The Invasion of Iraq


The invasion of Iraq by the United States in the year 2003 led to a wider division between compatriots along sectarian, tribal and ethnic lines. The situation that the foreign soldiers face in Iraq is extremely unpredictable.  The amount of violence in Iraq has been reducing since the year 2007. However, the situation remains volatile and unpredictable. Violence, at the time, disrupted the efforts by foreign soldiers to reconstruct the country. Many forms of media have expressed very many opinions concerning the situation in Iraq. the forms include television documentaries, journals and drawings. In this essay, we consider a drawing, a cartoon by David Horsey.

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The cartoon discussed below shows the hard time that the US is facing during its withdrawal from Iraq. The cartoonist, David Horsey, uses symbolism theme of a soldier and a wolf to illustrate the U.S military withdrawal from Iraq. The soldier represents the western Coalition troops while the wolf represents Iraq. The cartoon shows the ease with which the soldiers invaded Iraq and the risks that the soldiers are facing as they continue to stay in Iraq and as they prepare to leave. The U.S. is experiencing a problem as it attempts to withdraw troops from Iraq. However, the main concern of all is the welfare of the U.S. troops deployed in Iraq.

Cartoon Analysis

David Horsey vividly depicts the western Coalition troops' situation in Iraq by placing the soldier inside a treacherous and hideous wolf's (Iraq) mouth. The cartoonist wants to be clear to readers about the symbolism of the wolf. He further scribbles “Iraq" on the head of the wolf to clarify that he is referring to Iraq. The wolf (Iraq) is a wild animal with violent and unpredictable emotions, killer instincts driven by the urge to survive. It is an analogous description of some nomad countries with peace treaties, which still apprehend and kidnap foreign nationals. The soldier) is trapped inside the wolf's mouth surrounded by its sharp teeth. The cartoonist wants readers to see that his (the soldier’s) eyes are wide open and focused outside the wolf’s mouth as if requesting for external help from that situation. He has a helmet on his head to emphasize how hostile his environment is with situations such as bomb attacks being one of them. In the cartoon, we see the soldier within inches of the wolf's tongue, and, if he slides further in, he may be rolled up by the tongue and engulfed by the wolf. Furthermore, he cannot withdraw himself due to the surrounding sharp teeth that can tear him into pieces.

The phrase “Whatever you think of how I got in here, you have to agree the tricky part will be getting out" was the only statement by the soldier in the entire drawing. In my opinion, this statement carries a lot of weight and emphasizes the risk faced by the soldiers. The statement represents the need for a tactical military strategy for safe withdrawal from Iraq (the wolf's mouth). It shows that now the soldier (U.S.) accepts that he made an enormous mistake by getting inside the wolf’s mouth (Iraq) and now getting out is becoming a problem. This shows that though it took only 21 days for the coalition army, coordinated by Central Intelligence Agency Special Activities Division, to topple the Saddam Hussein’s regime and occupy Baghdad, Iraq was not what they bargained for. Using military tactics such as missiles, tanks and other advanced equipment from air, land and navy support was not enough.  The coalition army still had to face many challenges tactically to achieve their intended milestone; Iraq was an extremely insecure country brimming with looting, bombing and ambushes where guerrilla warfare and a civil war could have exploded at any moment.

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According to Cable News Network, the U.S. government reported that more than 4000 soldiers had died since 2003. The coalition army soldiers' lives were in constant danger of attack. This was because of the wide spread hatred, among the Iraq nationals, against the invading foreign troops. The "Opinion Research Business Survey" in April 2009 estimated that 1033,000 deaths had already occurred out of the conflict and thus any longer stay by the army in Iraq would result in increased death tolls of innocent civilians. This would result in stronger anti-western sentiment that would probably raise recruitment of terrorists that would further deteriorate the stability of Middle East. Although it was necessary to occupy Iraq, in my opinion, it was hard to implant the western political system, culture and religious beliefs in Iraq, which is clearly depicted in the first half of the soldier’s statement, which outlines the dangerous and challenging part of invading Iraq.

The cartoonist wants the reader to see that there is more internal and external strength requirement to keep the mouth constantly open in order to keep the soldier safe. He symbolizes the fact that the western coalition army’s situation will be safe only if Iraq's political and social system would be stable. Under the dilemma to either continue occupying or withdraw, the U.S. government and western coalition had decided to leave their army in Iraq to maintain the democratic political system and security in the country. Thus, Iraq became a military base to counter terrorists’ activities by confining radical terrorists inside Iraq and the Middle East. Moreover, the political stability of Iraq and the region was a vital factor in maintaining the price of gasoline relatively low and constant for the sake of the global economy.

According to the U.S - Iraq Status of Forces Bilateral Agreement in 2008, it stipulated a mandatory U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq by December 31, 2011. The withdrawal was in two periods; August 2010 and December 31, 2011. The coalition army had to vacate Iraq though tactically and timely with the earlier withdrawal but with the lesser amount of deaths of the coalition army soldiers. The U.S, however, retained a large force of private contractors whose job is to guard American officials and provide training to the Iraq military force. This was one of the most tactical ways to reinforce years of military victory and civilian influence over the war torn country. Again this would mean more funds  released for the improvement of health, education, social welfare and the job market of western countries especially during the existing economy recession period. However, there was the concern of long term peace and democracy in Iraq. Iran, the largest haven for the terrorists in the Middle East also tried to influence Iraqi internal affairs by supporting Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and plunging a sectarian civil war in the country. Therefore, the U.S. government should push the Iraqi government to agree on broader and deeper military ties in order to safe guard against any offences by hostile neighbors.

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The U.S president Barrack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki held a joint conference at White House on Dec 12, 2011. This meeting outlined the post-war cooperation on energy, trade, education, security, counter-terrorism, economic development and strengthening Iraq's institutions. The two countries agreed to maintain a strong coalition in security, diplomacy and economic ties after the western military withdrawal. After nearly nine years of military engagement, the U.S and western Coalition finally retreated from Iraq in a tactical and respectable way without causing further death and injury to the soldiers. However, the conflicts among Al Qaeda and Middle East insurgents would not be ended at this moment.

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