march 19, 2003: don't call it a failure. it was a huge success for so many.

Eleven years ago today, the US invaded Iraq.

This unprovoked invasion of another country that had not threatened the United States was justified by the pretense of finding weapons of mass destruction (which the US knew did not exist), and as payback for 9/11 (which the US knew Iraq had no part in), and by ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (who was trained and financed by the US). Many such rationales were advanced, including a Christian crusade against Muslims.

None of the stated rationales for the invasion mentioned the massive profiteering that would reap trillions in profits for a long list of corporations. The names of those companies are not household names, but they are well known to Dick Cheney.

Canada did not join the merry invasion, as the United Nations refused to sanction it. Had Stephen Harper been Prime Minister at the time, Canadian Forces would have gone to Iraq, and would have died there.

No one knows, and no one will ever know, the full extent of the death and destruction that this invasion and occupation caused. One highly reliable source puts Iraqi deaths at about 175,000 and Iraqi wounded at 250,000. 4,489 US servicepeople were killed in Iraq, and at least 100,000 wounded. Many of those wounds would lead to permanent disabilities. These figures do not include more than 3,480 suicides.

We have no idea how many Iraqis, Americans, and Brits suffer from PTSD and other psychological and emotional illnesses from having been exposed to, and participated in, so much violence. The US has mostly turned its back on these casualties, leaving families and private charities to struggle with the consequences.

There is, of course, another side to the story. The Halliburton Corporation enjoyed more than $39 billion from the Iraq War. Halliburton is but the most famous of the many war profiteers.

Not one positive thing came out of this war. Not one. If you believe that deposing Saddam Hussein was somehow a silver lining, consider that your belief may be based on your privilege of being unscathed by the war. Consider, too, that the US supported Saddam Hussein's regime for decades, and financed the chemical weapons that were notoriously used against both Iranians and Iraqis, and were subsequently advanced as an excuse for both the 1990 and 2003 US invasions.

Many thousands of US soldiers quietly refused to participate in the war against Iraq, once they learned the truth. A small number of these soldiers spoke up about their opposition, and some of those came to Canada.

The Canadian Government of Stephen Harper turned its back on those brave men and women. But the Canadian people have not.

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