What everyone can agree on with respect to the current crisis in Iraq is that Operation Iraqi Freedom, the slogan that the Pentagon used in the run-up to its 2003 invasion of Iraq, has been one great big miserable failure. Despite Pentagon and CIA plans to convert Iraq into a paradise of freedom through massive death and destruction from bombs, missiles, tanks, and guns, the country today is one gigantic hell-hole of violence and the absence of freedom.
In fact, the Pentagon’s assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani is a perfect sign of the failure of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Suleimani’s presence in Iraq signified the ease by which Iranian officials, both military and non-military, visit Baghdad and travel easily around the city, which has to infuriate the Pentagon and the CIA. By contrast, U.S. officials know that if they try to do that, their lives will be quickly snuffed out in the land of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
How any American can still be an interventionist after this fiasco is beyond me. Operation Iraqi Freedom was supposed be the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s campaign to show the American people the “service” they could provide even though the Cold War was over. They could invade Third World countries and bring freedom to them through force of arms. Operation Iraqi Freedom was to be their showcase.
Let’s not forget, after all, that the Iraq invasion was a plain old war of aggression, a type of war that was condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg. The U.S. government attacked and invaded a country that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. It was Iraq, not the U.S. government, that was engaged in self-defense.
Compounding the war crime was the fact that Iraq was a Third World country, one that had been impoverished by more than a decade of brutal U.S. and UN sanctions. The outcome of the war was never in doubt, given that the most powerful regime in history was attacking and invading one of the weakest regimes in the world.
Let’s not forget that regime change had been the goal of brutal U.S. and UN sanctions for some 11 years prior to the post-9/11, fear-filled invasion of Iraq. During those 11 years of sanctions, U.S. officials had made it clear to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had once been a close friend and ally of the U.S. national-security establishment, that if he were to exit the country, the sanctions, which were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, would be lifted. U.S. officials hoped that Saddam would leave so that they could establish their paradise of freedom on the cheap — that is, without having to wreak death and destruction with an invasion and occupation.
It’s worth observing that as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there was never an upper limit on the number of Iraqis who could be killed and maimed in the effort to convert Iraq into a paradise of freedom. Any number of Iraqis killed and maimed would be considered “worth it,” even though obviously the dead would not be around to enjoy all that “freedom.”
Today, Iraqi officials are telling the Pentagon and the CIA to get out of their country. Time will tell whether the Pentagon and the CIA will comply with that directive. Nothing is certain. After all, they invaded the country without Iraq’s permission. They could decide to stay without Iraq’s permission. The situation in Iraq is deteriorating so rapidly that U.S. troops are now in danger of being targeted for death by both Iraqis and Iranians. What better confirmation of the failure of foreign interventionism than Operation Iraqi Freedom?