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  • "We must hold accountable those who repeatedly lied in the run-up to war," Ilhan Omar said. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 March 2019

Sixteen years ago the U.S. invaded Iraq on the premise that the country was hiding weapons of mass destruction that were never found.

On the sixteenth anniversary of the day when former President of the United States George W. Bush, and his British ally, Tony Blair, decided to invade Iraq arguing that they will turn the country into a model of democracy and spread freedom across the Middle East, Ilhan Omar, the U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota, said in a series of tweets that the George W. Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was "illegal." 

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Recently released conversations between U.S. highly ranked officials revealed the U.S. knew ahead of time that the war would cause massive instability, societal collapse and would encourage terrorism.

"We must hold accountable those who repeatedly lied in the run-up to war," she added, citing specific statements about alleged weapons of mass destruction including biological weapons, none of which were ever found, that was made by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

"All of these statements were not only false, they were known by intelligence agencies to be lies at the time. To this day they have not been held accountable," Omar wrote.

In the eight years between invasion and withdrawal (2003-2011), more than 110,000 people suffered violent deaths as a direct result of the Iraq conflict. Some estimates put that number at over a million. Hundreds of thousands of civilians and former combatants also suffered injury during the war, both physical and psychological. When the coalition finally withdrew in 2011, no significant weapons of mass destruction had been located. 

The U.S progressively disbanded Iraq’s bureaucracy and security services, allowing looters to plunder and torch people’s homes and public buildings, and opening the door to murder and kidnapping. 

Militias based in Iraq began a long insurgency against the occupation, and terrorist organizations joined the fight.  The U.S. invasion also set the stage for the rise of the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq. 

Today, after 16 years, Iraq is still trying to regain stability suffering intermittent attacks that continue to kill, wound, or maim civilians by the thousands.

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