On March 19, 2023, the US launched the invasion of Iraq based on what turned out to be the false premise that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. The US and Western press strongly beat the drums for war before the invasion. A FAIR watchdog group poll revealed that 70% of American sources cited in stories in the run up to the invasion were pro-war and a mere 3% were categorized as anti-war. The war itself was accompanied by images and stories about human rights abuses, including the crimes committed by American personnel at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, although some journalists were targeted for covering such issues. Polls in recent weeks and months have shown that voters in US and Western countries are growing weary of supporting and providing arms to Ukraine in the conflict with Russia – with many calling for negotiations to commence. There has been criticism, particularly in the United States, about the near complete lack of debate or opposition to using billions of taxpayer dollars to fund a foreign war. Even the anti-war Democratic progressive bloc in Congress has so far backed sending military aid to Kiev. Ford observed that despite the fallout over the Iraq invasion the US government, amplified once again by the mainstream media, continues to lecture others about respecting a “rules-based order.” Dozens of countries took part in the Operation Iraqi Freedom at different times, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and Australia. Within three weeks of the invasion Iraqi civilians and US troops pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. Although Bush declared “mission accomplished” in May of 2003, the US remained embroiled in fierce fighting that would leave over 4,400 American troops dead before combat operations ended in 2011.
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