…US President George W. Bush ordered air strikes on Baghdad, launching the war for “regime change,” and for the ousting of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
The war was premised on the the belief that Hussein was manufacturing and staging weapons of mass destruction to be used against his enemies. Such a belief is now deemed to have been false, although the length of time between Colin Powell’s February 5 address to the United Nations, in which he laid out the case, and the subsequent Allied invasion–exactly six weeks later–left plenty of time for such efforts to be covered up, dismantled, or moved.
And so, with apparent evidence on both sides to support their respective cases, the conspiracy theorists, and the conspiracy realists, continue to joust over the truth, which is likely never to be fully-known.
Regardless, or irregardless as the case may be, I remember the television coverage of those aerial attacks on that day exactly two decades ago. It was awe-inspiring, and thrilling. The subsequent initial phase of the land war–which lasted just over a month and was spearheaded by the United States with support from the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland, and the following “quagmire” years resulted in the deaths and wounding, both physically and mentally, of tens of thousands of Allied troops, and in consequences that we, and they, still live with today.
As cowards do, Saddam Hussein ran away and hid, remaining undiscovered until December 2003, when American soldiers found him, filthy and deranged, hiding in a hole in the ground near ad-Dawr. He was subsequently interrogated, tried, and executed (by the interim Iraqi government) on December 30, 2006. Sic semper tyrannis.
Today, I remember not the meretricious crapweasels of the various governments on all sides who have been–ever since–revising the rather clear history of the war, those who started it, and even, sometimes, those who fought in it. I choose rather to remember the valiant soldiers from all services and all nations who fought, and those who were wounded and who died in the cause of freedom and to keep us safe.
From February 7, 2001–just a month into the first Persian Gulf War:
And from the UK: