The main justification for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan operation as given by the U.S. President , George W. Bush and his allies in the coalition, was the false claim that Iraq possessed and was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD), violating a 1991 agreement. U.S. officials argued, in a way interested and biased, that Iraq posed an imminent, urgent and immediate threat to the United States, its people and its allies and its interests.
Many opponents of U.S. policy in Iraq insist that the 2003 invasion of the country was unnecessary. They assert that the Iraqi government never posed a major security threat to the U.S., as the Bush administration had claimed prior to the war.
U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
Early in the 2008 presidential campaign, then Senator Barack Obama (D, Ill.) advocated increasing the level of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. On Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic fundamentalists based in that nation had carried out the deadliest terrorist attacks ever to take place on U.S. soil. Afghanistan's Taliban government--an Islamic fundamentalist regime--had long provided safe haven to the Al Qaeda terrorist group and its leader, Osama bin Laden, who were widely believed to be behind the attacks.
Many critics have argued that the conflict in Iraq has taken the U.S. focus off the war in Afghanistan. Indeed, they argue, terrorists gathering in Afghanistan present a dire threat to American security. Obama, who, as an Illinois state senator, opposed the Iraq war from the start, has argued that "we took our eye off the ball" in Afghanistan by invading Iraq. After becoming president, Obama announced that his administration would conduct a comprehensive review of the situation in Afghanistan and would announce a new strategy for prosecuting the war.
Recent International Incursions into Afghanistan
Afghanistan has had a turbulent political history over the past several decades. A coup in 1978 established a communist regime in the country. That government, however, faced an insurgency from Islamic resistance fighters. In 1979, the Soviet Union began sending soldiers into Afghanistan to bolster the communist government headed by Babrak Karmal. The U.S. in turn backed the mujahedeen--a coalition of militant Islamic fighters determined to oust foreign troops from Afghanistan. The U.S. provided weapons, financial support and training to mujahedeen fighters. Thus began a so-called "proxy war" between the U.S. and Soviet Union; such conflicts--in which the U.S. would back one side, while the Soviet Union would support the opposite side--were relatively common during the Cold War, an ideological conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that dominated global politics for most of the latter half of the 20th century.
The Current Situation in Afghanistan
The situation on the ground in Afghanistan has become increasingly complicated. The government of Pakistan, which neighbors Afghanistan, has made several peace treaties with Taliban members who operate in the vast, mountainous region between the two countries. Certain portions of western Pakistan have also adopted Islamic law--the stringent legal system imposed by the Taliban.
Under international law, occupation resulting from an armed conflict ...