Armed Hostilities

Positive Aspects of the War in Iraq

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Main body
  3. Conclusion
  4. Works cited


When President George Bush initialized plans for an all out war on Iraq, the world immediately cast him as the world’s villain-in-chief. And when the war actually begun in March 2003, the media took up the hue, condemning Bush and all his government’s ideologies. International bodies distanced themselves from his administration. Whole nations that had previously been allies with the US suddenly became significant forces against it. Mass media networks were full of negative statistics on the Iraq war. From every corner of the earth, the message rang loudly- that the Iraq war was uncalled for. But was this message cognizant of all facts?

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Main body

It is true that the US used a lot of its national resources during the Iraq war. By June 2008, President Bush had approved bills that effectively diverted 800 billions of US taxpayer’s funds towards the war. The monthly spending on the war had by then risen to a worrisome 12 billion. Every US solder deployed into Iraq soil crunched 390,000 dollars per annum. And there were the other billions of unaccounted or mismanaged dollars in the course of the war; all this in the face of the millions of protests against the Iraq war. It was a grim picture for any pro-war body. But is there a flip side to all of it?

When President Bush started the Iraq war, three main reasons were stated in his defense. Iraq needed to be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. With everybody still reeling in the aftermath of 9/11, this driving reason against Iraq had only one qualm: lack of substantial, physical evidence of the weapons. But it was passed, nevertheless, better safe than sorry, after all. Secondly, Saddam Hussein’s long reign was widely perceived as retrogressive, and needed to be done away with. Iraqis needed emancipation from this “terrorist” rule. Once again, this reason pivoted on the “erring on the safe side” thought stream. And finally, the Iraqi people had a better shot at improving their livelihoods if the US stepped in (Thomas).

On those premises, the Iraq war began. And while the mainstream media effectively blacked out its positive side, several positive accomplishments did come out of all the gore. Up to the present day, individuals in the US army, the Navy and the Marines continue exposing their humane side – whether it is by helping little children read, or by rescuing innocent Iraq citizens from the harrowing environment. While the US solders do have obligations to fulfill, there are still case instances of exceptionally good deeds happening in Iraq (Thomas).

Close to a third of all Iraq’s schools were rehabilitated, with thousands of teachers being trained. The public health systems also received a boost, with vaccination campaigns reducing instances of infectious disease outbreak. Along their paths, the US medics held impromptu infant clinics by the roadside, while their mates swept around for bombs. And in coalition with Iraq forces, there are now the signs of a durable and stable power hierarchy in Iraq. Of course, every progress made should be viewed against the backdrop of the significant economic, diplomatic, political, and capacity- building challenges still to be addressed.

One particular case in point on the positive thrust of the Iraq war is the rebuilding of water ways. Pre-Iraq invasion, the water supply to the cities of Baghdad had deteriorated. Hundreds of thousands of residents used to risk their lives when getting their water from nearby canals. The canals had filthy water that caused intestinal outbreaks, and there was always the constant danger of being shot down by insurgents. After the invasion, there were definite plans to rebuild these projects. The local leaders liaised with the American troops during this restoration. The SheShibar Booster Station was renovated, and a broken feeder line, ruptured by an explosion, was also repaired. The Kaa Kaa Water Treatment facility was also restored. In addition, a new water treatment facility was opened in the town of Al Muhawil. This new facility is now pumping a million cubic liters of water on a daily basis. By the end of 2005, about 3.1 million Iraqis were enjoying this improved access to clean water, and over 5.1 million had improved access to sewage treatment.

In March 2006, President George Bush released a press statement highlighting achievements of the Iraq war. In it, he reiterated that a victory in Iraq would make America safer by ridding terrorists of a haven from which they could initialize attacks against the US. It would also facilitate reforms in a region previously wrought with violence and general stagnation. Ultimately, it would demonstrate to friends and foes alike the reliability of the US, and the tenacity of its resolve against enemies. A marked reduction in anti-US sentiments was an obvious expectation (Bamford).

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President Bush also highlighted positive changes in the general Iraq environment. By the end of 2005, Iraqis had undergone two successful nationwide elections. The second election exhibited a higher voter turn-up and less violence than the first. It resulted in the construction of a parliament. Iraqis now have the opportunity to build a national unity government. They had also experienced a national constitutional referendum, which culminated in the approval of a new, permanent constitution on October, 2005. The new constitution provided a legal framework for democracy and inclusiveness.

On the security front, more Iraqis are being involved in taking responsibility for the nation. The Iraqi security detail continues to demonstrate growing competence, and is getting the backing of over 90 percent of the citizens. With time, the Iraq forces involved in independent operations throughout the country came to outnumber the Coalition forces. Simultaneously, Iraq’s economy started showing signs of recovery. In 2005, it grew by about 2.6 percent. The per capita income rose from a low of 715 dollars (2002) to over 1,000 dollars by 2005. Iraq got its first World Bank loan in 30 years, and got into an agreement with the Paris Club to relieve it of over 80 percent of its 40 billion Saddam Hussein-era debt.

On January 2007, President George Bush outlined a plan to revise the US Iraq policy. The new plan would seek a synergy between stepped-up US and Iraq military efforts, and combine it with Iraqi attempts to reach a national reconciliation. It would also enhance a decentralized US economic aid, reward reformation efforts, create jobs and build up regional diplomacy in support of the Iraq’s recovering government. The plan depended on the willingness of Iraq to work towards achieving a lasting national reconciliation, and preventing the impending civil war from actually happening. While, on the whole, the plan looked sound, a few felt that it was designed to advance the US interests more than those of Iraq, and that it was still a significant gamble, what with the current situation. The full effects of this gamble are still to be seen.

Several theoretical pro-war grounds need mentioning. A significant number of people felt that walking away from the Iraq war would be perceived as a failure by the US. It was felt that this would eventually only encourages terrorism against the west. Of course, this seamless blending of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism is perceived as uncalled-for by some. There are people who feel that 9/11 was taken out of context, if the Iraq invasion was a subsequent retaliation. But these few perspectives are overshadowed by the greater majority who sought a greater good in the Iraq war (Bamford).

There is a war theory that associates military force with politics, and strives to prove that war and politics are means to the same end – justice, order and peace. It’s aptly called the Just War Theory. With it, every activity, every mishap, every controversy, every hit within the battle field can be analyzed for its impact on the ultimate reorganization of power. In the Iraq-war context, it would raise the question of whether there was an easier or more diplomatic approach to the whole issue. And if there really wasn’t, were all the things that happened during the war justified on grounds of stated objectives? Where the answers to such question become fuzzy, another question may arise: did the benefits of the war outweigh the negative aspects?

In a move largely seen as positive, top Iraq officials began laying out reform plans in 2005, asking for expertise and aid from other nations as they worked to secure order. This move was spear-headed by the Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. With several other members of his transitional government, the minister presented his plans at an international conference on the Iraq situation. The conference had officials from the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and other countries. It was called up to gather international support for the reconstruction of Iraq. Al Jaafari said: “What we need from you is exactly what your people need from you: The children of Iraq are just like yours — they don’t want to lose their fathers and turn to orphans. “The women of Iraq are just like yours — they don’t want to lose their husbands, to turn to widowers.” (Constant)

In turn, the then EU president, Asselborn, said: “The challenges are numerous. We are here to show to Iraq, to the Iraqi people, that we are on their side in this difficult period of transition.” (Constant)

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: “In return, Iraq must improve security, develop its economy and open political space for all members of Iraqi society who reject violence,” (Ivo, p. 74).


Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari outlined four top priorities facing Iraq then: having timely elections, drafting a constitution, stabilizing the country and rebuilding the economy. Amongst the solders out there on the field, the view wasn’t all grime and gore. Sceneries of devastation coexisted with vistas of hope and regeneration. Solders witnessed places like the town of Hit get transformed from an insurgent backyard into a playground for children. And every now and then, a lone Iraqi citizen would indicate where a potentially devastating bomb was buried, saving untold US lives. In a livelihood where life and death rested on interpretation and implementation of a set of commands, success could be ticked off a list of accomplished tasks, and on the fact that a new dawn is being experienced. At the end of a certain tour, a member of the Iraqi Army once said: “Marines are not friends; marines are brothers,” (John, p. 24).

Hence, while it is true that this war, like any other, had its innocent casualties, it also spurred several positive trends, some of which will be felt for a long time. The effects may take their time reaching the mainstream media and hence the global eye, but they are there, nevertheless.

Works cited

Constant Brand. International Community Supporting Iraq. 

Ivo H Daadler, James M. Lindsay. America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2003 pp. 67-83

James Bamford. A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies. New York: Doubleday, 2004 pp. 40-52

Joe Thomas. War in Iraq: Positive vs. Negative coverage.

Joseph Capizzi, Kim R. Holmes. Just war and endgame objectives in Iraq.

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John Keegan. The Iraq War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004 pp. 15-26

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