Various speculations have been made towards the reasons behind the second invasion of Iraq. The field of political science, however, tries to interpret phenomena such as war through its branch of International Relations. International relations, commonly referred to as IR, is the study of the interactions of the various actors in the international system with the aim of explaining the reasons behind their actions. For a graduate level paper, it is unnecessary to point these kinds of things out to the reader. One would assume that the reader is aware of such things. These actors include individual states, inter-governmental organizations, IGOs, non-governmental organizations, NGOs, and multinational corporations, MNCs, (Aron, 2003). International relations are relevant in the field of public policy especially in the formulation of foreign policies of states. In spite of the fact that it is a branch of political science, the study of International Relations incorporates other diverse fields such as law, economics, philosophy, sociology, history, psychology and anthropology. Ditto here.
The U.S. remained adamant that Iraq was in possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction and urged the UN to carry out a weapons inspection in Iraq. The UN, in accordance with the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution 1441 which offered the Saddam Hussein regime a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations as set out in several previous resolutions, began inspections of Iraq through the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, UNMOVIC, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, in late 2002 (Conte, 2005). By February 2003, both inspection teams had found no weapons of mass destruction. UNMOVIC further stated that it would take another three months to carry out a full inspection. The U.S. government declared the whole process as failed diplomacy and stated that it would proceed with the invasion together with its allies referred to as the ‘coalition of the willing.’ This was a matter of state policy and therefore the U.S and its allies were acting as sovereign states that are not bound by international organizations. The U.N. weapons inspectors were then advised to pull out of Iraq as the coalition of the willing would soon launch an attack. This marked the beginning of the Second US-Iraq War which is still on going to date.
The US government before invading Iraq had to seek the consent of congress and the United Nations. This shows that it upholds democracy which is the rule of the people, by the people and of the people. Authoritarian regimes do not seek anyone’s consent before they make major policy issues. For instance when Iraq attacked Kuwait leading to the first Gulf War, it did so out of its own self interest and did not consult anyone. The same applies to Germany when it launched attacks on its neighbors leading to World War II. Even though the US went against the warnings of the United Nations, it had earlier presented evidence of the presence of WMDs in Iraq and this gave it substantive reasons to invade Iraq. International organizations therefore have a role to play in international politics however marginal it may be.
Liberalism can also be applied to the Second Gulf War. The US government in lobbying for the invasion of Iraq claimed that there were gross human rights violations being perpetrated by the Saddam regime. They also wanted to establish a modern democratic government in Iraq where free and fair elections would be held regularly. These are all liberalist ideals as advanced by John Locke and Montesquieu. The US is also renowned for upholding the ideals of democracy and the individual rights of its people. After successfully removing Saddam from power, the US established a democratic government and for the first time in many years Iraq may hold free and fair elections (Dolan, 2005).
The US invasion of Iraq can also be explained using the liberalism theory. Liberalism is based on the belief that the primary goal of any state is to uphold the individual liberties and equality of its citizenry as well as that of other states. Liberalists as opposed to realists view human beings as being capable of having compassion towards their fellow men and they do not necessarily act only in regard out of their own interests. According to liberalists, the rights of the individual citizens are guaranteed by the constitution which binds the state as it cannot act outside the provisions of the constitutions. Among the rights guaranteed by the constitution is the right to equal and fair treatment and the right to participate in free and fair elections.
Thus, Iraq war which was fought beyond the scope of “offensive realism” can be better understood within the theoretical framework of Critical/ Marxist theory.
The decision to for the US to invade Iraq can be of example to how political systems and even nations can fail under the pressures of Groupthink Theory, whether or not you personally believe we should or shouldn’t have gone to war....
But Jessica Lewis McFate of the Institute for the Study of War — a former Army Intelligence officer who arrived in Iraq in 2007 — said, “Fallujah 2004 resonates with soldiers who came later, as a classic mission that was greater than the forces assigned to it. It’s hard to swallow that as much force as we applied — and succeeded then — that now we have to go back.”
The Second US-Iraq War also referred to as the Second Gulf War or the Occupation of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 when the United States together with its allies, the main ally being United Kingdom, invaded Iraq. Awkward sentence—also “Occupation” shouldn’t be capitalized. The other allies were Australia, Spain, Poland and Denmark who offered smaller contingents of their troops. Intro should be more general—not the place to introduce misc. facts. The invasion was precipitated by the September 11, 2001 attack by terrorists on U.S. soil commonly known as the 9/11. That was the proximate political cause, although the overall situation (WMD, UN sanctions, no-fly zone, etc.) also of relavance. Shortly afterwards, president of United States, George W. Bush, addressed a joint session of Congress and made pronouncements that were geared towards stepping up the war on Terrorism (Dolan, 2005). He stated that any regime, organization or group that had any links with terrorist activities would not be spared as their continued existence posed a threat to world peace and democracy.
This explanation was given in pursuance of the realist assumption that States’ as rational actors always act in accordance with their national security interests.
However, failure to procure any putative weapons of mass destruction in Iraq forced Realist apologists to invoke the concept of “offensive Realism” to explain the Iraq war of 2003.
This intense lobbying yielded fruit when the U.S. Congress in October 2002 passed a Joint Resolution which authorized the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq. This resolution gave the president power to use any means necessary to subdue the forces of Iraq. The U.S. government also engaged in public relations campaigns which were geared towards winning the support of the public as well. With the 9/11 attacks still lingering in their minds, the U.S. public overwhelmingly supported the invasion (Martel, 2007).
This paper looks at the factors that led to the Second Gulf War by employing these theories. The war can be explained from three different perspectives. However the focus will be on the one theory which is the most relevant in providing an explanation to the rationale behind the war. These three theories are; realism, liberalism and finally constructivism. Before applying the theories in interpretation of the second invasion of Iraq, it is important to understand the principles underlying each theory through a detailed literature review.