As of February 2007 3,103 US Soldiers have been killed and, 23,279 others seriously wounded in Iraq. $505 billion of US taxpayers’ funds, including $70 billion for fiscal year 2007 have been spent or approved for spending and President Bush is expected to request another $100 billion in war-spending for 2007 and $140 billion for 2008, which will bring the cumulative total to well over $700 billion (http://usliberals.about.com/od/homelandsecurit1/a/IraqNumbers.htm) According to CNN the Bush administration hopes to resettle about 7,000 Iraqi refugees to the United States this year. The war in Iraq has certainly taken a serious toll in US politics and life. So why did the US invade Iraq? Did they bargain for such a costly prolonged war? How would they plan their exit strategies?
It would be too simplistic to pin point one reason or the other for the war in Iraq, rather it’s an amalgamation of reasons with some factors being manipulated to cover more pragmatic reasons. The formal line of the State Department was that the war was to purge Iraq of Saddam Hussein and the Al-Qaeda, orchestrate a regime change, cleanse Iraq of WMD and instill values of liberal democracy in Iraq. The more pragmatic reason was to feed the Texas oil industries, and ensure that the US is on a secure footing to deal with an energy crisis that it would be facing during the next decade with the increased demands of China and India.
In retrospect it seems that the terrorism aspect of the whole game was a farce especially since there were no WMD in Iraq and since the al-Qaeda operated mainly from Saudi and other Middle East countries. Certainly there has been a regime change in Iraq but the political and economic instability that has plagued Iraq for the past few months begs the question if anything was really achieved in Iraq to improve the lives of the Iraqis.
It is also becoming increasingly clear that this invasion was orchestrated to gain control of the oil wells in Iraq. Does the US public have any information as to how much of oil is being pumped out, how many are being burnt and what oil pipe lines are being installed and what deals are being made with regards to taping also into the Caspian sea oil reserves by the US? If this line of reasoning is continued then an invasion was really inevitable since no country would allow another to pillage their natural resources. An invading army however can use the oil and re-route it and even say that it’s to cover the cost of making Iraq a liberal democracy! So a chaotic situation with looting, instability at least for some time would have been ideal for the US to set their plans in motion in the meantime. Only it seems that they didn’t gauge the dynamics of the situation well enough and didn’t bargain for being in Iraq for such a long time fighting for face saving purposes amidst growing international concern.
The exit strategy for US from Iraq after substantial human loss and spending seems to be mired on whether they achieved their main goals in Iraq. Now the US is seen to be pulling back troops. The exit strategy would obviously depend on if they achieved their unstated goals rather than on whether Iraq is now a better place for Iraqi’s to live.