Two questions are worth pondering this week as we mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq: What were the real reasons for the invasion? Was the invasion legal?
In an op/ed in the Austin American-Statesman, “Important truths behind an anti-war slogan,” Robert Jensen argues that we need to recognize the role of oil and oil profits in shaping U.S. policy.
Underneath the complex relationships and shifting strategies, the obvious question lingers: If the Middle East were not home to the largest reserves of the most easily accessible oil in the world, would we have gone to war in Iraq? Would so much of U.S. military power in recent decades have been focused on the Middle East if the main export from the region were figs? I ask ordinary people this question all the time: Why do U.S. policymakers care so much about the Middle East? Whether the audiences are young or old, conservative or liberal, the answer is always the same: Oil, of course.
In another op/ed, “An illegal anniversary,” on Truthout, Jensen also argues the invasion clearly was illegal:
No matter how much we all ignore it, here is the reality: The U.S. invasion of Iraq was unlawful. The leaders who planned and executed the war are criminals. U.S. citizens bear some responsibility for not holding those leaders accountable.
Looking at the relevant international and constitutional law, Jensen concludes:
Over and over in the United States, we proclaim our commitment to the rule of law—we are a nation of laws not men. If that were the case, we would turn over to the International Court of Justice high-ranking figures from the Bush administration, which initiated the war; from the Obama administration, which continued the war; from Congress, which enabled the war; and from the military, which prosecuted the war. We would determine the amount of reparations we owe Iraq and begin to make payments. And we would apologize to the Iraqi people, and to the world.