U.S. to "play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security..." [ [http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf Rebuilding Americas Defenses] Retrieved 30 January 2008] After leaving the administration, former Bush treasury secretary Paul O'Neill said that "contigency planning" for an attack on Iraq was planned since the inauguration and that the first National Security Council meeting involved discussion of an invasion. cite news| url=http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/13/oneill.bush/| title=O'Neill: 'Frenzy' distorted war plans account| date=January 14, 2004| publisher=CNN.com| accessdate=2006-05-26] Retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he saw nothing to indicate the United States was close to attacking Iraq early in Bush's term.

Despite key Bush advisers' stated interest in invading Iraq, little formal movement towards an invasion occurred until the September 11, 2001 attacks. According to aides who were with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center on September 11, Rumsfeld asked for: "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit Saddam Hussein at same time. Not only Osama bin Laden." The notes also quote him as saying, "Go massive", and "Sweep it all up. Things related and not." [cite news| url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/04/september11/main520830.shtml| title= Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11| publisher=CBS News| date=Sept. 4, 2002| accessdate=2006-05-26]

In the days immediately following 9/11, the Bush Administration national security team actively debated an invasion of Iraq, but opted instead to limit the initial military response to Afghanistan. [ [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/iraq/etc/cron.html "Chronology: The Evolution of the Bush Doctrine"] . PBS.org. Retrieved on May 15, 2007.] In January 2002, President Bush began laying the public groundwork for an invasion of Iraq, calling Iraq a member of the Axis of Evil and saying that "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020129-11.html "The President's State of the Union Address"] . Office of the Press Secretary, January 29, 2002.] Over the next year, the Bush Administration began pushing for international support for an invasion of Iraq, a campaign that culminated in Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5, 2003 presentation to the United Nations Security Council. [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030205-1.html "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Addresses the U.N. Security Council"] . February 5, 2003.] After failing to gain U.N. support for an additional UN authorization, the U.S., together with the UK and small contingents from Australia, Poland, and Denmark, launched an invasion on March 20, 2003 under the authority of UN Security Council Resolutions 660 and 678.

Iraq War Resolution

The October, 2002, US congress Iraq War Resolution cited many factors to justify the use of military force against Iraq:

*Iraq's noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire, including interference with weapons inspectors.
* Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a "threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region."
* Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population."
* Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people".
* Iraq's hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt of former President George H. W. Bush, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War.
* Members of al-Qaeda were "known to be in Iraq."
* Iraq's "continuing to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations," including anti-United States terrorist organizations.
* The efforts by the Congress and the President to fight terrorists, including the September 11th, 2001 terrorists and those who aided or harbored them.
* The authorization by the Constitution and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism.
* Citing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the resolution reiterated that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Saddam Hussein regime and promote a democratic replacement.

The Resolution required President Bush's diplomatic efforts at the U.N. Security Council to "obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions." It authorized the United States to use military force to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq."

Weapons of mass destruction

Throughout the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair were explicit that they were concerned about a "single question" from the chief UN weapons inspector: Has the Iraqi regime fully and unconditionally disarmed, as required by Resolution 1441, or has it not?cite web|url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030306-8.html|title=President George Bush Discusses Iraq in National Press Conference| Publisher=White House] The US government based their allegations that Iraq was developing Weapons of Mass Destruction, including nuclear weapons upon forged documents that the CIA and others believed were unreliable. [cite news| author=Wolf Blitzer| url= http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/07/08/wbr.iraq.claims/| title=Did the Bush Administration exaggerate the threat from Iraq?|publisher=CNN|date=July 8, 2003 ]

George Bush, speaking in October 2002, said that "The stated policy of the United States is regime change… However, if [Hussein] were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations, the conditions that I have described very clearly in terms that everybody can understand, that in itself will signal the regime has changed."cite news|url=http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_23-10-2002_pg4_1|author=Bob Kemper|title=Saddam can keep rule if he complies: Bush|publisher=Daily Times: date=October 23 2002 ] Similarly, in September 2002, Tony Blair stated, in an answer to a parliamentary question, that “Regime change in Iraq would be a wonderful thing. That is not the purpose of our action; our purpose is to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction…”cite web|url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/vo020924/debtext/20924-05.htm|title=Tony Blair: Answer to Parliamentary Question|publisher=Hansard] In November of that year, Tony Blair further stated that “So far as our objective, it is disarmament, not regime change - that is our objective. Now I happen to believe the regime of Saddam is a very brutal and repressive regime, I think it does enormous damage to the Iraqi people... so I have got no doubt Saddam is very bad for Iraq, but on the other hand I have got no doubt either that the purpose of our challenge from the United Nations is disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, it is not regime change.”cite web|title=PM gives interview to Radio Monte Carlo|url=http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page1299.asp] At a press conference on January 31st 2003, George Bush stated: “Saddam Hussein must understand that if he does not disarm, for the sake of peace, we, along with others, will go disarm Saddam Hussein.”cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/01/31/sprj.irq.bush.blair.topics/|title=Bush, Blair: Time running out for Saddam| Publisher=CNN] As late as February 25th 2003, Tony Blair said to the House of Commons: “I detest his regime. But even now he can save it by complying with the UN's demand. Even now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully.”cite web|url=http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page3088.asp|title=Tony Blair: Parliamentary Statement| Publisher=Hansard]

As Secretary of State Powell summarized in his February 5, 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council, "the facts and Iraq's behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction." [ [http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/05/sprj.irq.powell.transcript/index.html "Transcript of Powell's U.N. presentation"] . [http://www.CNN.com] , February 6, 2003. Retrieved on April 6, 2007.] On April 10, 2003, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer reiterated that, "But make no mistake -- as I said earlier -- we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found." [cite web|url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/04/20030410-6.html|title=Press Briefing with Ari Fleischer|publisher=White House|date=April 10, 2003|accessdate=2008-02-10] Despite the Bush Administration's consistent assertion that Iraqi weapons programs justified an invasion, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz later cast doubt on the Administration's conviction behind this rationale, saying in a May 2003 interview: "For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue - weapons of mass destruction - because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." [cite web|url=http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2003/s867453.htm|title=Wolfowitz reveals Iraq PR plan|accessdate=2006-09-05]

After the invasion, despite an exhaustive search led by the Iraq Survey Group involving a more than 1,400 member team, no evidence of Iraqi weapons programs was found. On the contrary, the investigation concluded that Iraq had destroyed all major stockpiles of WMDs and ceased production in 1991 when sanctions were imposed. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/01/12/wmd.search/ "Official: U.S. calls off search for Iraqi WMDs"] . "CNN.com", January 12, 2005. Retrieved on May 17, 2007.] cite web|title=Comprehensive Revised Report with Addendums on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (Duelfer Report)|url=http://www.gpoaccess.gov/duelfer/|publisher=U.S. Government Printing Office|accessdate=2006-09-09] cite web|author=Negroponte, John D.|title=Iraqi Chemical Munitions|url=http://intelligence.house.gov/Media/PDFS/DNILetter.pdf|publisher=U.S. Director of National Intelligence|format=pdf|date=2006-06-21] The failure to find evidence of Iraqi weapons programs following the invasion led to considerable controversy in the United States and worldwide, including claims by critics of the war that the Bush and Blair Administrations deliberately manipulated and misused intelligence to push for an invasion.

Supporters of the war claim that the accusation of fabricating evidence isn't consistent with the Bush administration's actions--as one example, they did not fabricate evidence of weapons after the invasion that would justify the supposed fabrications before the invasion. In 2006 investigative journalist Larisa Alexandrovna found compelling evidence that an off book team acting on behalf of the Office of Special Plans did in fact investigate the plausibility of planting evidence but abandoned it due to the difficulty in replicating the forensics required. [ [http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Secretive_military_unit_sought_to_solve_0105.html Secretive military unit sought to solve political WMD concerns prior to securing Iraq, intelligence sources say] The Raw Story January 5, 2006]

U.N. inspections before the invasion

Between 1991 and 1998, the United Nations Security Council tasked the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) with finding and destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. UNSCOM discovered evidence of continued biological weapons research and supervised destruction of the Al Hakam biological weapons production site - allegedly converted to a chicken feed plant, but retaining its barbed wire fences and antiaircraft defenses - in 1996. [cite news| title=The Inspections Maze| publisher=Christian Science Monitor| url=http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/inspections/suspicions.html| accessdate=2006-04-28| year=2002] [cite web|url=https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/chap6_annxB.html|title=Biological Warfare Annex B|accessdate=2006-09-05] In 1998, Scott Ritter, leader of a UNSCOM inspection team, found gaps in the prisoner records of Abu Ghraib when investigating allegations that prisoners had been used to test Anthrax weapons. Asked to explain the missing documents, the Iraqi government charged that Ritter was working for the CIA and refused to cooperate further with UNSCOM.

On August 26, 1998, approximately two months before the US order United Nations inspectors be withdrawn from Iraq, Scott Ritter resigned from his position rather than participate in what he called the "illusion of arms control." In his resignation letter to Ambassador Butler, [ [http://www.fas.org/news/iraq/1998/08/980826-ritter.htm Resignation Letter] Retrieved 30 January 2008] Ritter wrote: "The sad truth is that Iraq today is not disarmed... UNSCOM has good reason to believe that there are significant numbers of proscribed weapons and related components and the means to manufacture such weapons unaccounted for in Iraq today ... Iraq has lied to the Special Commission and the world since day one concerning the true scope and nature of its proscribed programs and weapons systems." On September 7, 1998, in testimony to the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20021224112338/http://www.ceip.org/programs/npp/ritter.htm Testimony of Scott Ritter, former UNSCOM Inspector] ] Scott Ritter was asked by John McCain (R, AZ) whether UNSCOM had intelligence suggesting that Iraq had assembled the components for three nuclear weapons and all that it lacked was the fissile material. Ritter replied: "The Special Commission has intelligence information, which suggests that components necessary for three nuclear weapons exists, lacking the fissile material. Yes, sir."

On November 8 2002, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1441, giving Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" including unrestricted inspections by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Saddam Hussein accepted the resolution on November 13 and inspectors returned to Iraq under the direction of UNMOVIC chairman Hans Blix and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. Between that time and the time of the invasion, the IAEA "found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq"; the IAEA concluded that certain items which could have been used in nuclear enrichment centrifuges, such as aluminum tubes, were in fact intended for other uses. [cite web|title=Statements of the Director General|url=http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Statements/2003/ebsp2003n006.shtml|publisher=IAEA|accessdate=2006-09-07] UNMOVIC "did not find evidence of the continuation or resumption of programmes of weapons of mass destruction" or significant quantities of proscribed items. UNMOVIC did supervise the destruction of a small number of empty chemical rocket warheads, 50 liters of mustard gas that had been declared by Iraq and sealed by UNSCOM in 1998, and laboratory quantities of a mustard gas precursor, along with about 50 Al-Samoud missiles of a design that Iraq claimed did not exceed the permitted 150 km range, but which had travelled up to 183 km in tests. Shortly before the invasion, UNMOVIC stated that it would take "months" to verify Iraqi compliance with resolution 1441. [cite|author=Blix, Hans|title=Thirteenth quarterly report of the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in accordance with paragraph 12 of Security council resolution 1284 (1999)|publisher=UNMOVIC|date=2003-05-13] [cite web|title=Selected Security Council Briefings|url=http://www.unmovic.org/|publisher=UNMOVIC|accessdate=2002-09-07] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,895882,00.html Hans Blix's briefing to the security council] Retrieved 30 January 2008]

Formal search after the invasion

After the invasion, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), headed by American David Kay, was tasked with searching for WMD. The survey ultimately concluded that Iraqi production of WMD ceased and all major stockpiles were destroyed in 1991 when sanctions were imposed, but that the expertise to restart production once sanctions were lifted was preserved. The group also concluded that Iraq continued developing long range missiles proscribed by the U.N. until just before the 2003 invasion.

In an interim report on October 3, 2003, Kay reported that the group had "not yet found stocks of weapons", but had discovered "dozens of WMD-related program activities" including clandestine laboratories "suitable for continuing CBW [chemical and biological warfare] research", a prison laboratory complex "possibly used in human testing of BW agents", a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B bacteria kept in one scientist's home, small parts and twelve year old documents "that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment", partially declared UAVs and undeclared fuel for Scud missiles with ranges beyond the 150 km U.N. limits, " [p] lans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km", attempts to acquire long range missile technology from North Korea, and document destruction in headquarters buildings in Baghdad. None of the WMD programs involved active production; they instead appeared to be targeted at retaining the expertise needed to resume work once sanctions were dropped. Iraqi personnel involved with much of this work indicated they had orders to conceal it from U.N. weapons inspectors.cite web|title=Statement by David Kay on the Interim Progress Report on the Activities of the Iraq Survey Group|url=https://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/2003/david_kay_10022003.html|publisher=Central Intelligence Agency|accessdate=2006-09-08] [cite news|title=Iraqi scientists gives up 12-year-old nuclear parts|url=http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/21314/newsDate/27-Jun-2003/story.htm|date=2003-06-27]

After Charles Duelfer took over from Kay in January 2004, Kay said at a Senate hearing that "we were almost all wrong" about Iraq having stockpiles of WMD, but that the other ISG findings made Iraq potentially "more dangerous" than was thought before the war. [cite news|title=Transcript: David Kay at Senate Hearing|url=http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/01/28/kay.transcript/|source=CNN|date=2004-01-28] [ [http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KAY401A.html Dr David Kay's Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee] Retrieved 30 January 2008] In an interview, Kay said that "a lot" of the former Iraqi government's WMD program had been moved to Syria shortly before the 2003 invasion, albeit not including large stockpiles of weapons. [cite news|title=Saddam's WMD hidden in Syria, says Iraq survey chief|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/01/25/wirq25.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/01/25/ixnewstop.html|publisher=Telegraph.co.uk|date=2004-01-25]

On September 30, 2004, The ISG, under Charles Duelfer, issued a comprehensive report. The report stated that "Iraq's WMD capability ... was essentially destroyed in 1991" and that Saddam Hussein subsequently focused on ending the sanctions and "preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted". No evidence was found for continued active production of WMD subsequent to the imposition of sanctions in 1991, though " [b] y 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions". [cite web|title=Comprehensive report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD|url=https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/|accessdate=2006-09-09]

The report concluded in its "Key Findings" that: "Saddam [Hussein] so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone.... The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam. Instead, his lieutenants understood WMD revival was his goal from their long association with Saddam and his infrequent, but firm, verbal comments and directions to them." The report also noted that "Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of [Iraq's WMD revival] policy.... The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary." A March 2005 addendum to the report stated that " [B] ased on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials."cite web|title=Comprehensive Revised Report with Addendums on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (Duelfer Report)|url=http://www.gpoaccess.gov/duelfer/|publisher=U.S. Government Printing Office|accessdate=2006-09-09] [cite web|title=Addendums to the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD|url=http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/DuelferRpt/Addendums.pdf|publisher=U.S. Government Printing Office|date=2005-03|format=PDF]

On January 12, 2005, US military forces abandoned the formal search. Transcripts from high level meetings within Saddam Hussein's government before the invasion are consistent with the ISG conclusion that he destroyed his stockpiles of WMD but maintained the expertise to restart production. [cite news|title=Documents Show Saddam's WMD Frustrations|url=http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1751481|publisher=ABC News International|date=2006-03-21]

Discovery of degraded chemical weapons

During the post-invasion search for WMD, U.S. and Polish forces located some degraded chemical weapons that dated to the Iran-Iraq war. These discoveries led former senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and representative Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), conservative Republicans and fierce supporters of the war, to claim that the U.S. had indeed found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.cite news|title=Hundreds of chemical weapons found in Iraq: US Intelligence|url=http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/06/22/060622055545.07o4imol.html|publisher=Breitbart.com|date=2006-06-22] cite web|author=Negroponte, John D.|title=Iraqi Chemical Munitions|url=http://intelligence.house.gov/Media/PDFS/DNILetter.pdf|publisher=U.S. Director of National Intelligence|format=pdf|date=2006-06-21]

These assertions were directly contradicted by weapons experts David Kay, the original director of the Iraq Survey Group, and his successor Charles Duelfer. Both Kay and Duelfer made clear that the chemical weapons found were not the "weapons of mass destruction" that the U.S. was looking for and that their discovery did not suggest a broader chemical weapons stockpile or an ongoing weapons program under Saddam Hussein. Kay added that experts on Iraq's chemical weapons are in "almost 100 percent agreement" that sarin nerve agent produced in the 1980s would no longer be dangerous and that the chemical weapons found were "less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point". In reply, Hoekstra said "I am 100 percent sure if David Kay had the opportunity to look at the reports.. he would agree.. these things are lethal and deadly." [cite news|first=Katherine|last=Shrader|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/22/AR2006062201475.html|title=New Intel Report Reignites Iraq Arms Fight|publisher=The Washington Post|date=22 June 2006|accessdate=2007-05-22]

The degraded chemical weapons were first discovered in May 2004, when a binary sarin nerve gas shell was used in an improvised explosive device (roadside bomb) in Iraq. The device exploded before it could be disarmed, and two soldiers displayed symptoms of minor sarin exposure. The 155 mm shell was unmarked and rigged as if it were a normal high explosive shell, indicating that the insurgents who placed the device did not know it contained nerve gas. Earlier in the month, a shell containing mustard gas was found abandoned in the median of a road in Baghdad. cite news|title=Tests Confirm Sarin in Iraqi Artillery Shell|url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120268,00.html|publisher=Fox News|date=2004-05-19] cite news|title=Iraq Sarin Find Worries U.S.|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/07/06/iraq/main627580.shtml|publisher=CBS News|date=2004-05-14]

In July 2004, Polish troops also found evidence of degraded chemical weapons when they discovered insurgents trying to purchase cyclosarin gas warheads produced during the Iran-Iraq war. In their efforts to thwart insurgents acquiring these weapons, Polish troops purchased two rockets on June 23, 2004. The U.S. military later determined that the two rockets had only trace elements of sarin that were so small and deteriorated as to be virtually harmless and would have "limited to no impact if used by insurgents against coalition forces" [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3861197.stm "Troops 'foil Iraq nerve gas bid"] . "BBC News", July 2, 2004. Retrieved on May 22, 2007.]


The failure to find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq caused considerable controversy, particularly in the United States. U.S. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair defended their decision to go to war, citing the fact that many nations, even those opposed to war, believed that the Hussein government was actively developing WMDs. Critics such as Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean charged that the Bush and Blair administrations deliberately falsified evidence to build a case for war. [Baker, Russ. [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20030407/baker "The Big Lie"] . "The Nation", March 20, 2003.] . These criticisms were strengthened with the 2005 release of the so-called Downing Street Memo, written in July 2002, in which the former head of British Military Intelligence wrote that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed [by the US] around the policy" of removing Saddam Hussein from power. [cite web| url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0517/dailyUpdate.html|title=Why has "Downing Street memo" story been a "dud" in US?|publisher=Christian Science Monitor| accessdate=2007-03-17]

While the Downing Street Memo and the yellowcake uranium scandal lend credence to claims that intelligence was manipulated, two bipartisan investigations, one by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the other by a specially appointed Iraq Intelligence Commission chaired by Charles Robb and Laurence Silberman, found no direct evidence of political pressure applied to intelligence analysts. [ [http://www.factcheck.org/iraq_what_did_congress_know_and_when.html "Iraq: What Did Congress Know, And When?"] . "FactCheck.org", November 19, 2005. Retrieved on May 22, 2007.] An independent assessment by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found, however, that Bush Administration officials did misuse intelligence in their public communications. For example, Vice President Dick Cheney's September 2002 statement on Meet the Press that "we do know, with absolute certainty, that he (Saddam) is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon" was inconsistent with the views of the intelligence community at the time. [ [http://www.factcheck.org/iraq_what_did_congress_know_and_when.html "Iraq: What Did Congress Know, And When?"] . "FactCheck.org", November 19, 2005. Retrieved on May 22, 2007.]

A study coauthored by nonprofit journalism organization the Center for Public Integrity found that in the two years after September 11, 2001 the president and top administration officials had made 935 false statements, in an orchestrated public relations campaign to galvanize public opinion for the war, and that the press was largely complicit in its uncritical coverage of the reasons adduced for going to war. [Center for Public Integrity, January 23, 2008 [http://www.publicintegrity.org/WarCard/Default.aspx?src=home&context=overview&id=945 Iraq: The War Card] ] [Associated Press, January 23, 2008 [http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MISINFORMATION_STUDY?SITE=MITRA&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Study: Bush Led U.S. To War on ‘False Pretenses’] ] PBS commentator Bill Moyers had made similar points throughout the run up to the Iraq War, and prior to a national press conference on the Iraq War Moyers correctly predicted "at least a dozen times during this press conference he [the President] will invoke 9/11 and Al Qaeda to justify a preemptive attack on a country that has not attacked America. But the White House press corps will ask no hard questions tonight about those claims." [cite web|url=http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2007/04/bill_moyers_on_the_record.html|title=Bill Moyers: On the record|publisher=PBS (The Moyers Blog)|author=Bill Moyers] cite news|title=Buying the war|publisher=Public Broadcasting System|author=Bill Moyers|date=April 25, 2007|url=http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/transcript1.html] Moyers later also denounced the complicitly of the press in the administration's campaign for the war, saying that the media "surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with [the US] government in marching to war," and that the administration "needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on."

Many in the intelligence community expressed sincere regret over the flawed predictions about Iraqi weapons programs. Testifying before Congress in January 2004, David Kay, the original director of the Iraq Survey Group, said unequivocally that "It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing." [ [http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/01/28/kay.transcript/ Transcript: David Kay at Senate hearing - Jan. 28, 2004] ] He later added in an interview that the intelligence community owed the President an apology. [Comments on intelligence failure:
* [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/01/25/sprj.nirq.kay/ Kay: No evidence Iraq stockpiled WMDs]
*cite news|title=Bush takes responsibility for invasion intelligence|url=http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/14/bush.iraq/index.html|publisher=CNN|date=2005-12-14
*cite news|title=Transcript of Bush speech|url=http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/14/bush.transcript/index.html|publisher=CNN|date=2005-12-14
*cite news|title=No evidence Iraq stockpiled WMDs|url=http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/01/25/sprj.nirq.kay/|date=2004-01-26
*cite news|title=White House knew there were no WMD: CIA|publisher=Sydney Morning Herald|date=2006-04-22|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/breaking-news/white-house-knew-there-were-no-wmd-cia/2006/04/22/1145344306427.html

In the aftermath of the invasion, much attention was also paid to the role of the press in promoting government claims concerning WMD production in Iraq. Between 1998 and 2003, "The New York Times" and other influential U.S. newspapers published numerous articles about suspected Iraqi rearmament programs with headlines like "Iraqi Work Toward A-Bomb Reported" and "Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort." It later turned out that many of the sources for these articles were unreliable, and that some were tied to Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi exile with close ties to the Bush Administration who was a consistent supporter of an invasion.cite news|author=Kagan, Robert|title=It Wasn't Just Miller's Story|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/24/AR2005102401405.html|date=2005-10-25] [cite news|title=The New York Times' role in promoting war on Iraq|url=http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939624187.html|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=2004-03-23] [cite web|title=The Source of the Trouble|url=http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/media/features/9226/index.html|publisher=New York Magazine|accessdate=2006-09-08]

Some controversy also exists regarding whether the invasion increased or decreased the potential for nuclear proliferation. For example, hundreds of tons of dual-use high explosives that could be used to detonate fissile material in a nuclear weapon were sealed by the IAEA at the Al Qa'qaa site in January 2003. Immediately before the invasion, UN Inspectors had checked the locked bunker doors, but not the actual contents; the bunkers also had large ventilation shafts that were not sealed. By October, the material was no longer present. The IAEA expressed concerns that the material might have been looted after the invasion, posing a nuclear proliferation threat. The U.S. released satellite photographs from March 17, showing trucks at the site large enough to remove substantial amounts of material before U.S. forces reached the area in April. Ultimately, Major Austin Pearson of Task Force Bullet, a task force charged with securing and destroying Iraqi ammunition after the invasion, stated that the task force had removed about 250 tons of material from the site and had detonated it or used it to detonate other munitions. Similar concerns were raised about other dual use materials, such as high strength aluminum; before the invasion, the U.S. cited them as evidence for an Iraqi nuclear weapons program, while the IAEA was satisfied that they were being used for permitted industrial uses; after the war, the IAEA emphasized the proliferation concern, while the Duelfer report mentioned the material's use as scrap. Possible chemical weapons laboratories have also been found which were built subsequent to the 2003 invasion, apparently by insurgent forces. [Insurgent laboratories:
*cite news|title=Missing Iraqi nuke equipment worries IAEA|url=http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/12/iraq.nuclear/index.html|publisher=CNN|date=2004-10-12
*cite news|title=Nuclear materials 'vanish' in Iraq|url=http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/11/iraq.nuclear/index.html/|publisher=CNN|date=2004-10-12
*cite news|title=U.S. Team Took 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions|url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,137017,00.html|publisher=Fox News|date=2004-10-30
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/13/AR2005081300530.html Iraqi Chemical Stash Uncovered]

On August 2, 2004, President Bush stated "Knowing what I know today we still would have gone on into Iraq.… The decision I made is the right decision. The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power." [cite web|title=President's Remarks on Intelligence Reform|url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/08/20040802-2.html |accessdate=2006-09-11]

Iraqi links to terrorist organizations

Along with Iraq's alleged development of WMDs, another justification for invasion was the purported link between Saddam Hussein's government and terrorist organizations, in particular Al-Qaeda.cite web| url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030205-1.html| date=February 5, 2003| title=U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Addresses the U.N. Security Council | first=Colin| last=Powell| publisher=Whitehouse.gov| accessdate=2006-05-25] In that sense, the Bush Administration cast the Iraq war as part of the broader War on Terrorism. As with the argument that Iraq was developing biological and nuclear weapons, evidence linking Hussein and Al-Qaeda was discredited by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies soon after the invasion of Iraq. [Smith, Jeffrey R. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/05/AR2007040502263.html "Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted"] . The Washington Post, April 6, 2007. Retrieved on May 9, 2007.]


In asserting a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, the Bush Administration focused special attention on alleged ties between Hussein and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who Secretary of State Powell called a "collaborator of Osama bin Laden."cite web| url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030205-1.html| date=February 5, 2003| title=U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Addresses the U.N. Security Council | first=Colin| last=Powell| publisher=Whitehouse.gov| accessdate=2006-05-25] Soon after the start of the war, however, evidence of such ties was discredited by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Department's Inspector General's Office. A CIA report in early October 2004 "found no clear evidence of Iraq harboring Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1321538,00.html There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq] ] More broadly, the CIA's Kerr Group summarized in 2004 that despite "a 'purposely aggressive approach' in conducting exhaustive and repetitive searches for such links... [the U.S.] Intelligence Community remained firm in its assessment that no operational or collaborative relationship existed." [ [http://irrationallyinformed.com//pdfcollection/20040729_Kerr_Report.pdf Kerr Report] ] Despite these findings, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has continued to assert that a link existed between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which has drawn criticism from members of the intelligence community and leading Democrats. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6533367.stm Cheney asserts Iraq-al Qaeda link] ] As of the invasion, Bush's own State Department listed 45 countries, including the United States where Al Qaeda was active. Iraq was not one of them [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20030403220403/http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/terrornet/12.htm Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda] ] . The eventual lack of evidence linking the Hussein government and Al Qaeda led many war critics to allege that the Bush Administration purposely fabricated such links to strengthen the case for the invasion. [ [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_alleged_linkage_of_Saddam_Hussein_with_Osama_bin_Laden%2C_al_Qaeda_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction The alleged linkage of Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction] ] These claims were supported by the July 2005 release of the so-called Downing Street Memo, in which Richard Dearlove (then head of British foreign intelligence service MI6) wrote that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed [by the US] around the policy" of removing Saddam Hussein from power. [cite web| url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0517/dailyUpdate.html|title=Why has "Downing Street memo" story been a "dud" in US?|publisher=Christian Science Monitor| accessdate=2007-03-17] In addition, in his April 2007 report Acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble found that the Defense Department's Office of Special Plans -- run by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, a close ally of Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- purposely manipulated evidence to strengthen the case for war. [Smith, Jeffrey R. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/05/AR2007040502263.html "Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted"] . The Washington Post, April 6, 2007. Retrieved on May 9, 2007.] The Inspector General's report also highlighted the role of members of the Iraqi National Congress, a group headed by Ahmad Chalabi in providing false intelligence about connections with al-Qaeda to build support for a U.S. invasion. [ [http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0316-02.htm Global Misinformation Campaign was Used to Build Case for War] ] [ [http://www.cjr.org/issues/2004/4/mccollam-list.asp The List by Douglas McCollam] ]

Other terrorist organizations

In making its case for an invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration also made mention of Saddam Hussein's relationships with terrorist organizations besides al Qaeda. For example, the Bush Administration alleged that Hussein regularly paid as much as $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers, some of whom were working with militant organizations in the Middle East such as Hamas. [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/04/03/world/main505316.shtml Salaries For Suicide Bombers, Iraq Pays $25,000 To Families Of 'Martyrs'] ]

Human rights

The U.S. has cited the United Nations in condemnation of Hussein's human right abuses as one of several reasons for the Iraq invasion.

As evidence supporting U.S. and British claims about Iraqi WMDs and links to terrorism weakened, the Bush Administration began to focus more upon the other issues that Congress had articulated within the Iraq Resolution such as human rights violations of the Hussein government as justification for military intervention. [ [http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2003-07/30/article04.shtml Senators Slam Shifting Iraq War Justification.] "Islamonline". July 30, 2003. ] That the Hussein government consistently and violently violated the human right of its people is in little doubt. [ [http://web.amnesty.org/pages/irq-index-eng "Decades of human rights abuses in Iraq"] . Amnesty International, retrieved on May 16, 2007.] During his more than twenty-year rule, Hussein killed and tortured thousands of Iraqi citizens, including gassing and killing thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq during the mid 1980s, brutally repressing Shia and Kurdish uprisings following the 1991 Gulf War, and a fifteen year campaign of repression and displacement of the Marsh Arabs in Southern Iraq. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,866942,00.html Rumsfeld 'offered help to Saddam'] ] [ [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3294143/ Conflict in Iraq] ] [ [http://www.hrw.org/reports/1992/Iraq926.htm The 1991 Uprising in Iraq And Its Aftermath] ] [ [http://www.hrw.org/press/2003/01/iraq012503.htm Iraq: Devastation of Marsh Arabs] ] Hussein's brutal human rights record notwithstanding, war critics have severely questioned its use as rationale for military intervention.

Many critics have argued that human rights was never a principal justification for the war, and that it became prominent only after evidence concerning WMDs and Hussein's links to terrorism became discredited. For example, during a July 29, 2003, hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz spent the majority of his testimony discussing Hussein's human rights record, causing Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) to complain that "in the months leading up to the war it was a steady drum beat of weapons of mass destruction, weapons of mass destruction, weapons of mass destruction. And, Secretary Wolfowitz, in your almost hour-long testimony here this morning, once -- only once did you mention weapons of mass destruction, and that was an ad lib." [ [http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=494 Testimony as Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Joshua Bolten, and Acting Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, General John Keane"] . U.S. Department of DefenseOffice of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), July 29, 2003]

Leading human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International further argued that even had human rights concerns been a central rationale for the invasion, military intervention would not have been justifiable on humanitarian grounds. As Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth wrote in 2004, despite Hussein's horrific human rights record, "the killing in Iraq at the time was not of the exceptional nature that would justify such intervention." [ Roth, Ken. [http://hrw.org/wr2k4/3.htm "War in Iraq: Not a Humanitarian Intervention"] "Human Rights Watch". January 2004. Retrieved April 6, 2007. ]

More broadly, war critics have argued that the U.S. supported the Hussein regime during the 1980s, a period of some of his worst human rights abuses, thus casting doubt on the sincerity of claims that military intervention was for humanitarian purposes. Documents from the National Security Archive released in 2003 show that the U.S. provided considerable military and financial support during the Iran-Iraq war with full knowledge that the Hussein government was regularly using chemical weapons on Iranian soldiers and Kurdish insurgents. [Battle, Joyce (ed.). [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/ "Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984"] . National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82. February 25, 2003. Retrieved on May 17, 2007.] Following along this line, critics of the use of human rights as a rationale, such as Columbia University Law Professor Michael Dorf, have pointed out that during his first campaign for president Bush was highly critical of using U.S. military might for humanitarian ends. [Dorf, Michael C. [http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20040818.html "Kerry Stands by His Iraq War Vote"] . "FindLaw.com", Aug. 18, 2004. Retrieved on May 17, 2007.] Others have questioned why military intervention for humanitarian reasons was justified in Iraq but not in other countries where human rights violations were even greater, such as Liberia or Darfur. [ [http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=494 Testimony as Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Joshua Bolten, and Acting Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, General John Keane"] . U.S. Department of DefenseOffice of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), July 29, 2003]

United Nations

In the end, by Article 1 of the UN Charter, the United Nations has the responsibility: "To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. [http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/ Charter of the United Nations] ] By UN Charter Article 39, the responsibility for this determination lies with the Security Council Although every UN member has the right to bring these human rights issues before the Security Council, none have.


Oil not a factor in the Iraq war

Tony Blair stated the theory the Iraq invasion was primarily about oil to be a "conspiracy theory". [ [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,875173,00.html Blair: Iraq oil claim is 'conspiracy theory'] ] Then Australian Prime Minister John Howard has dismissed on multiple occasions the role of oil in the Iraq Invasion: "We didn't go there because of oil and we don't remain there because of oil."cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Australia 'has Iraq oil interest' | date= | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6272168.stm | work =BBC | pages = | accessdate = 2008-04-03 | language = ] In early 2003 John Howard stated "No criticism is more outrageous than the claim that United States behaviour is driven by a wish to take control of Iraq's oil reserves."

Oil a factor in the Iraq war

In April 2001, President George W. Bush's Cabinet agreed to use military intervention in Iraq, because it was considered a destabilizing influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. [Mackay, N. (Oct 6, 2002) [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20021006/ai_n12580286 "Official: US oil at the heart of Iraq crisis,"] "The Sunday Herald" (Scotland)] Neoconservatives in the U.S. called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields and planned for a "coup d'etat" long before the September 11th attacks, hoping a new government would use, "Iraq's oil to destroy the OPEC cartel through massive increases in production above OPEC quotas." Those plans were abandoned shortly after the invasion because former Shell Oil Company CEO Philip Carroll, who had been charged with their implementation, refused to be involved with Iraqi oil industry privatization since it could have led to the exclusion of U.S. firms, [Beaumont, P. and Islam, F. (November 3, 2002) [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,825103,00.html "Carve-up of oil riches begins,"] "The Observer" (London: Guardian Newspapers)] [Palast, G. (October 24, 2005) [http://www.gregpalast.com/opec-and-the-economic-conquest-of-iraqrnwhy-iraq-still-sells-its-oil-a-la-cartelrntwilight-of-the-neocon-gods/ "OPEC and The Economic Conquest of Iraq,"] "Harper's Magazine"] unlike the state-run oil ministry. [Fortson, D. (7 January 2007) [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2132569.ece "Future of Iraq: The sp"oil"s of war,"] "The Independent" (London)] U.S. oil industry consultant Falah Aljibury alleged that soon after Bush took office in 2001, he took part in secret meetings in Washington, the Middle East, and California involving an overthrow of the Iraq regime. Aljibury told BBC's "Newsnight" that he, "interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration."Palast, G. (17 March 2005) [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4354269.stm "Secret US plans for Iraq's oil,"] "BBC Newsnight"]

In an August 30 2005 speech, Bush stated a role of the occupation of Iraq was to prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists: “If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks. They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions.” [ [http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2661 Bush’s Implicit Answer to Cindy Sheehan’s Question] ] [ [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/08/31/bush_gives_new_reason_for_iraq_war/ Bush gives new reason for Iraq war] ]

Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said in an interview that the removal of Saddam Hussein had been "essential" to secure world oil supplies, a point he emphasized to the White House in private conversations before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. [ The Washington Post, September 17, 2007 [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/16/AR2007091601287.html Greenspan: Ouster Of Hussein Crucial For Oil Security] ] Additionally, in his memoir, Mr. Greenspan writes: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." [ [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2170237,00.html Greenspan admits Iraq was about oil, as deaths put at 1.2m] ] However, a Bush Administration foreign policy critic Dr. Robert Jervis stated: "Indeed, it is quite likely that failure [in Iraq] will lead the most common explanation to be that the war was fought for oil and Israel. This would be unfortunate." [99: Robert Jervis. 2005. American Foreign Policy in a New Era. Introduction, page 4.] The invasion was initially called Operation Iraqi Liberation [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030324-4.html March 24, 2003 White House Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer] ] until the acronym OIL was noticed and it was changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

One report by BBC journalist Gregory Palast citing unnamed "insiders" alleged that the US "called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4354269.stm Secret US plans for Iraq's oil] ] and planned for a coup d'état in Iraq began long before September 11th. It was also alleged by BBC's Greg Palast that the "new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the OPEC cartel through massive increases in production above OPEC quotas", but in reality Iraq oil production decreased with the neoconservative strategy and had the opposite effect. [ [http://www.metamute.org/en/Apocalypse-and-or-Business-as-Usual.-The-Energy-Debate-After-the-2004-US-Presidential-Elections Apocalypse and/or Business as Usual? The Energy Debate After the 2004 US Presidential Elections] ]

Many critics have focused upon administration officials past relationship with energy sector corporations. Both the President and Vice President were formerly CEOs of oil and oil-related companies such as Arbusto, Harken Energy, Spectrum 7, and Halliburton. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq and even before the War on Terror, the administration had prompted anxiety over whether the private sector ties of cabinet members (including National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former director of Chevron, and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, former head of Tom Brown Inc.) would affect their judgment on energy policy. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1138009.stm "BBC News Analysis: Oil and the Bush cabinet" Monday, 29 January, 2001] ] None of these officials however were in a position to benefit from energy policy decisions; all of the relationships had been severed before taking office.

In July 2007, then Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson stated that oil was a major factor in the government's decision to keep troops in Iraq:

"Obviously the Middle East itself, not only Iraq, but the entire region, is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world. And Australians and all of us need to think well what would happen if there were a premature withdrawal from Iraq...One of the other priorities for us as we go forward into the future is energy security. It's not only for Australia. I think we derive about 20 per cent of our own oil reserves from the Middle East. But there are many countries, including developing countries, which rely substantially on energy supplies from the Middle East...For those reasons in particular, all of those reasons, one of which is energy security, it's extremely important that Australia take the view that it's in our interests, our security interests, to make sure that we leave the Middle East, and leave Iraq in particular, in a position of sustainable security." [http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s1970312.htm Australia must protect oil supply: Howard] ]

Private oil business

Iraq holds the world's second-largest proven oil reserves, with increasing exploration expected to enlarge them beyond convert|200|Goilbbl|m3 of "high-grade crude, extraordinarily cheap to produce." [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/irqindx.htm Global Policy Forum: Oil in Iraq] retrieved 26 July 2007] In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, Iraq contains convert|112|Goilbbl|m3 of proven oil reserves, along with roughly convert|220|Goilbbl|m3 of probable and possible resources. For comparison, Saudi Arabia--the largest source of oil in the world--has convert|260|Goilbbl|m3 of proven oil reserves. [ [http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Iraq/Background.html Iraq Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis - Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal] ] [ [http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/43045/?page=1 War on Iraq: Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil] ]

Organizations such as the Global Policy Forum (GPF) have asserted that Iraq's oil is "the central feature of the political landscape" there, and that as a result of the 2003 invasion,"'friendly' companies expect to gain most of the lucrative oil deals that will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in profits in the coming decades." According to GPF, U.S. influence over the 2005 Constitution of Iraq has made sure it "contains language that guarantees a major role for foreign companies." [ [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2005/crudedesigns.htm#washington "Crude Designs." Greg Muttitt, Global Policy Forum, November 2005] ]

trategic importance of oil

Oil exerts tremendous economic and political influence worldwide, although the line between political and economic influence is not always distinct. The importance of oil to national security is unlike that of any other commodity: :"Modern warfare particularly depends on oil, because virtually all weapons systems rely on oil-based fuel – tanks, trucks, armored vehicles, self-propelled artillery pieces, airplanes, and naval ships. For this reason, the governments and general staffs of powerful nations seek to ensure a steady supply of oil during wartime, to fuel oil-hungry military forces in far-flung operational theaters. Such governments view their companies’ global interests as synonymous with the national interest and they readily support their companies’ efforts to control new production sources, to overwhelm foreign rivals, and to gain the most favorable pipeline routes and other transportation and distribution channels." [ [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2003/2003companiesiniraq.htm "Oil Companies in Iraq:A Century of Rivalry and War". James A. Paul, Global Policy Forum, November 2003] ] Critics of the Iraq War contend that U.S. officials and representatives from the private sector were planning just this kind of mutually supportive relationship as early as 2001, when the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations produced "Strategic Energy Policy: Challenges for the 21st Century," a report describing the long-term threat of energy crises such as blackouts and rising fuel prices then playing havoc with the state of California. The report recommended a comprehensive review of U.S. military, energy, economic, and political policy toward Iraq "with the aim to lowering anti-Americanism in the Middle East and elsewhere, and set the groundwork to eventually ease Iraqi oil-field investment restrictions." [ [http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3535.htm#3 Strategic Energy Policy: Challenges for the 21st Century.] ] The report's urgent tone stood in contrast to the relatively calm speech Chevron CEO Kenneth T. Derr had given the Commonwealth Club of California two years earlier, before the California electricity crisis, where he said::"It might surprise you to learn that even though Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas—reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to—I fully agree with the sanctions we have imposed on Iraq." [ [http://www.chevron.com/news/archive/chevron_speech/1998/98-11-05.asp "Engagement: A Better Alternative." Speech by Kenneth T. Derr to the Commonwealth Club of California, San Francisco, California, November 5, 1998] ]

Oil and foreign relations

Post-Iraq invasion opinion polls conducted in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey showed that the majority in each country tended to "doubt the sincerity of the War on Terrorism," which they characterized instead as "an effort to control Mideast oil and to dominate the world." [ [http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=206 Pew Center Poll: "A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists"] ] Although there has been disagreement about where the alleged will to control and dominate originates, skeptics of the War on Terror have pointed early [ [http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100102_bush_advisors.html "Bush Advisers Planned Iraq War Since 1990s." Joe Taglieri, "From the Wilderness", 2002] ] and often [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/14/books/14kaku.html?ex=1185595200&en=c85d7c9a765d6b61&ei=5070 "Supporter's Voice Now Turns on Bush." Michiko Kakutani reviews Francis Fukuyama, "New York Times", March 14, 2006] ] to the Project for a New American Century, a neoconservative think tank established in 1997 by William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The organization made plain its position on oil, territory, and the use of force in series of publications, including:
*a 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton::"It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. [...] The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing." [ [http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm "Letter to President Clinton on Iraq." PNAC, January 26, 1998] ]

*a September 2000 report on foreign policy:: "American forces, along with British and French units...represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." [ [http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf "Rebuilding America's Defenses." PNAC, September 2000] ]

*a May, 2001 call to "Liberate Iraq"::"Twice since 1980, Saddam has tried to dominate the Middle East by waging wars against neighbors that could have given him control of the region's oil wealth and the identity of the Arab world. [ [http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraq-20010514.htm Liberate Iraq] Reuel Marc Gerecht, "The Weekly Standard", May 14, 2001] ]

*a 2004 apologia::"His [Saddam Hussein's] clear and unwavering ambition, an ambition nurtured and acted upon across three decades, was to dominate the Middle East, both economically and militarily, by attempting to acquire the lion's share of the region's oil and by intimidating or destroying anyone who stood in his way. This, too, was a sufficient reason to remove him from power." [ [http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraq-20040217.htm "The Right War for the Right Reasons." Robert Kagan & William Kristol, "Weekly Standard", February 27, 2004] ]

Of 18 signatories to the 1998 PNAC letter, 11 would later occupy positions in President Bush's administration: Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, John R. Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Robert B. Zoellick. [ [http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm "Letter to President Clinton on Iraq." PNAC, January 26, 1998] ] Administration officials Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, and Lewis Libby were signatories to the 1997 PNAC "Statement of Principles." [ [http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm PNAC "Statement of Principles." June 3, 1997] ]

Oil money for rebuilding

In a March 16, 2003 "Meet the Press" interview of Vice President Dick Cheney, held less than a week before the Iraq War began, host Tim Russert asked the vice president about the anticipated costs of the war and its subsequent recovery. Cheney provided no numbers but noted: [http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/bush/cheneymeetthepress.htm Transcript of a March 16, 2003 interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney by NBC's "Meet the Press"] , from the website for the International Relations Program at Mount Holyoke College] :It’s important, though, to recognize that we’ve got a different set of circumstances than we’ve had in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan you’ve got a nation without significant resources. In Iraq you’ve got a nation that’s got the second-largest oil reserves in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia. It will generate billions of dollars a year in cash flow if they get back to their production of roughly three million barrels of oil a day, in the relatively near future. And that flow of resources, obviously, belongs to the Iraqi people, needs to be put to use by the Iraqi people for the Iraqi people and that will be one of our major objectives.

Combating terrorism

In addition to claiming that the Hussein government had ties to Al-Qaeda, the Bush Administration and other supporters of the war have argued for continued involvement in Iraq as a means to combat terrorism. President Bush consistently refers to the Iraq war as the "central front in the war on terror." [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/20050628-7.html President Addresses Nation, Discusses Iraq, War on Terror] ] In contrast with this rationale, a few intelligence experts claim that the Iraq war has actually increased terrorism, even though no acts of terrorism have occurred within the US. London's conservative International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in 2004 that the occupation of Iraq had become "a potent global recruitment pretext" for jihadists and that the invasion "galvanized" al-Qaeda and "perversely inspired insurgent violence" there. [http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0526-05.htm] Counter-terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna has called the invasion of Iraq as a "fatal mistake" that has greatly increased terrorism in the Middle East. [Rohan Gunaratna, "The Post-Madrid Face of Al Qaeda," "Washington Quarterly" 27:3 (Summer 2004) p. 98.] The U.S. National Intelligence Council concluded in a January 2005 report that the war in Iraq had become a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists; David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, indicated that the report concluded that the war in Iraq provided terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills.... here is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries." The Council's Chairman Robert L. Hutchings said, "At the moment, Iraq is a magnet for international terrorist activity." [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7460-2005Jan13.html] And the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, which outlined the considered judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, held that "The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement." [http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/Declassified_NIE_Key_Judgments.pdf]

Al-Qaeda leaders have also publicly cited the Iraq war as a boon to their recruiting and operational efforts, providing both evidence to jihadists worldwide that America is at war with Islam, and the training ground for a new generation of jihadists to practice attacks on American forces. In October 2003, Osama bin Laden announced: "Be glad of the good news: America is mired in the swamps of the Tigris and Euphrates. Bush is, through Iraq and its oil, easy prey. Here is he now, thank God, in an embarrassing situation and here is America today being ruined before the eyes of the whole world." [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ACB47241-D25F-46CB-B673-56FAB1C2837F.htm] Echoing this sentiment, Al-Qaeda commander Seif al-Adl gloated about the war in Iraq, indicating, "The Americans took the bait and fell into our trap." [http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/623/60/] A letter thought to be from al-Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman found in Iraq among the rubble where al-Zarqawi was killed and released by the U.S. military in October 2006, indicated that al-Qaeda perceived the war as beneficial to its goals: "The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness ... indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest." [ [http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1006/p01s04-woiq.html How Al Qaeda views a long Iraq war] ]

Other rationales

Bringing democracy to the Middle East

One of the rationales that the Bush Administration employed periodically during the run-up to the Iraq war is that deposing Saddam Hussein and installing a democratic government in Iraq would promote democracy in other Middle Eastern countries. [Wright, Steven. "The United States and Persian Gulf Security: The Foundations of the War on Terror", Ithaca Press, 2007 ISBN 978-0863723216] [cite news|url=http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0929-23.htm|title=Record Shows Bush Shifting on Iraq War|author=Mark Sandalow|publisher=San Francisco Chronicle|date=2004 September 29] The United States also proclaims that monarchies Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the military ruled Pakistan are allies of America, despite the human rights abuses and subversion of democracy attributed to them respectively. As Vice President Dick Cheney argued in an August 2002 speech to the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, "When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace." [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/08/20020826.html Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention] ] At a 2003 Veterans' Day address, President Bush stated: [cite web|url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031111-10.html|title=President Bush Discusses Iraq in Veterans Day Address|publisher=The White House|date=2003 November 11|accessdate=2008-01-18]

Establishing long term Middle East military presence

U.S. General Jay Garner, who was in charge of planning and administering post-war reconstruction in Iraq, compared the U.S. occupation of Iraq to the Philippine model in a 2004 interview in National Journal: "Look back on the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century: they were a coaling station for the navy, and that allowed us to keep a great presence in the Pacific. That's what Iraq is for the next few decades: our coaling station that gives us great presence in the Middle East" , "One of the most important things we can do right now is start getting basing rights with (the Iraqi authorities)", "I hope they're there a long time.... And I think we'll have basing rights in the north and basing rights in the south... we'd want to keep at least a brigade", Garner added [Interview in National Journal cite web |url=http://nationaljournal.com/members/news/2004/03/0310insider.htm |title=Garner: Federalism Can Avert Civil War In Iraq (03/10/2004) |accessdate=2007-06-18 |format= |work= quoted in cite web |url=http://www.alternet.org/story/17923/ |title=AlterNet: Bush Lies Uncovered |accessdate=2007-06-18 |format= |work=; See also Philippine-American War]

Also, the House report accompanying the emergency spending legislation said the money was "of a magnitude normally associated with permanent bases". [BBC News, March 30, 2006, [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4834032.stm Iraq bases spur questions over US plans] ]

Divine inspiration

Nabil Shaath told the BBC that according to minutes of a conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Bush said, "God inspired me to hit al Qaeda, and so I hit it. And I had the inspiration to hit Saddam, and so I hit him." Haaretz provided a similar translation of the minutes. When an Arabist at the "Washington Post" translated the same transcript, Bush was said to have indicated that God inspired him to, "end the tyranny in Iraq," instead. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/08/AR2005100801094.html "Washington Post:" Interpretation of Bush's Comments Reignites Debate] October 9, 2005]

Purported Iraqi intelligence plots

David Harrison claims in the "Telegraph" to have found secret documents that purport to show Russian President Vladimir Putin offering the use of assassins to Saddam's Iraqi regime to kill Western targets on November 27 2000. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/13/wrus13.xml Revealed: Russia spied on Blair for Saddam] ] This story has disappeared from the media since it was first reported in April 2003; the documents themselves have never materialized.

October 12, 2002 - Newsmax wrote that CNSNews correspondent Jeff Johnson reported US Senator Spector wanted a probe of the Oklahoma City bombing link to Iraq after receiving 22 sworn affidavits by Oklahoma residents identifying 8 Middle Eastern men, including a former Iraqi Republican Guard (Hussain Al-Hussaini) from former KFOR-TV reporter Jayna Davis. [ [http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/10/11/145841.shtml Sen. Specter Wants Probe of Possible Link Between Iraq, Oklahoma Bombing] ] Jayna Davis had theorised on the purported links between Oklahoma City (OKC) bombing and Iraqcite web| url=http://www.okcbombing.org/News%20Articles/america_act_selfdefense.htm| publisher=OKCBombing.org| title=America Should Act in Self Defense Against Iraq For 9/11, OKC, 1993 WTC Attacks| date=September 5, 2002 | first=Patrick B.| last=Briley| accessdate=2006-07-14] as well OKC bombing to Al-Qaeda. [ [http://www.jaynadavis.com/story090502-wsj1.html The Iraq Connection] ]

Abdul Rahman Yasin, a suspect detained shortly after the 1993 US World Trade Center Bombing attacks, fled upon release into Iraq. Shortly after release, the FBI had discovered evidence linking him to the creation of the bomb. After the invasion, Iraqi government official documents translated from Arabic to English described Saddam's regime provided monthly payments to Yasin while in residing in the United States. Yasin is on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list, and is still at large. [ [http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorists/fugitives.htm Most Wanted Terrorists] ] [ [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-09-17-iraq-wtc_x.htm Iraq sheltered suspect in '93 WTC attack] ]

John Lumpkin, Assiciated Press Writer, consolidates statements made by Vice President Cheney concerning the 1993 WTC bombing and Iraq. Cheney indicated Saddam's Iraqi government claimed to have FBI Fugitive Yasin, alleged participant in the mixing of the chemicals making the bomb used in the 1993 WTC attack, in an Iraqi prison. During negotiations in the weeks prior the invasion of Iraq, Saddam refused to extradite him.

Fox News claimed that evidence found in Iraq after the invasion was used to stop the attempted assassination of the Pakistani ambassador in New York with a shoulder fired rocket. [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,124658,00.html Iraqi Oil-for-Food Official Killed] ]

U.S. government officials have claimed that after the invasion, Yemen and Jordan stopped Iraqi terroristic attacks against Western targets in those nations. U.S. intelligence also warned 10 other countries that small groups of Iraqi intelligence agents may be readying similar attacks.cite news| url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53096-2004Jun18.html| title= Russia Warned U.S. About Iraq, Putin Says| first= Walter| last= Pincus| publisher=Washington Post| date=June 19, 2004| pages=A11| accessdate=2006-07-14]

After the Beslan school hostage crisis, public school layouts and crisis plans were retrieved on a disk recovered during an Iraqi raid and had raised concerns in the United States. The information on the disks was "all publicly available on the Internet" and U.S. officials "said it was unclear who downloaded the information and stressed there is no evidence of any specific threats involving the schools." [ [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-10-07-school-disk_x.htm Computer disc found in Iraq contained U.S. school plans] ]

Preemption of terrorist ties

Promoters of the war often referenced the religion of Islam, which proponents claimed was likely to have produced a future alliance between Iraq and rogue terrorist elements, and claim this was sufficient case for the "preventative or preemptive war," as outlined in the "Just War" clause of the Bush Doctrine.Critics have charged that, in the absence of material reasons, the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, a fraud, or (as claimed by anti-War intellectuals and activists) a "crime of aggression," as defined in the Nuremberg Principles. As of 2006, as many as 76% of the American public has been polled as believing the war to be a "mistake."

Pressuring Saudi Arabia

The operations in Iraq came about as a result of the US attempting to put pressure on Saudi Arabia. Much of the funding for Al Qaeda came from sources in Saudi Arabia through channels left over from the Afghan War. The US, wanting to staunch such financial support, pressured the Saudi leadership to cooperate with the West. The Saudis in power, fearing an Islamic backlash if they cooperated with the US which could push them from power, refused. In order to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to cooperate, the invasion of Iraq was conceived. Such an action would demonstrate the power of the US military, put US troops near to Saudi Arabia, and demonstrate that the US did not need Saudi allies to project itself in the Middle East [Friedman, George "America’s Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and Its Enemies" Doubleday, 2004 ISBN 0385512457 pg. ?] .

Criticisms of the rationale for the Iraq war

Despite these efforts to sway public opinion, the invasion of Iraq was seen by some including Kofi Annan, [cite news|title=Iraq war illegal, says Annan |publisher=BBC |date=2004-09-16 |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3661134.stm] United Nations Secretary-General, Lord Goldsmith, British Attorney General, [ [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/document/2003/0307advice.htm British Attorney General's Advice to Blair on Legality of Iraq War] ] and Human Rights Watch [ [http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/arms/iraq0202003.htm International Humanitarian Law Issues In A Potential War In Iraq] ] as a violation of international law, [ [http://www.globelaw.com/Iraq/Preventive_war_after_iraq.htm#_ftn15 Preventive War] ] breaking the UN Charter (see Legitimacy of the 2003 invasion of Iraq), especially since the U.S. failed to secure U.N. support for an invasion of Iraq. In 41 countries the majority of the populace did not support an invasion of Iraq without U.N. sanction and half said an invasion should not occur under any circumstances. [http://www.gallup-international.com/download/GIA%20press%20release%20Iraq%20Survey%202003.pdf Iraq Survey 2003] . Gallup International.] In the U.S., 73 percent of Americans supported an invasion. To build international support the United States formed a "Coalition of the Willing" with the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia and several other countries despite a majority of citizens in these countries opposing the invasion. Massive protests of the war have occurred in the U.S. and elsewhere. [cite news|title=Cities jammed in worldwide protest of war in Iraq |publisher=CNN |date=2003-02-16 |url=http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/15/sprj.irq.protests.main] [cite news|title='Million' march against Iraq war |publisher=BBC |date=2003-02-16 |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2765041.stm] [ [http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/content_pages/record.asp?recordid=54365 Largest Anti-War Rally] . Guinness Book of World Records.] At the time of the invasion UNMOVIC inspectors were ordered out by the United Nations. The inspectors requested more time because "disarmament, and at any rate verification, cannot be instant." [cite news|title=Blix wants months - and Straw offers 10 days |publisher=The Guardian |date= 2003-03-07 |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,909793,00.html] cite news
title = Transcript of Blix's U.N. presentation
url = http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/03/07/sprj.irq.un.transcript.blix/
publisher = CNN
date = 2003-03-07
accessdate = 2008-01-09
quote = How much time would it take to resolve the key remaining disarmament tasks? While cooperation can -- cooperation can and is to be immediate, disarmament, and at any rate verification of it, cannot be instant. Even with a proactive Iraqi attitude induced by continued outside pressure, it will still take some time to verify sites and items, analyze documents, interview relevant persons and draw conclusions. It will not take years, nor weeks, but months.
archiveurl =
archivedate =

Following the invasion, no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were found, although about 500 abandoned chemical munitions, mostly degraded, remaining from Iraq's Iran-Iraq war, were collected from around the country [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A12115-2004Oct6?language=printer] [cite news|title=Sarin, Mustard Gas Discovered Separately in Iraq |publisher=Fox News |date= 2004-05-17 |url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120137,00.html] [cite news|title=Hundreds of chemical weapons found in Iraq |publisher=Breitbart |date= 2006-06-22 |url=http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/06/22/060622055545.07o4imol.html] . The Kelly Affair highlighted a possible attempt by the British government to cover-up fabrications in British intelligence, the exposure of which would have undermined the Prime Minister's original rationale for involvement in the war. The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found no substantial evidence for reputed links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. [ [http://intelligence.senate.gov/phaseiiaccuracy.pdf United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] Retrieved Sep. 10, 2006.] President George W. Bush has since admitted that "much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong". [cite news|title=Bush takes responsibility for invasion intelligence |publisher=CNN |date= 2005-12-14 |url=http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/14/bush.iraq/index.html] [cite news|title=Transcript of Bush speech |publisher=CNN |date=2005-12-14 |url=http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/14/bush.transcript/index.html] [cite news|title=Bush admits Iraq intelligence was wrong |publisher=The Guardian |date=2005-12-14 |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1667412,00.html] Although evidence of WMD was searched for by the Iraq Survey Group, their final report of September 2004 stated, "While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered." [cite news|title=Iraq Survey Group Final Report |publisher=GlobalSecurity.Org|url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol3_cw_key-findings.htm] In the March 2005 Addendum to the Report, the Special Advisor furthermore went on to state that "ISG assesses that Iraq and Coalition Forces will continue to discover small numbers ofdegraded chemical weapons, which the former Regime mislaid or improperly destroyed priorto 1991. ISG believes the bulk of these weapons were likely abandoned, forgotten and lost during the Iran-Iraq war because tens of thousands of CW munitions were forward deployed along frequently and rapidly shifting battlefronts." [cite news|title=Addendums to the Comprehensive Report |publisher=GlobalSecurity.Org |url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2005/isg-addendums_mar2005.pdf] (For comparison, the U.S. Department of Defense itself was famously unable in 1998 to report the whereabouts of "56 airplanes, 32 tanks and 36 Javelin command launch units".) [cite news|title=Government’s financial systems fall flat |publisher=Government Computer News |date=2000-06-24|url=http://www.gcn.com/print/vol19_no20a/2482-1.html] ISG also believed that Saddam did not want to verifiably disarm Iraq of WMD, as required by U.N. resolutions, for fear of looking weak to his enemies. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol1_rsi-05.htm]

Claire Short claims that in July 2002, UK government ministers were warned that Britain was committed to participating in a U.S. invasion of Iraq, and a further allegation was that “the decision by Blair’s government to participate in the U.S. invasion of Iraq bypassed proper government procedures and ignored opposition to the war from Britain’s intelligence quarters.“ [cite web|title=Claire Short|url=http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/entity.jsp?entity=claire_short] . Tony Blair had agreed to back military action to oust Saddam Hussein with an assessment regarding WMD, at a summit at President George W. Bush's Texas ranch. Also present at the meeting, were Geoff Hoon, then-British defence secretary, Jack Straw, then-British foreign secretary, and Sir Richard Dearlove, then-chief of MI6.

In Europe the peace movement was very strong, [cite news|title=Millions march against war |publisher=Boston.Com |date=2003-02-16 |url=http://www.boston.com/news/packages/iraq/globe_stories/021603_marches.htm] [cite news|title=No reason to rest |publisher=Al-Ahram Weekly |date=2004-04-08 to 2004-04-14 |url=http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/685/re1.htm] especially in Germany, where three quarters of the population were opposed to the war. [cite news|title=Analysis: Germany finds a voice |publisher=BBC |date=2003-02-03 |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2720317.stm] Ten NATO member countries did not join the coalition with the U.S., and their leaders made public statements in opposition to the invasion of Iraq. These leaders included Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2720317.stm Schreder] ] Jacques Chirac of France, [ [http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2003/0224/cover/story.html Chrac says "non"] ] Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium, [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/17/iraq/main540851.shtml Verhodstadt] ] and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. [ [http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/20031022-1507-turkey-iraq.html Turkey] ] Public perceptions of the U.S. changed dramatically as a consequence of the invasion. [cite news|title=America's Image Further Erodes, Europeans Want Weaker Ties |publisher=The Pew Research Center |date=2003-03-18|url=http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=175] [cite news|title=A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists|publisher=The Pew Research Center |date=2004-03-16|url=http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=206]

Other possible U.S. objectives, denied by the U.S. government but acknowledged by retired U.S. General Jay Garner, included the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq as a way of projecting power (creating a credible threat of U.S. military intervention) to the oil-rich Persian Gulf region and the Middle East generally. [ [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/justify/2004/0221chalabigarner.htm Garner] ] In February 2004, Jay Garner, who was in charge of planning and administering post-war reconstruction in Iraq, explained that the U.S. occupation of Iraq was comparable to the Philippine model: "Look back on the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century: they were a coaling station for the navy, and that allowed us to keep a great presence in the Pacific. That's what Iraq is for the next few decades: our coaling station that gives us great presence in the Middle East"; [cite news|title=Bush Lies Uncovered |publisher=AlterNet |date=2004-02-23 |url=http://www.alternet.org/story/17923/] (see also Philippine-American War). Garner was replaced by Paul Bremer after reports came out of his position in SY Coleman, a division of defense contractor L-3 Communications specializing in missile-defense systems. It was believed his role in the company was in contention with his role in Iraq. [cite news|title=General reverses his role |publisher=The San Francisco Chronicle |date=2003-02-26 |url=http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/02/26/BU48310.DTL] The House Appropriations Committee said the report accompanying the emergency spending legislation was "of a magnitude normally associated with permanent bases." [cite news|title=Iraq bases spur questions over US plans |publisher=BBC |date=2006-03-30 |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4834032.stm] However, the United States House of Representatives voted in 2006 to not fund any permanent bases in Iraq. [cite news|title=The Will of the People’s House Is Clear: No Permanent Bases in Iraq |publisher=U.S. House of Representatives: Tom Allen Homepage |url=http://tomallen.house.gov/article.asp?id=647]

ee also

*2003 invasion of Iraq
*Legitimacy of the 2003 invasion of Iraq
*Iraq resolution
*Legality of the Iraq war
*The UN Security Council and the Iraq war
*Public relations preparations for 2003 invasion of Iraq


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