2003 Iraq War

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Event.png 2003 Iraq War (War,  War Crime,  US Sponsored Regime-change efforts since 1945,  Supreme crime) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
US Embassy Baghdad.jpg
Bush's Baghdad Palace covering 104 acres is "visible from space"
Date2003 - Present
PerpetratorsUS, UK, Australia
Interest ofAlia Muhammad Baker, Peter van Buren, Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, Karen Kwiatkowski, Jim Molan, Office of Special Plans, Operation Mass Appeal, Scott Ritter, Dahlia Wasfi, Michael Yon
DescriptionA war for oil carried out after "Operation Mass Appeal" an MI6-backed propaganda campaign.

Not to be confused with the Gulf War (1990-91).

The 2003 Iraq War was an invasion of Iraq by the US and its allies. The major motive was control of the oil in Iraq, although this was not publicly admitted at the time. While feigning disinterest in public, BP told the UK Foreign Office that Iraq was "more important than anything we've seen for a long time".[1]

Wesley Clark talks about the Pentagon's decision to invade Iraq.

Official Narrative

Saddam Hussein was a bad man. The invasion was not a resource war for oil, but a last-ditch way to destroy the country's alleged weapons of mass destruction" and an act of humanitarian intervention. When the invasion was launched Iraq had been linked by an incessant drum-beat of propaganda in the commercially-controlled media to the attacks of 9/11. The Wikipedia infobox up to July 2017 used to declare the war to be "Part of the War on Terror",[2] but did not elaborate.

Operation Mass Appeal

Full article: Operation Mass Appeal

Operation Mass Appeal was a disinformation programme started in the late 1990s to facilitate later invasion of Iraq. MI6 worked on the project, as did figures in the UK Foreign Office.

Downing Street Memo

Full article: Downing Street Memo

"The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy", said Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, at a meeting in Downing Street of Tony Blair's war cabinet on 23 July 2002.

WMD claims

Full article: “Iraq/WMD”

On 6 September 2002, George W. Bush claimed that the IAEA had published a “new report” about Saddam Hussein’s efforts to create "weapons of mass destruction" the U.S. news-media reported the statement but hid that it was a lie. He said (and CNN and others quoted it): “a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need”. The IAEA issued a denial that there was any such report,[3] but US commercially-controlled media did not report their denial and reported Bush's claim without question.[4]

Dodgy dossier

Full article: Dodgy dossier

On 3 February 2003, as the drums of war on Iraq were rising in tempo and volume, the UK Government under Tony Blair released a document entitled "Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation", supposedly based on high level intelligence. It turn out that the majority of it was a word for word copy of an article written by Ibrahim al-Marashi, a US based undergraduate.[citation needed]

The reality

A graphical comparison of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan against 911 (numbers from the 2003 to 2010 period)

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a virtual failed state. The United States and its UK ally, beginning in 1991, bombed for much of the following 12 years, with one dubious excuse after another. In 2003, the US "Coalition of the willing" invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly. The people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives. More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile. The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium; the most awful birth defects; unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up; a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris; through a country that may never be put back together again. [5]

In 2004 Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill came forward and explained on the CBS News program 60 Minutes,[6][7] that the Bush Administration began laying plans for an invasion of Iraq within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001.


Full article: Iraq War/Opposition

Even before the war was waged, an unprecedented number of people marched to demonstrate their opposition to the plans for war. Tony Blair claimed to have been impressed by this demonstration, but this is not supported by an April 2002 cable in which Colin Powell stated that "On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary".


More than a million Iraqis would die as a result of this war, subsequent to Bush's minutely orchestrated "Mission Accomplished" publicity stunt in 2003

In spite of George W. Bush's claim that "You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror",[8] the US never documented any connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11, and indeed Iraq was not on the Pentagon's list of terrorist nations on September 11th. The 2003 Iraq War must be understood as a resource war for domination of the Middle East's remaining supplies towards the close of the age of cheap oil.

On July 17, 2003 Judicial Watch released documents obtained through a FOIA lawsuit from the Commerce Department,[9] concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force. These contain a:

"map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, which are dated March 2001 [...]"
"The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country’s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the projects, costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date."

In The Age of Turbulence (2007), Alan Greenspan wrote that "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." BP

Legal Status

This was heavily spun but the war was basically a war of aggression, the supreme international war crime. The US tried aggressively to involve as many other countries as possible into joining its "coalition of the willing". Efforts included illegal bugging of UN offices of other countries, as exposed by Katharine Gun‎. In November 2011, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission tried former US President George W. Bush and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in absentia, and convicted them both for crimes against peace because of what the tribunal concluded was the unlawful invasion of Iraq.

Saleh v. Bush

Full article: Saleh v. Bush

In 2013, the United States District Court in the Northern District of California heard a legal case brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh that the Iraq war was an illegal act of aggression planned at least as early as 1998. Her charges were in some ways analagous to those brought at Nuremberg, but were dismissed in December 2014 by a ruling (citing the 1988 Westfall Act) that - since Saleh could not prove that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz were not acting within the scope of their employment - they deserved the "absolute immunity" claimed for them by the US Department of Justice.[10]

Iraq Inquiry

Full article: Iraq Inquiry

The Iraq Inquiry (2009-16), a long-drawn-out public inquiry under Sir John Chilcot, took a forensic look at Britain's role in this 2003 invasion of Iraq. When the Chilcot Report was finally published on 6 July 2016,[11] the online magazine Bella Caledonia cautioned that the Iraq War had been sanitised:

"The scale, depth and method of the occupation of Iraq is a story untold in the public mind. Now it is necessary that everyone clearly understands the context for the rage against Blair and Bush domestically, and consequently the UK and the US across the Middle East.
"The lies about WMD and the claims of a 45-minute cataclysm are important. Those are deliberate lies which furnished the case for the war and are important. They opened the gates of carnage for a whole population. What follows will not be easy to read.
"But the US and the UK have to face up to their crimes for without justice there will be no peace."[12]

The Chilcot Inquiry did not consider the documents which revealed a series of meetings between UK ministers and senior oil executives in 2002.[1]

International Criminal Court

On 9 December 2020, the ICC published a 184-page report which announced the completion of its admissibility assessment of war crimes committed by the British in Iraq. The first paragraph of the Executive Summary reads:

On 13 May 2014, the Prosecutor re-opened the preliminary examination into the situation in Iraq/United Kingdom (UK).

In its 2017 Report on Preliminary Examination Activities, the Office announced that, following a thorough factual and legal assessment of the information available, it had reached the conclusion that there was a reasonable basis to believe that members of UK armed forces committed war crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court against persons in their custody.

The Office’s admissibility assessment has now been completed. For the reasons set out in this report, the Prosecutor does not conclude that the UK authorities have been unwilling genuinely to carry out relevant investigative inquiries and/or prosecutions (article 17(1)(a)) or that decisions not to prosecute in specific cases resulted from unwillingness genuinely to prosecute (article 17(1)(b)).

On this basis, having exhausted reasonable lines of enquiry arising from the information available, the Office has determined that the only appropriate decision is to close the preliminary examination without seeking authorisation to initiate an investigation.[13]

On 29 December 2020 Craig Murray reacted:

The launching of the Iraq War was itself the most serious single war crime of this century to date, and the ICC had previously ducked it by arguing that the Statute of Rome which founded the Court did not at the time of the war include illegal war of aggression among its list of war crimes. I argued then and I argue now that this did not remove that crime from its jurisdiction. The crime of illegal war of aggression was already firmly a part of customary international law and the very foundation of Nuremberg, so the ICC did not need specific mention in the Rome Statute to be able to prosecute it.[14]

The current ICC report on British war crimes in Iraq however simply blandly reiterates the line (para 35):

Finally, although a number of communication senders have also made allegations relating to decision of the UK authorities to launch the armed conflict, the Office takes no position on legality of war given the non-applicability of the crime of aggression at the material time.

It was perhaps always Utopian to imagine that Blair, Straw, Campbell, Scarlett, Dearlove etc would pay for their crimes. But it did seem very probable that the ICC would prosecute at least some of those directly responsible for committing war crimes on the ground. Alas, the ICC has now produced 184 pages of mealy-mouthed sophistry and responsibility-dodging to justify why there will be no further investigation, let alone prosecutions. I have read the full report and frankly it makes me feel sick.[15]

Weapons tests

The 2006 documentary Guerre stellari in Iraq
Full article: Weapons testing

The United States military has tested new advanced weaponry on the battlefield.[16][17][18][19] Reports of Iraqis that have seen very unusual injury to people and damage to vehicles have been recorded after the war (see documentary Guerre stellari in Iraq).


In 2006, the Lancet reported a figure of 655,000 excess deaths due to the war.[20] As of September 2015, Just Foreign Policy estimated Iraqi deaths at around 1.5 million.[21] As of August 2014, Iraq Body Count estimated that as an absolute minimum, 193,000 people have been killed as a result of the war, which the site describes as "a conservative cautious minimum". Extrapolating, this would mean a death toll of around 2-4 million. In 2007 Media Lens reported that IBC's figure was approximately 5-10% of the actual number.[22]


In 2005, the USA spent more than $25 million a day on "reconstruction" of Iraq, but in 2013 the Center For Public Integrity reported that "Waste, Fraud And Abuse" were commonplace,[23] see also the testimony of Peter van Buren about this.


Full article: Repeal of the 2002 AUMF

In 2021, the US House voted to repeal the 2002 ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq’ (AUMF). The vote passed 268 to 161..[24]

Lessons: twenty years on

Clare Short: Iraq War ‘terrible mistake’

The legacy of the war in Iraq has been to undermine faith in international law and institutions which has harmed millions of people all across the world, according to Clare Short, who resigned from the British government over the conflict.

Short, who had been International Development Secretary as the UK prepared to join its US allies in attacking Iraq, said the decision to invade without United Nations approval had consequences which are still being felt two decades on.

She was speaking to CGTN Europe's Jamie Owen (JO) in an interview to mark the twentieth anniversary of the war:

CS: "The first thing is the question of whether there was legal authority.
"One of the UK Legal Advisers (Elizabeth Wilmshurst) in the Foreign Office resigned saying there was no legal authority for war without UN approval.
"And then rumours were going around Whitehall saying that our soldiers wouldn't go without legal authority because they would be subject to the International Criminal Court.
"And then rumours that the Attorney General said there wasn't legal authority. And then right at the last minute, we got an abbreviated account of the legal advice, saying there was no problem at all: stuff like that. I was just hanging on thinking if there was no legal authority, we won't go.
"My big thing was: America didn't need British soldiers. They just needed an ally since the rest of the world was against it. So Britain was a token. My view was if we could hold on to Tony, we might even delay the invasion and get American policy to put the interests of the people of Iraq first rather than hubris to show what a big, strong power they were, because they were so angry about the September 11th attack on the Twin Towers."
JO: "Did you realise the invasion of Iraq was going wrong and not going according to plan?"
CS: "I knew all along that things were not being properly considered. There was no new emergency. There was an old issue of whether there were chemical or biological weapons. The UN had been supervising, that's why these cruel sanctions were there for years. UNICEF famously said 500,000 children had lost their lives: very, very serious inflicting enormous harm.
"But there the behaviour of the occupiers caused such resistance and division in Iraq that absolute mayhem and violence and disorder was everywhere, and people were suffering terribly.
"I mean there was no chance of any decent future for Iraq, and it's still troubled now."
JO: "And did no-one around the Cabinet table in the UK in this march to war consider what would happen after the invasion? Was there no debate, no consideration of what happens next, no plan?"
CS: "Very little. The truth is the Americans were leading, Britain was just joining in. So America – Rumsfeld US Secretary of Defense – famously said:
'We don't do nation building!'
"They made no plans. They believed in their propaganda. Of course, Saddam Hussein was a very cruel ruler, and not popular with the people of Iraq. So they thought the people would welcome them, and they could just carry on with their lives and there wouldn't be any trouble. An utterly irresponsible lack of planning."
JO: "How much did the Iraq War change the wider world, change the international community, change the United Nations and change the relationship between government and its people?"
CS: "I think the failure to get UN authorisation, which meant it was an illegal invasion, was a complete defiance of international law. And that diminished respect for international law. That diminution of trust and respect for international law is a very serious problem for all of us, because it means more invasions, more war.
"The great achievement after the Second World War was that no country was allowed to take land by force, invade any other country. That was to stop all those endless wars in the preceding period.
"And that's gone, and in Britain the trust in politicians and government is much lower."
JO: "Twenty years on, how should we, how do you remember the Iraq War?"
CS: "I remember the Iraq War as a terrible mistake: lies, breaches of international law, terrible destruction.
"It brought shame on the government, diminished its reputation, alienated me from my party.
"The only thing to do now is learn lessons and try and bring peace and development to the people of Iraq who have suffered terribly."[25]


Related Quotations

David Aaronovitch“If nothing is eventually found, I – as a supporter of the war – will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again. And, more to the point, neither will anyone else. Those weapons had better be there somewhere.”David Aaronovitch
Jimmy Carter“Nowadays, because of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq by Bush and Blair, which was a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements, and the lack of any effort to resolve the Palestinian issue, [there is] massive Islamic condemnation of the United States. (...) (American media organisations), have been cowed, because they didn't want to be unpatriotic. There has been a lack of inquisitive journalism. In fact, it's hard to think of a major medium in the United States that has been objective and fair and balanced, and critical when criticism was deserved”Jimmy Carter2004
Midge Decter“We're not in the Middle East to bring sweetness and light to the world. We're there to get something we and our friends in Europe depend on. Namely, oil.”Midge Decter21 May 2004
Jörg Haider“Asked about the impression that Saddam is better for him than Bush, Haider said: "The choice is really hard for me. Both have been at war with international law and committed human rights violations. The one is lucky enough to command a world power, hence the power to write the laws, while the other has been a weak dictator"”Jörg Haider
Money laundering“Beginning in the very earliest days of the war in Iraq, the New York Federal Reserve shipped billions of dollars in physical cash to Baghdad to pay for the reopening of the government and restoration of basic services.

The money was packed onto pallets inside a heavily guarded New York Federal Reserve compound in East Rutherford, New Jersey, trucked to Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, and flown by military aircraft to Baghdad International Airport.

By one account, the New York Fed shipped about $40 billion in cash between 2003 and 2008. In just the first two years, the shipments included more than 281 million individual bills weighing a total of 363 tons. But soon after the money arrived in the chaos of war-torn Baghdad, the paper trail documenting who controlled it all began to go cold.”
Eamon Javers25 October 2011
Petrodollar“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”Alan Greenspan2007
Rendon Group“"Did you ever stop to wonder," Rendon later remarked, "how the people of Kuwait City, after being held hostage for seven long and painful months, were able to get hand-held American — and, for that matter, the flags of other coalition countries?" After a pause, he added, "Well, you now know the answer. That was one of my jobs then."”James Bamford17 November 2005


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Cabinet Office Briefing Paper 21 July 2002briefing paper12 June 2005Generated for participants for the secret meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, this classified paper states that since regime change was illegal it was "necessary to create the conditions" which would make it legal. The last page is missing.
Document:Former MI6 chief behind faked “evidence” for Iraq war leading anti-China Wuhan lab conspiracyArticle10 June 2021Julie HylandPresident Biden's intelligence service order relating to the Wuhan lab leak theory was issued the same day that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, gave evidence before a parliamentary committee in which he confirmed a government policy to allow tens of thousands to die from Covid-19.
Document:Gaddafi's 2009 speech: "Let's call it the UN Terror Council"Speech23 September 2009Muammar GaddafiNo one is above the UN General Assembly. All nations should be and should be seen to be on an equal footing. At present, the UN Security Council is security feudalism, political feudalism for those with permanent seats, protected by them and used against us. It should be called, not the UN Security Council, but the UN Terror Council.
Document:Guilt by AssociationBook2008Jeff GatesA copiously referenced account of the extent to which Zionist Israeli interests have taken effective control of the US state, their methodology and their responsibility for taking America to war in Iraq in 2003
Document:How British journalists are seduced by the Ministry of Defence and spooksArticle28 September 2021Richard Norton-TaylorIn the world of the spooks, few in the media raised questions about the root causes of terror attacks in Britain even when Eliza Manningham-Buller, then head of MI5, warned that the invasion of Iraq would increase the terrorist threat in Britain.
Document:Manning Memo 14 March 2002memo14 March 2002David Manning
Document:Peter Ricketts Memo 22 March 2002memo22 March 2002Peter Ricketts
Document:Sanitising the Iraq Wararticle6 July 2016Jonathon ShafiThe full horror of what Blair unleashed will never be truly understood in the West. And, internationally the full consequences of this war are still to be felt. As the sister of a soldier killed in Iraq said: “There is one terrorist in this world and his name is Tony Blair.”
Document:Striving to Make Sense of the Ukraine Warblog post4 April 2022Craig MurrayThese things can be true at the same time: a) The Russian invasion of Ukraine is illegal: Putin is a war criminal; b) The US led invasion of Iraq was illegal: Blair and Bush are war criminals.
Document:Suffer the little childrenArticle12 November 2012Susie BonifaceNine years ago the BBC was at the centre of another frenzy when it similarly accused the government of misleading the public. Only then it wasn't child abuse, it was starting a war after publicly stating our enemy could launch chemical weapons within 45 minutes of the order being given.
Document:The Death of David Kelly and the "Sexed Up" WMD Reportarticle21 February 2008Stephen Frost
David Halpin
Christopher Burns-Cox
Paul Brandon
Document:The Man Who Sold the WarWikispooks Page17 November 2005James Bamford
Document:The Woman who nearly Stopped the Wararticle19 March 2008Martin BrightIn January 2003 Katharine Gun, a translator at GCHQ, learned something so outrageous that she sacrificed her career to tell the truth. Martin Bright on a brave deed that should not be forgotten.
Document:The Word We Dare Not Speakarticle24 February 2011John Pilger
Document:The bloody legacy of Bomber BlairArticle1 January 2022Alex Snowdon"Petition for Tony Blair to have his 'Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter' rescinded" Such an honour rests upon expecting us to conveniently forget or ignore the enormous damage that Blair did. People are right to be angry.
File:PSR Body Count.pdfreport15 March 2015IPPNWCasualty figures for the 'War on Terror' after 10 years
Document:Saddam Hussain message to the people of Iraqletter30 December 2006Saddam Hussein
Document:Saddam Hussein letter to the American Peopleletter7 July 2006Saddam Hussein
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  1. a b https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/secret-memos-expose-link-between-oil-firms-and-invasion-of-iraq-2269610.html
  2. later it is named: "Part of the Iraqi conflict and the War on Terror"
  3. http://web.archive.org/web/20021031194304/http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/P_release/2002/prn0211.shtml
  4. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/09/americas-news-is-heavily-censored.html
  5. William Blum The Anti-Empire Report #143 - 5 February 2016
  6. http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/10/oneill.bush/
  7. https://alt.politics.narkive.com/PvjWBCzp/invasion-of-iraq-was-planned-before-911-so-was-the-war-in-afghanistan
  8. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/leadup-iraq-war-timeline
  9. http://web.archive.org/web/20030725000859/http://www.judicialwatch.org/071703.b_PR.shtml
  10. http://witnessiraq.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/12-19-14-Order.pdf
  11. "Statement by Sir John Chilcot: 6 July 2016"
  12. Document:Sanitising the Iraq War
  13. "Situation in Iraq/UK – Final Report"
  14. "Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court"
  15. "The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible"
  16. https://turntoislam.com/community/threads/the-%E2%80%9Cpain-ray%E2%80%9C-another-u-s-made-torturous-weapon-for-iraqis.16032/ saved at Archive.org saved at Archive.is
  17. http://web.archive.org/web/20150404122351/http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Super-secret-microwave-weapons-may-be-used-in-Iraq-1093533.php saved at Archive.is
  18. http://web.archive.org/web/20060815005718/http://www.willthomas.net/Convergence/Weekly/Microwaving_Iraq.htm
  19. http://web.archive.org/web/20060913053044/http://www.willthomas.net/Convergence/Weekly/Microwave_Weapons.htm
  20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6998458.stm
  21. http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq
  22. http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2007/521-iraq-body-count-a-very-misleading-exercise.html
  23. https://publicintegrity.org/national-security/waste-fraud-and-abuse-commonplace-in-iraq-reconstruction-effort/
  24. https://www.rt.com/usa/526835-us-house-iraq-authorization-repeal/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome
  25. "Distrust from Iraq War still tarnishes world today: former UK minister"