March 20, 2023 marks 20 years since the US invasion of Iraq and the eight long years of war that followed. Known as the Second Persian Gulf War, it began after the September 11th attacks that prompted George W. Bush’s War on Terror. A survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2002 showed more than half of Americans supported Bush’s efforts. However, 20 years later, the Iraq War has had long-lasting, damaging impacts on Iraq.
The invasion was initiated by the Bush administration’s claims of Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, which were later proven to be false. Yet, post September 11, the beginning of the War on Terror marked a wave of colonial violence by the United States which left five million Iraqi children orphaned, over 100,000 Iraqi individuals dead, and countless more displaced in a country that faced and continues to face wide social and economic change. The US invasion of Iraq was unjust and its impact on the region cannot be overlooked.
The United States also did significant damage to the preservation of Iraqi cultural heritage. According to the Global Policy Forum, over a thousand artifacts were smuggled out of the country by the United States, and several Iraqi museums and libraries were damaged as well. Such actions damaged the cultural and historical preservation for generations to come.
We cannot let history repeat itself. Currently, Iraq is still undergoing social, economic, and political issues that were further exacerbated by the war. We cannot forget the countless lives, families, and generations devastated by US military action and the overwhelming support from the American people for an invasion based on falsehoods spread by an administration within the American government.
Editors: Phoebe H., Alisha B., Chris C., Lang D.
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