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The Lingering Effects of U.S. Crimes in Iraq: 20 Years Later

During the more than eight-year war and ensuing years of violence after the 2011 U.S. pullout, more than 200,000 civilians were killed and over 9 million others displaced in Iraq. Much of the country's infrastructure was also destroyed during the relentless bombings launched by the U.S.-led coalition.

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People hold anti-war banners and wave Iraqi flags during a protest in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 24, 2019. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)

Though 20 years have passed since the United States launched a blatant invasion into the sovereign state of Iraq, justice has not been done for Iraq and its people, many of whom are still suffering from the pain created by the unjust war.

During the more than eight-year war and ensuing years of violence after the 2011 U.S. pullout, more than 200,000 civilians were killed and over 9 million others displaced in Iraq. Much of the country’s infrastructure was also destroyed during the relentless bombings launched by the U.S.-led coalition.

As a result, Iraq, a rich country before the invasion, had quickly degenerated into a poor state and is still mired in poverty and chaos due to the political instability and economic hardship caused by the U.S. invasion and its impact.

The U.S. government justified its invasion into Iraq on concocted lies about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, but no trace of such weapons has been found until today. On this point, Washington owes Iraq and the international community a thorough explanation.

Iraq has neither received any formal apology from Washington for its illegal invasion, nor got any financial compensation for the massive destruction of its infrastructure and the crimes committed by U.S. troops against Iraqi civilians.

Meanwhile, none of those in Washington who made the decision to invade a sovereign state in blatant violation of the United Nations Charter has been brought to justice. None of those who encouraged or committed the heinous war crimes against civilians in Iraq has been truly prosecuted.

Worse still, if those who committed such crimes as invading a sovereign country could escape any punishment, they will repeat them again and again. As long as the United States continues its hegemonic and belligerent policies, the world will never be peaceful.

Indeed, with its previous crimes unpunished, the United States regards itself as being above the UN charter and other norms guiding the international order. Thus Washington is always tempted to repeat such crimes to serve its own interests, as shown by its launch of airstrikes against Libya and Syria not long after the Iraq War.

Even today, U.S. politicians insist that invading Iraq and ousting its government was a right thing to do. Washington still readily threatens to use force to interfere in the internal affairs of any other country that refuses to obey its orders. The world continues to live under the shadow of war and insecurity.

History has proven that though claiming itself as “peace lover,” the United States is indeed a “war empire.” Ever since its founding in 1776, the country has been at war for 93 percent of its existence. Even former U.S. President Jimmy Carter admitted that the U.S. is undoubtedly the most warlike nation in history.

Though little can be done to bring the American warmongers and criminals to justice for now because the United States remains the sole superpower, it is believed that the time of atonement will eventually come.

Justice could be late, but won’t be absent forever.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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