The U.S. invasion of Iraq, whose 20th anniversary occurs this month, provides a perfect demonstration of why so many people around the world believe that the U.S. government suffers from a very grave case of hypocrisy. While U.S. officials decry Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with great vehemence, they somehow block out of their minds their own deadly and destructive invasion, war of aggression, and long-term occupation of Iraq.
Not only have U.S. officials not even offered an apology for what they did to the Iraqi people, they still expect the American people to thank the troops for what they did to the people of Iraq.
Let’s keep one important, undisputed fact in mind: Iraq never attacked or invaded the United States. It was the United States that was the invader and the aggressor. That’s why I use the term “war of aggression.” It is a term that was used at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal to convict and condemn German officials who did the same thing to other countries in World War II that the U.S. did to Iraq.
That means that under international law, U.S. troops had no legal authority to kill even one Iraqi. Yet, they killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. We are still expected to thank the troops for their “service” in killing an enormously large number of people they had no right to kill.
There is another important, undisputed fact to keep in mind: Congress never declared war on Iraq. Yet, our Constitution requires a congressional declaration of war before the president can legally wage war with his army against another nation. That makes the U.S. invasion, war of aggression, and occupation illegal under our own form of government.
Thus, the killing, maiming, injuring, or torturing of Iraqi citizens was illegal under our own form of government. Yet, we are still expected to thank the troops for their “service.”
U.S. officials have long claimed that their invasion of Iraq was based on an innocent mistake. They say that they honestly thought that Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction.”
But there is a serious flaw in that justification: The U.S. government had no legal authority to enforce WMD resolutions that had been enacted by the United Nations. Only the UN has the legal authority to enforce its own resolutions. It is undisputed that the UN never authorized an invasion of Iraq to enforce its WMD resolutions.
Equally important, the WMD claim was clearly a lie on the part of U.S. officials to garner American support for the invasion. After all, if it was truly an innocent mistake, once it became clear that there were no WMDs U.S. officials would have apologized for their deadly and destructive invasion and ordered the troops to return home. Instead, they kept the troops in Iraq, and they continued killing, injuring, maiming, and torturing Iraqis.
Moreover, once it became clear that there were no WMDs, U.S. officials quickly shifted their justification for their invasion, war of aggression, and occupation to bringing “freedom” to the Iraqi people. That’s why they called their war of aggression “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” But under international law, a nation is prohibited from invading another nation for the purpose of bringing “freedom” to the invaded country. Moreover, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, all those hundreds of thousands of Iraqis they killed are not enjoying “freedom” because they are dead.
Notice something else of importance: There has never been an official U.S. investigation — not even by Congress — into whether the WMD claim was, in fact, an innocent mistake or an intentional, deliberate, and knowing lie. Even while U.S. officials cry out for war-crimes indictments of Russian officials for supposed war crimes in Ukraine, they steadfastly oppose any indictments or even criminal investigations of U.S. officials who ordered and presided over the U.S. invasion, war of aggression, and long-term occupation of Iraq.
It is always easy to point out the faults, failures, and misdeeds of foreign regimes. It is much more difficult to focus on the faults, failures, and misdeeds of one’s own regime. We should bear in mind that when U.S. officials point their accusatory finger at Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, and other regimes, there are three more hypocritical fingers pointing back at them.