The United States broke Iraq — U.S. forces succeeded in the campaign 20 years ago to topple the Iraqi regime, shocking and awing their way to Baghdad in a matter of days, but what followed turned into a debacle for the U.S. grand strategy, and a traumatic nightmare for much of the Iraqi society, said an article published by The Washington Post on Monday.
“The initial glimmers of hope and optimism felt by some Iraqis faded as a dysfunctional, unstable status quo took root, shaped far too often by sectarian enmities and kleptocratic elites,” said the article.
“The war, driven by the hubris of the Bush administration and a supportive Washington establishment — as well as what has to be described at this point as a vengeful post-9/11 bloodlust that permeated American society — is now widely seen as a generational American mistake,” it noted.
Iraqis paid the biggest price: According to Brown University’s Costs of War project, many of the 306,000 estimated deaths in the Iraq war were of civilians killed by “direct war related violence” between 2003 and 2019, a span of time that saw Iraq convulsed by waves of insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, and its cities ravaged by terrorist attacks and airstrikes.
“The consensus now, even among formerly hawkish Republicans, is that the United States should never have invaded Iraq 20 years ago,” the article said.
An older genre of conventional wisdom in Washington maintains that the Bush administration’s real failure came only after it deposed the Iraqi regime, when it turned out that the United States didn’t have a real strategy for managing what came next, it added.