The Lingering Effects of Iraq War Lies

[The Progressive March 27, 2023] Twenty years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the country remains unstable, with one of the most corrupt and dysfunctional governments in the world. It is unable to provide Iraqis with many of the basic services previous generations had known. Rival militia groups are battling for influence, and serious human rights abuses are ongoing. Thousands of U.S. troops remain in the country to this day, ostensibly to counter the presence of ISIL/ISIS cells and Iranian militia groups, both of which emerged as a direct result of the 2003 invasion.
The cumulative cost of the war for American taxpayers will end up at well over $3 trillion, adding to the national debt and giving deficit hawks the excuse to resist needed expansions, and even to impose cuts in important domestic spending. On the environmental front, the war is estimated to have resulted in the release of hundreds of millions of additional metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere…

Harry Reid’s Hawkish Foreign Policy Record

The death of former Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada has brought forth praise for his parliamentary skills, which helped make possible some critically important legislation, as well as preventing the passage of a number of seriously problematic bills. However, on the foreign policy front, it should be noted that Reid not only failed to challenge dangerous Republican initiatives that violated fundamental principles of international law and human rights, he was often among their most prominent supporters. [FULL LINK]

INTERVIEW: Biden’s Sponsorship of the Invasion of Iraq

The Scott Horton Show. Skip ahead to 29:30 for Zunes’ segment.
Stephen Zunes talks about Joe Biden’s shameful history helping to advocate for the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and 2003. These days he claims he was caught up in the aftermath of 9/11 and was simply mistaken about the intelligence, like everyone else who voted for the war. But Zunes reminds us that Biden was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at that time, with a Democratic-majority congress. With his influence, he probably could have stopped the war single-handedly. If that weren’t enough, Zunes says that Biden was actually advocating “boots on the ground” to depose Saddam Hussein before 9/11. On this issue alone, Biden should be disqualified from the presidency, and Zunes and Scott expect a poor showing in the general election, should he end up with the Democratic nomination.

Interview: Today’s US-Iran Crisis Is Rooted in the Decision to Invade Iraq

Truthout January 20, 2020 also at
The ramifications of the illegal, unnecessary and predictably tragic U.S. decision to invade Iraq are still with us. This includes the ongoing crisis with Iran, which brought us perilously close to all-out war in early January, resulted in the tragic downing of a civilian airliner and remains in a hair-trigger situation. [FULL LINK]

Interview: Proof that Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans is “groundless” says Middle East expert

WMNF FM January 10. 2020: The claim that General Soleimani and the Iranian government are somehow responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—which has been repeated by Republicans, some Democrats and the mainstream media—appears to be groundless, according to Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. His new piece for The Progressive Magazine says there is zero evidence Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans…
Listen here or Download the MP3 audio file..

Biden’s Support of Iraq War Shows How He Would Run the White House

[Truthout & OpEd] Supporters of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden are probably hoping that Democratic voters will see his key role in pushing through the Iraq War authorization as simply a “mistake” which should not be a factor in the 2020 presidential race. Indeed, Biden now claims that, “From the moment [the invasion] started … I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress” despite his statements at the time and subsequently that he supported Bush’s decision to invade even after inspectors returned and no “weapons of mass destruction” were found. Not only was Biden one of the most important Democratic supporters of the Iraq War, but that support says much about the kind of president he would be…

Biden Has Defended US Allies’ Use of Lethal Force Against Civilians

[Truthout November 4, 2019] On an October evening in 2002, while quietly embroidering on the porch of her home in Nablus in the West Bank, 60-year-old Shaden Abu Hijleh was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces. A grandmother and community activist involved in promoting the arts, women’s and children’s advocacy, serving the needy and nonviolent resistance to the occupation, she had no links to any violent or extremist organizations. No protests or other violent disturbances were taking place nearby, and her killing is widely believed to have been a targeted assassination… Abu Hijleh and Saada were just two of scores of Palestinian activists murdered by Israeli assassins in the early 2000s…

History Shows Hypocrisy of US Outrage Over Chemical Weapons in Syria

Truthout April 24, 2018: There are serious legal and strategic concerns regarding the decision by the United States, along with France and Great Britain, to bomb Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma. Even if one considers the April 13 airstrikes on a series of targets in two Syrian cities to be legitimate, it would be naïve to assume that Western powers conducted the bombing out of any sincere moral concern about Syria’s apparent use of these horrific banned substances.
To begin with, conventional ordnance provided by the United States, France and Britain to the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Iraq and other allied governments have killed many times more civilians than those who have died from chemical attacks in Syria. While, both legally and historically, there is indeed a qualitative difference between chemical and conventional weapons, the use of any ordnance on civilian targets is illegal under international law and is a moral outrage

The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq

In These Times February 1, 2016: Also published in:
Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Consortium News, Democratic Underground,,, Foreign Policy in Focus, My Trust In Conflict,,, Reddit, The Scott Horton Show radio, and referenced in other media. e.g.,

Former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton is the only candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination who supported the invasion of Iraq. That war not only resulted in 4,500 American soldiers being killed and thousands more permanently disabled, but also hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the destabilization of the region with the rise of the Islamic State and other extremists, and a dramatic increase in the federal deficit, resulting in major cutbacks to important social programs. Moreover, the primary reasons Clinton gave for supporting President George W. Bush’s request for authorizing that illegal and unnecessary war have long been proven false. As a result, many Democratic voters are questioning — despite her years of foreign policy experience — whether Clinton has the judgment and integrity to lead the United States on the world stage.

Don’t Blame the Iraq Debacle on the Israel Lobby

Santa Cruz Sentinel March 29, 2013 | UPDATED: September 11, 2018
[Republished by Foreign Policy In Focus/Institute for Policy Studies and Truthout
This month”s 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has inevitably raised the question of why the United States made such a tragic choice. As many of us argued in the lead-up to the war, claims that Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction” which threatened the national security of the United States and that the Iraqi government had operational ties to al-Qaida were false. Similarly, the corrupt and repressive sectarian government the United States helped establish in Baghdad has undermined any pretense that the war was about promoting democracy.

10 years after the Iraq invasion, Washington still hasn’t learned

National Catholic Reporter, March 27, 2013
   This month marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which has resulted in the deaths of up to half a million Iraqis, mostly civilians, and the displacement of millions of others. Sectarian and ethnic tensions remain high and violence and terrorism — despite being less pervasive than a few years ago — are endemic. The current Iraqi government is notoriously corrupt and repressive, guilty of widespread torture and extrajudicial killings of opponents. A whole new generation of Islamist terrorists radicalized by the invasion and insurgency is now active worldwide. Almost 4,500 Americans were killed and thousands more received serious physical and emotional injuries…

Behind the Headlines: the CIA and Post 9/11 National Security with NY Times Reporter Eric Schmitt (audio)

NPR/The Commonwealth Club November 19, 2012; Podcast & MP3
Eric Schmitt, New York Times National Security Senior Reporter
Stephen Zunes, Professor, Department of Politics/
Middle East Studies, University of San Francisco – Moderator 
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times senior writer Schmitt has covered the military, terrorism and national security affairs for two decades. He is currently covering the evolving story of the FBI Investigation that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus. He co-authored Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda. Since the September 11 attacks, he has made many reporting trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to cover American military operations there. He has also reported on counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan, Mali and Southeast Asia.  As Pentagon correspondent, he covered the Persian Gulf War from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and also reported from Haiti and Somalia. Domestic reporting included covering Congress, following financial and business news, demographic and immigration issues, commercial aviation and the travel industry. Come hear his inside view on the conflicts and challenges facing the U.S. in the post-9/11 world and the latest on the breaking news of the day.

On Foreign Policy Debate; Yifat Susskind on Iraq War’s Toxic Legacy (audio)

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: Counterspin
October 26, 2012 (Dr. Zunes’ segment begins at 11 mins.)
The final presidential debate, addressing international issues, managed to promote several falsehood about U.S. foreign policy. No, the Iranian president never said he wanted Israel “wiped off the map,” and the U.S. did not treat South Africa’s racist apartheid rulers badly. It also ignored huge regions of the planet. In other words, the debate was not out of step with the way the media and the candidates have treated foreign policy throughout the campaign. We’ll talk to Stephen Zunes, professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, about foreign affairs and the campaign.
   Also on CounterSpin today: The toxic legacy of the Iraq War. New research, largely unreported in U.S. media, shows alarming levels of toxic lead, heavy metals and a massive increase in birth defects in the city of Fallujah, the site of two major offensives by the U.S. military. This news is shocking but sadly not surprising to those who have been tracking the public health effects of the war. We’ll talk to Yifat Susskind of the human rights group MADRE about this story, what we know, and what Iraqis are doing.

   See also “Obama, Romney and the Foreign Policy Debate,” by Stephen Zunes (Foreign Policy in Focus, 10/23/12)“Cancer and Chemical Weapons” (myMadre, 10/23/12)

The Case Against War: Ten Years Later

Foreign Policy In Focus/Institute for Policy Studies & Republished by: Common Dreams,, The American Bear and Promised Land Museum,

Ten years ago, I wrote a series of articles for the Foreign Policy in Focus website in which I put forth a series of arguments against the Bush administration’s push for a U.S. invasion of Iraq prior to the fateful congressional vote authorizing the illegal, unnecessary, and ultimately disastrous war. At the request of the editors of The Nation – the oldest continually published weekly magazine in the United States – I wrote a version entitled “The Case Against War,” which appeared on their website September 12, 2002 and as the cover story of the September 30 issue. It became one of the most widely circulated articles in the magazine’s 147-year old history. Every congressional office received multiple copies. In the articles, I correctly predicted that an invasion would result in sectarian violence, terrorism, Islamist extremism, and a bloody counterinsurgency war that would be the most elaborate and expensive deployment of U.S. forces since the Second World War…