In his report, ‘Iraq invasion: six pluses for America’, Stephen J. Hadley has made some questionable assertions. Viewing things after passage of 10 years since the start of Iraq war and the current, largely negative public view of the whole exercise, Hadley has apparently attempted to reverse this adverse perception and the low morale it is causing.

First, trying to answer the criticism that the war went too long and cost too much, he says the US did not anticipate that Al-Qaeda would move into the security vacuum created by Saddam Hussein’s fall and seek to defeat it in Iraq. Then he claims: “Ultimately, history is likely to show that the Pakistan-based ‘core’ of Al Qaeda responsible for 9/11 was defeated in Iraq. But it was a long, hard struggle.”

Everybody knows that Osama bin Laden and his group was based in Afghanistan, not Pakistan, supported by the Mullah Omer-led Afghan Taliban government at the time. That is why America and its coalition partners invaded that country soon after 9/11, rather than Pakistan. It is, therefore, wrong for the writer to insinuate that the Al Qaeda ‘core’ was Pakistan-based. Second, he also says that Saddam was pursuing WMDs, supporting terrorists and invading its neighbours, etc. The UN weapons’ inspector, Hans Blix, had clearly stated well in time that despite all out efforts he had found no signs of Iraq having any nuclear weapons — the primary reason given by Washington for the invasion.

Furthermore, even credible American and other sources had found no links between Hussein and the terrorists. Apart from that, it was being said in the early ‘90s that Saddam invaded Kuwait after being encouraged by the woman US ambassador to Iraq to do that. It should also be remembered that nearly 500,000 Iraqi children were said to have died due to lack of food caused by the excessive and prolonged sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War.

This shows the flawed approach used towards Iraq right from the start, ostensibly to make Israel feel more secure. Hadley has also claimed that if Hussein hadn’t been deposed, he had the intention of resuming WMD production. This is disproved, like several other charges levelled by the West, by the fact that the allegation of Iraq importing uranium ore from Niger was found to be a lie by none else than a US diplomat investigating the case, whose wife Valery Plame was a CIA agent and the latter’s cover was blown in revenge by a hawkish Bush administration official.


Karachi, March 29.