Causes Of War: The Iraqi Conflict

Conor Fitzgerald

Dr. Hakan Tunc spoke about the causes and consequences of the War in Iraq war for a small band of students and faculty gathered in Persson Hall Auditorium Wednesday night. He focused on the causes of the Iraq War and President George W. Bush’s administration’s reasons for going to war. “Dr. Tunc was a valuable speaker who brought up interesting points from an interesting perspective, being from Turkey,” senior Drew Spievack said. “It’s a shame more people weren’t here.” According to Tunc, the least understood part of the War in Iraq is how the idea to go to war took root in the Bush administration. Tunc said that Bush asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 72 days after 9/11 to draw up an invasion plan for Iraq. Tunc identified three groups in the Bush administration that he viewed as having a large influence on Bush’s decision to go to war. He broke them down into the Neo-conservatives, such as Paul Wolfowitz; assertive nationalists, such as Vice President Chaney; and Condoleezza Rice, who did not fit into either category, yet greatly impacted the decision to invade Iraq. Tunc said that Bush was urged by the Neo-conservatives, assertive nationalists and Condoleezza Rice to go to war in Iraq for four reasons, what Bush called a Grand Strategy. Tunc told his audience that Bush had four main motives for going to war. The perceived threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction generated fear within the Bush administration. The administration worried that Saddam would give weapons to al-Qaeda, who would use them against the United States. The three other reasons for war included the strategic rational, the physiological rational and the ideological rational. Tunc asserted that by invading Iraq the United States could project its influence throughout the Middle East and exert pressure on Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. Next, Tunc stated that the United States had a physiological rational for going to war because it needed to show its power and resolve against terrorist groups and prove that the country was not a “paper tiger”. The final motivation of the Bush administration for invading was ideology. Spreading democracy throughout the Middle East and the potential of generating a domino affect of new democratic nations were great incentives. “Iraq could turn out to be a moderate democracy,” Tunc said, “and that would be a revolution in the Middle East.”After explaining why he believes that the United States went to war in Iraq, Tunc shared his own views regarding the War in Iraq and the future of the country. “One thing I am sure of is that a war on terrorism without a war on the root of terrorism is dangerous,” Tunc said. He believes that Iraq is a part of the war on terrorism, not because there is a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein but because “the cause of terrorism lies in the dysfunctional politics of the Middle East, and a new Iraq provides an opportunity to break that cycle.”