Conflicts and Political Goals in Afghanistan, Gaza and Iraq

Many modern governments instigating wars against their neighbours or other countries often flood media outlets with songs of triumph and endless rhetoric about how necessary those wars really are. However, the loss brought on by these wars is further compounded by the absence of political achievement by instigators. The violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza thus epitomize the vanity of such wars in modern times. Indeed the public should not be fooled by endless calls for support by attacking governments because the result of this violence is clear for all to see.

The United States has now completed approximately nine years in Afghanistan since the commencement of military engagement there; however, many agree now more than ever before that the war has resulted in utter failure. Some of the reasons cited for entry of the country into this territory included elimination of terrorists in general, capturing Osama bin Laden and defeating the Taliban. However, recent polls carried out by CNN news in 2009 April show that only forty three percent of the public believe that the war in Afghanistan can actually lead to the capture of Osama. Worse still, only twenty seven percent of all Americans believe that the military action in Afghanistan will actually reduce terrorism as a worrying seventeen percent think that this war has actually expanded the terrorism cause. All this statistics indicate wide public discontent of the country’s ability to achieve what it had set out to do in Afghanistan. Although a war’s success or failure should not be measured by its popularity amongst the masses, an opinion poll is actually indicative of what analysts actually think of the war. Americans are a highly informed lot who rely on information obtained from experts in order to form and shape their opinions. The Afghan war was a grave mistake since it has not met any of its stated objectives.

The Gaza war also reinforces the fact that instigators of war rarely achieve the outcome for which they had started the war thus making it almost pointless to start it in the first place. All that was gained from the Gaza conflict is a myriad of losses in terms of lives, injuries and destructions. Through this war, Israel showed the rest of the world another side that many had previously not considered. It compromised international laws on conflict especially those set out by the United Nations. It also came off as an arrogant nation with little regard for moral law. In fact, support for Israel waned dramatically after its irresponsible actions in the Gaza war. All these negative assessments are made worse by the fact that no single political objective for Israel was achieved. First, the latter country had stated that it wanted to deter terrorist group Hamas. In fact, this was one of the reasons why it had initially received a lot of support from western nations. However, the latter objective was never achieved. Instead, Hamas was strengthened because of Israeli’s offensives. It is a known fact that religious based organizations such as Hamas tend to believe in endurance in the face of adversity and also in opposing one’s enemies even when one seems powerless before them. This terrorist group felt that they were being picked by a large giant that could not boast of religion or morals as part of their strong points. It should be noted that sometimes deterrence can be achieved in other wars such as the second Lebanon war. However, in the Gaza instance, Hamas never stropped ruling during the period of attacks against it; it still continues to do so presently. The latter war was therefore an exercise in futility.

Israel initially asserted that its desire was to eradicate or put an end to continual insecurity in the Gaza strip by halting Qassam rockets. Throughout the Gaza war, there was perpetual use of rockets and even Israeli defence officials themselves acknowledge that to date Hamas have about one thousand rockets within their possession thus indicating what a profound political failure this war was.

Israel kept claiming that the Gaza war would get to the root cause of attacks against it by putting an end to smuggling of ammunition. They believed, regardless of the futility of this stance, that connections between Egypt and the Gaza strip were the point of entry for ammunitions used for launching offensives against them. However, after all was said and done, it has been found that smuggling is still a persistent problem. Israel kept using scare tactics to get the public on its side affirming that the Gaza attacks were necessary in closing one of the major loopholes used by enemies of Israel. However, one need not strain to see just how misguided these actions were. First of all, smuggling as a way of arming Israel’s enemies is not an effective strategy since weapons of low quality are transported through such means and also because quantities transferred are quite minute. This objective was therefore highly misinformed and Israel paid the price for setting up such an invalid objective for the war; they are contending with a high state of insecurity in their quarters. But perhaps the latter country would have taken pride in itself if it had managed to meet this objective. Israel did not get to the root of attacks against it by stopping smuggling of ammunition as this problem is still prevalent today. Smuggling was a necessity owing to the fact that victims of the latter war were in need of food and major supplies and they needed an avenue to get it. However, in the process of doing so, weapons found their way in thus crushing the Israel’s illusion that the Gaza war had been a success.

Israel also wanted to strengthen capabilities of IDF after this war. However, at no point in time has this become such mirage. How could it achieve such an objective if it was staging an attack against an almost powerless enemy with poor funding and even poorer sources of ammunition? Indeed this war painted an image of a merciless IDF picking on parties that are not as strong and thus showing what a quasi war this conflict was because it had objectives that were far removed from the ground. The IDF did not strengthen itself and instead served to alienate Israel from the international community.

Another modern disaster is the war in Iraq. Entry into Iraq was justified by the US government on two major fronts; the first being to destroy terrorism in the former country and the second being to restore democracy in Iraq. The latter objective has raised several eyebrows since democracy was a mere smokescreen for the United States government which wanted to replace Saddam Hussein’s government with a US friendly one that would allow them to control oil resources in this richly endowed country. In other words, the real objective behind the US war in Iraq was to access oil and maximise profits for oil making companies. In other words, the well being of Iraqis took second place to corporate needs of the United States. Nonetheless, both stated and implied objectives of the US led war in Iraq have not achieved anything politically. First of all, the US wanted to replace Iraqi leaders with ‘democratic’ ones but doing so would alienate Iraqi people who must participate in their own elections. Additionally, spearheading political changes in the latter country is imperialistic of the US because it is demonstrating that it does not acknowledge the liberty and ability of the Iraqis to decide for themselves who should govern. From 2003 to date, the US has achieved minimal political mileage in this country. In fact, matters have gone from bad to worse. Terrorists who were divided and haphazard in their attacks now got a common cause after the US-Iraqi war. They now had a universal enemy to whom they could direct their pent up anger. Therefore, this war has not fought terrorism- it has actually contributed to its organisation and armament. Besides, the issue of democracy on Iraq is still a pipe dream. The country is laden with deep divisions between religious, communal, clan and ideological groups thus making it difficult for elections to be carried out in a free and fair manner. Even the unstated objective of controlling Iraqi oil resources by the US is now nothing but a mirage since Iraqis want nothing to do with the former mentioned country.

Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf war demonstrate that war brings death, destruction and hopelessness. Political objectives in all the latter struggles have not been realized with substantial evidence showing that they have in fact exacerbated the situations that led to initial attacks. Terrorism has been a commonly cited reason for these wars instigators’ but none of the involved governments have actually minimized that threat.

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