Invasion of Iraq was more than a ‘mistake’

10 January 2014

Invasion of Iraq was more than a ‘mistake’

The Dutch national daily newspaper nrc.next recently published an editorial on foreign involvement in Iraq which, in the SP’s view, had a euphemistic if not misleading tone. A few days later, on 10th January, 2014, the paper published this brief rejoinder from defence specialist Karel Koster, of the party’s research bureau.

The editorial’s euphemistic and misleading nature comes firstly from the one-sided emphasis on American war fatalities. Epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins University stated, on the basis of field research that by the end of June 2006 that more than 600.000 Iraqi deaths, military and civilian, were to be lamented. That is substantially different to the number of US military personnel killed - 4,488 in the whole of Iraq in the period 2003-2011.

A second point concerns the characterisation of the decision-making process prior to the invasion as a ‘mistake’. On the basis of a series of revelations and investigations, beginning as early as 2004, it transpires that the decision to invade had already been taken and that the absence of weapons of mass destruction was known about. As formulated by British intelligence chief Richard Dearlove in July of 2002, the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"; that policy was aimed at bringing about “regime change”. What is thus at issue here is whether preparations were being made to wage an illegal war. That is a violation of international law and a case for the International Court of Justice. That seems to me a much more serious characterisation that that of a ‘mistake’.

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