Motives for America's Invasion of Iraq

Modified: 25th Apr 2018
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Many things have been said and written about America’s invasion of Iraq. To date, most of what have been said is essentially reactions leveled against the explanations adopted by the then America’s regime and her allies in justifying invasion of Iraq. Bush’s regime told the international community that there was urgent need to invade Iraq in order to oust Saddam Hussein’s despotic leadership from power and thus pave way for the entrenchment of democracy in Iraq which is a prerequisite to international peace and security especially in this era of terrorism.

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Even though UN Security Council’s intelligence personnel assigned the responsibility of investigating America’s claims of existence of WMDs in Iraq was not in harmony with those claims, America went ahead in engaging in one of the most expensive war since the end of Cold War. This essay seeks to establish whether sociopolitical explanations adopted by America amidst protests from the International community and the UN were underpinned by America’s interest to maintain her global economic dominance or the proclaimed political motive of liberating Iraqis from tyranny.

War as a means of implementing foreign policy

Generally, war is a very expensive foreign policy implementation tool which no sane nation would want to frequently use not unless it’s the only alternative for her survival. All states -the powerful and the weak-U.S included tries as much as possible to use peaceful diplomacy in implementing their foreign policies abroad and can only resort to coercive diplomacy (war) when it’s the only rational alternative for protecting its survival and interests in the International System.

Analysts were therefore left unconvinced whether the need to oust bad leadership in Iraq was the main and genuine reason behind America’s invasion of Iraq or her ambition to maintain herself position as the global economic giant was more important. To be sure, there is no economic, political, or social explanation that can on its own fully and convincingly explain America’s invasion of Iraq.

The economic perspective of the invasion

Pursuit of economic progress and dominance abroad is one of the major goals of any nation-state’s foreign policies. Paul Cerni Mphil (2006) states that “… what every nation and empire aspires to is to nurture their own economy where necessary…”
America is no exception in the sense that her determination to maintain her global economic position stands out as one of the main determinants of her foreign policies. Indeed, her ambition to position her self as the global economic giant has been pointed out by scholars and international political analysts as the main driving force behind year 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Categorically, Marxists owing to the colossal amount of money spent on this war don’t cite any other motive behind the invasion of Iraq by America in alliance with Britain among others. For them any other non economic explanations adopted by America in justifying her actions was mere political hypocrisy aimed at misleading the international community from opposing invasion of Iraq. Paula Cerni Mphil (2006) once more argues that “The US invasion of Iraq, advertised as a forceful attack on global terror and tyranny, was supposed to mark the rise of a stronger and more assertive American imperialism.”

Critics don’t understand why if America’s proclaimed goal of ousting bad leadership in Iraq was the main agenda she didn’t hesitate from invading Iraq even after UN Security Council failed to produce evidence for the existence of WMDs in Iraq. They reject America’s claims of the need to tyranny in Iraq since the UN is supposed to maintaining international security and peace by urging countries to institute legal frameworks that can prevent people with bad ideas like which are a threat to democratic existence from taking over power.

Therefore, these critics argue that the need to create an enabling environment in Iraq for purposes of exploiting her rich oil mines was the fundamental interest in this invasion. Oil as a source of energy for her industries is one of the highly demanded raw material by American capitalists and imperialists who could not feel any pain in funding such an expensive foreign policy endeavor.

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America was thus determined to oust Saddam Hussein from power not for purposes achieving a democratic leadership in Iraq but so that they could put in place a puppet leadership which they could easily manipulate in order to satisfy their selfish economic interests. To these critics therefore, America was essentially on a mission to conquer a prestigious economic territory and wrongly assumed that the weak Iraq would accept her proclaimed goal of eradicating bad leadership from power.

A short critique of the economic argument for the invasion

Note that Marxists are known for their tendency to over emphasize the economic aspects of a given real life phenomenon like invasion of Iraq by America. However, an impartial analyst should look at all factors in play and try as mush as possible to put behind each factor an emphasis that is not exaggerated. That is, in as much as economic interests were primary in this invasion and are usually in any given foreign policy other interests like her national security, survival, peace, and need to propagate her ideologies can at times be more important than mere pursuit of economic wealth and dominance

It is therefore legitimate to argue that in as much as much as America wanted to exploit Iraq’s oil other interests such as her national security and survival in the international system played a significant role. It’s for instance arguable that in this case American political elites felt that Saddam Hussein’s regime was a threat to her a national security and survival by virtue of the fact that it could provide an operating base for international terrorists. There was need therefore to invade Iraq in order to bring to an end bad leadership and thus usher in a new democratic leadership that would not only guarantee Iraqis their peace and human rights but also enable America safeguard her national security and survival against the threat of terrorist attacks from Iraq. Comments posted on states that for a considerable period of time “US administration continued to consider removing Hussein’s regime from power and following the September 11, 2001 terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York, they decided that they had sufficient excuse to do so.”

This argument is anchored on the premise that Iraq has been and is still a hub of dangerous terrorist and rebel groups including the dreaded Al Qaeda terror group. To some extent therefore, America’s national security and survival in the international system proclaimed by Bush regime was as important as positioning herself as a global economic giant. It is therefore unfair and even unscholarly to give the Iraq invasion an absolute economic explanation thereby under looking other factors. However, primacy of America’s economic ambitions in this invasion should be given its consideration accordingly especially due to her insatiable “thirst” for oil which is plenty in Iraq.


In conclusion, just like it was pointed out earlier there is no one particular factor (economic, social or political) that can explain America’s invasion of Iraq without facing the dangers of lacking impartiality. An impartial analyst should therefore carefully put into consideration all factors in play without over emphasizing some at the expense of others. Time and history therefore remains to prove us wrong or right with regards to our opinions pertaining this invasion. Advocates of international peace and security would for instance like to see how successful America will be in establishing peace and stability and rebuilding the collapsed Iraq nation. And also understand why several years after Saddam Hussein was hanged for his despotic leadership, bad leadership is persistent in most Asian countries and no WMDs have been recovered from Iraq.


  1. Mphil, Paula Cerni. 2006. Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century. Theory and Science.theoryand (retrieved on August 20, 2009.).
  2. Iraq War daverclark/iraq war.html (retrieved on August 20, 2009.).


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