Conclusions About the Iraq War

On a military level the Iraq War was a clear demonstration of what happens when a force uses advanced technology coupled with 21st century tactics against a poorly trained opponent. Ultimately, Iraq stood little chance against professional Coalition forces which were steeped both physically and intellectually in the art of war. Casualties on the part of the Coalition were relatively light, while the Iraqis suffered the destruction of huge formations. Of course, morale played a part as well. Regular army units were not enthusiastic supporters of Saddam's regime, causing them to melt back into the population at the first opportunity. However, the Fedayeen and Baath party members were fanatical supporters, but spent themselves in suicidal attacks.

While the Coalition victory was impressive, the aftermath proved to be a longer struggle. It moved into a political phase, in the United States, in Iraq, and around the world. The goal of the U.S. was to bring stability and democracy to the region in the face of opposition by fanatics still infiltrating the country from outside (the Iraq Insurgency). The battle though was not just on the ground in Iraq; it was also fought out in the halls of the Congress of the United States and in the media. The question would be how much was the United States willing to pay in the lives of soldiers and the treasure of the nation in order to accomplish its goals? There is little question that if the U.S. does not establish peace in the region that the results will be disastrous for both the Iraqi people and U.S. prestige. Ultimately, the United States and its allies would be faced with terrorism on the home front.

Weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq after the Iraq War (though they were found after the Gulf War). Their probable existence was probably the chief justification for coalition actions - besides the humanitarian aspect presented by the benefits of destroying a murderous regime. However, at the time of the beginning of the Iraq war, all intelligence analysts believed that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons in development. The fact is that Saddam Hussein had a history of developing weapons of mass destruction. There is little doubt that he would indeed have put back in place the program which had been dismantled by the allies in 1992-93 once he got out from under the U.N.'s prying eyes, which looked likely with the support of both France and Russia.

In the final analysis the war could be justified on humanitarian, political, and military grounds. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were due to Saddam's brutality. He supported terrorists, going so far as to fund their recruiting efforts by paying the families of martyrs. Bringing democratic governance to the region could bring both stability and peace. Saddam was at war for most of his nearly thirty years in power. He was a destabilizing power in the region, spending the nation's vast oil wealth to fund military adventurism. Saddam was captured, hiding in a hole in the ground, in December of 2003. He was brought before a court in his own country in a trial that was more fair than any he allowed his political opposition. He was hanged for his terrible crimes.

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