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‘The rush of battle is often potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug’, says Chris Hedges, a senior war journalist and author. These are also the opening lines of Oscar-winning movie- The Hurt Locker. And these are the lines that exactly describe the past decade.

10 years, more than 175,000 violent deaths, loss of 2.2 trillion dollars, an unstable democracy and even unstable region…

This is not the outcome of a World War. This is what has been happening in Iraq since America invaded the country, on 20th March 2003. The turbulent years at the start of the 21st century have left a lasting impact not just on Iraq and America but also on the World.

On this Wednesday, it’ll be the tenth anniversary of the war that now we know was unnecessary. It was the biggest mistake that the administration of George W Bush to attack a country, time has proved it to be so.

The basis of this war was the allegation that Iraq has been developing Weapons of Mass Destruction. It’s been a long held suspicion and was also the reason why Iraq was bombarded in 1998. After 9/11 attacks and operation in Afghanistan, President George Bush brought the issue of Iraq on table again. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain toed in support. Describing Iraqi President Saddam Hussain as the big threat to the World, Bush administration sought for UN action against the country. Just a month before the invasion, in February, UN experts and IAEA’s former chief Hans Blix submitted a report that Iraq has no capacity to produce such weapons. Still, Bush and Blair party pushed their agenda and without UN permission, attacked Iraq.

They successfully overthrew Saddam, later captured him and he was hanged to death. However, the invasion resulted in sectarian violence and sort of a civil war situation.

This is the story in short. There is a lot more that has happened since then and though US forces moved out of Iraq on 15th December 2011, and a relative peace is established, the situation is still quite volatile. The elected government under Prime Minister Maliki, is not very strong and the hope for a peaceful life is often threatened by blasts and attacks.

When US waged a war on Iraq, it was justifications offered for the invasion were random and time has proved it. The supposed weapons of mass destruction were never found.  Claims that Saddam Husain had ties with Al-Queda were not true. In fact, activities of Al-Queda have risen in the country after invasion. The third justification of a vision of democracy throughout the Arab world is also disillusioned- as seen during the later events of Arab Spring. Democracy has to be born from within- it cannot be forced.

In his book “Obama’s Wars” Bob Woodward mentions Obama’s reference to a famous quote- “War is a hell and when the dogs of war are unleashed, there is no stopping at all”.  US learnt the lesson hard way.

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People may question why Indians have to worry about the war in Iraq. But in a global world, one is not immune to the consequences. India had close ties with Iraq since historic times, and shared a close relationship with Saddam. We have maintained the bond in post-invasion times as well. Oil-rich Iraq shares close trade relationship with India of which Oil and our country could play a better role in rebuilding of Iraq.

 – Janhavee Moole

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