Aftermath of the Iraqi War

The Iraqi War was a conflict between the United States and its allies, against Saddam Hussein’s Baath Socialist government from 2003 to 2011, although most UN coalition forces left the country in 2009 as support for the war across the war waned. The entire war was started based on claims by Iraqi defectors and moles the Central Intelligence Agency had within Iraq that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s). Saddam Hussein came into to power in 1968, when he participated in a bloodless coup and became deputy of the country under Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. He finally became the leader of the country when he took over in 1979 by executing many of Ba’ath officials and forcing the incumbent president, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, to resign. He formally assumed the presidency after that.

On March 20th, 2003, the United States and its allies arrived in Iraq, attacking and crippling the Iraqi army as Bush ordered an airstrike on Hussein’s compound in Baghdad. In only twenty days, Iraq’s capital, Baghdad fell, and soon, Saddam Hussein was captured and executed for his crimes in the Iraqi war and the first Persian Gulf War. However, UN inspectors entered the country in late 2003 and searched for Iraqi possession of WMDs. However, the inspectors concluded that they did not find any WMDs. The claim that Iraq possessed WMDs was based on information from a CIA informant who presented evidence to the CIA that Iraq possessed biological weapons. However, on February 15th, 2011, the defector openly admitted that he lied to the CIA to get the United States to attack Iraq and bring down Saddam Hussein. However, George W. Bush publicly announced that Saddam Hussein was purposely provoking the West by avoiding the sanctions and embargos set on Iraq.

This war had many cultural, economic, and political effects on the Iraqi state. One of the most significant cultural effects was the Sunni and Shia uprisings after Hussein’ s socialist government fell. The Shia uprising occurred because when the United States assisted Iraq to form an interim government, many religious leaders, including the most prominent Shia cleric, Ali al-Sistani, was left out of this government, and he called for his people to oppose the democratic elections that were happening in the country at the time. Many Shia insurgents stepped up their attacks after this call for freedom by their cleric, and the Shia sections in Baghdad were terrorized by attacks and bombings. As 2004 approached, insurgents reorganized themselves and this is the cause of the latter part of the Iraqi war, as the United States and the coalition forces fought against terrorists. However, the conflict between the insurgency and the UN coalition forces was not the most devastating result of the war.

People have never considered the scope of the economic damage that the Iraqi war caused to the countries involved, most notably the United States. George Bush estimated the war would cost fifty to sixty billion dollars. However, in 2008, estimates by many analysts are convinced that the war had cost the United States alone 3 trillion dollars. That is approximately 60 thousand times the number George Bush gave us. When the war had begun, the price of oil per barrel was under 25 dollars. However, by the end of the war in 2011, the oil per barrel price had increased to 140 dollars per barrel. Also, because of the Iraqi War, it dampened the many investment opportunities the United States could have obtained in the Middle East. Finally, in 2003, the US national debt was at 6.4 trillion dollars. However, in 2008, the US national debt soared to 10 trillion dollars just because of the war.

The political effects on the world that resulted from the Iraqi war were numerous. In 2007, 67 percent of Republicans thought the US was making progress in the Iraqi war. However, only 16 percent of Democrats thought that the US was making progress. George Bush argued that if the US does not defeat the terrorists outside of the United States, then the terrorists would follow the US and attack on US land. The biggest political effect of the Iraqi war was the change of governments as Hussein’s Baath Socialist party to a democratic, federal parliamentary Islamic Republic. Saddam Hussein held power for 27 years as a dictator and there was no opposition to his government. As his party fell, Shiite and Sunni parties emerged and they are currently playing tug of war over power and control of Iraq right now. Many countries consider Iraq a threat because Iraq has admitted to be in possession of chemical weapons.

To be honest, the physical geography cannot be really affected by a war. However, the environmental impact of the war can be measured. The carbon footprint left behind by the war is devastating. It is estimated in 2007 that the carbon footprint left behind by the Iraqi war at the time is equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom flying to Hong Kong and back 3 times. That is approximately 250 to 600 million tons of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (C02E) released into the Iraqi atmosphere.

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