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The Invasion of Iraq was Wrong!


Read the argumentative essay below and think about its structure (the way it is organised). Answer the questions that follow it.

We hear a lot of talk in the media about the US and allied forces bringing freedom and democracy to the people of Iraq. Let us not be deceived by these grand words; they are lies. The invasion of Iraq was wrong. Bush and his friends invaded under false pretences; they are selective about where and when to promote so-called democracy; and they have not made the world a safer place by toppling Saddam Hussein.

In the build-up to the war, George Bush and Tony Blair declared repeatedly that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs) and we had to invade to prevent Saddam from using these against his own people or his neighbours. However, there was no evidence to support this claim and in the end no WMDs were found. In any case, other countries such as Pakistan (and the USA itself!) have WMDs but we do not invade them. Similarly, America and its allies reminded us that Saddam had used chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds in 1988. However, they did not remind us that the USA supported Saddam at that time and continued to do so for another one and a half years!

Supporters of the invasion also claim that the "coalition forces" removed an evil dictator and are now bringing democracy to Iraq. It is certainly true that Saddam Hussein was a vicious, undemocratic leader but the invasion itself was undemocratic. The USA and UK are members of the United Nations and have, therefore, agreed to follow its procedures. Despite this, their excuse for attacking Iraq was that it had ignored 16 UN Security Council resolutions. But they overlooked the fact that Israel has violated 32 resolutions, and Turkey and Morocco have each violated more than 16 UN resolutions. Why did we not invade these countries first? The Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, has stated publicly that he believes the invasion was illegal. Furthermore, if the invasion was really about justice and democracy, then why did the US encourage Iraqi Shiites to rebel against Saddam in 1991 but then fail to support them? And why does the USA count Saudi Arabia as one of its allies when the government is undemocratic, torture is widespread and public executions are commonplace?

A final argument in favour of the occupation is that the world is a safer place without Saddam. This is a vague claim that is hard to either prove or disprove. However, we can see that even in Iraq itself there is a major conflict (long after Bush announced that the war was over); meanwhile, there have been terrorist explosions in Indonesia and Spain; the conflict in Israel/Palestine is as bad as ever; and public opinion surveys in the USA and Britain suggest that people do not feel any safer. (Meanwhile, of course, it seems we have forgotten about the original "bad guy", Osama bin Laden, who had nothing to do with Iraq.)

In summary, we are being bombarded with lies about Iraq. Firstly, there were no WMDs and the "coalition forces" invaded without a green light from the UN. Secondly, the rhetoric about democracy is a smokescreen; we cooperate with many other undemocratic regimes (including Iraq and even Osama bin Laden when it suited us). Thirdly, the people of Iraq appear just as unhappy today as they were under Saddam, the wider Middle East is still in turmoil and the "west" feels even more threatened than before the invasion. Saddam Hussein was certainly a bad leader but two wrongs do not make a right; the invasion of Iraq was wrong and if Bush and Blair really do care about justice, then they should do more to tackle human rights abuses and poverty in a hundred other countries. Whatever the reason for invading Iraq, it was not WMDs or democracy or the "war on terror"; Bush and Blair lied to us.

TASKS

1. What is the thesis (main argument/idea) of this essay?

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2. What are the three supporting ideas? (You can look for these in the opening paragraph but also in the "body" paragraphs.)

  1. _______________________________________________________
  2. _______________________________________________________
  3. _______________________________________________________

3. What pro-war argument is presented in Paragraph 2?

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What is the writer’s counter-argument?

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4. What pro-war argument is presented in Paragraph 3?

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What three counter-arguments does the writer present?

  1. _______________________________________________________
  2. _______________________________________________________
  3. _______________________________________________________

5. What pro-war argument is presented in Paragraph 4?

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What four counter-arguments does the writer present?

  1. _______________________________________________________
  2. _______________________________________________________
  3. _______________________________________________________
  4. _______________________________________________________

 

Frankie Meehan