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23 Mar, 2013

China: Three Relevations from Iraq War 10th Anniversary


Beijing, March 22, 2013, (People’s Daily Online) – March 20 marks the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, amid a series of more than 20 attacks across Iraq killed 56 people between March 19 and 20. Clearly, it makes a mockery of the claim that war will bring stability and prosperity to Iraq.


Nearly 4,500 American soldiers were killed and another 32,000 wounded during the Iraq War, which officially ended in December 2011. The trauma caused by the war on individuals, families, society and the economy is enduring and hard to wipe off. A recent Gallup poll showed that 53 percent of Americans believe their country “made a mistake sending troops to fight in Iraq,” while 42 percent say it was not a mistake. (Xinhua File Photo)

The Iraq War is the second war launched by the United States after entering the 21st century. It is also a war arising the world’s strongest opposition. Large-scale protests against the war were held in some 600 cities worldwide.

At the beginning of 2003, former French President Jacques Chirac said during a private talk that France opposed to an America-led war on Iraq. He said he had warned the at that time President Bush no to start that war, because it would not only bring regional turmoil and pose threat to the peace and stability in the Middle East, but also damage the interests of the United States itself. History proves Chirac was right.

Ten years have passed since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The war brought great disasters to the people of Iraq and the United States itself also suffered heavy losses. According to data released by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, a total of 4,475 soldiers were killed during the Iraq War and it cost the United States some 1.7 trillion US dollars. The United Sates will spend 6 trillion USD over the 40 years to come.

The Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan cost the United States huge amount of money, which is also one of the reasons for the financial crisis in 2008.

The United States bypassed the UN Security Council to launch the Iraq War and violated the United Nations charters. Former Secretary General Kofi Annan said that the war was illegal.

Ten years later, looking back on the Iraq war, we have got at least three revelations.

First, the historical trend should not be violated. When peace and development become a strong trend, the United States raised the banner of war and it is doomed to pay a heavy price.

Second, national leaders should remain sober-minded. In 2003, America’s GDP reached 10.9 trillion US dollars, accounting for 30 percent of the global total. Leaders of the United States thought they could do whatever they like and invaded Iraq. Therefore, the country suffered greatly from the war.

Third, public opinion will change. When the United States invaded Iraq, two thirds of American public supported the war, while ten years later the majority of the people are against the war.

The history is just relentless and the lessons of history are worth to be learnt.

The author, Wu Jianmin, is a special commentator of People’s Daily and vice chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy. The article is translated by People’s Daily Online.