Video: Stratfor Analyzes Iraq, 10 Years After the U.S. Invasion


    Excellent analysis by Stratfor (as usual) of the geopolitical situation in Iraq, 10 years after the U.S. invasion. Was this war worth the tremendous cost in blood and treasure? Given how it all turned out, in my opinion, it’s extremely difficult to argue that it was.

    Of course, we didn’t know how things would turn out back in 2002-2003, when the overwhelming majority of Americans were convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that they might use against U.S. interests, pass to terrorist groups, etc. The U.S. also had been at war with Iraq pretty much continuously for more than a decade back in 2003, first with Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, then with a decade of sanctions, no-fly zones, and military operations like Operation Desert Fox (under Bill Clinton).

    Still, in hindsight, it is clear that we made a big mistake in going to war with Iraq in the way we did – without sufficient forces to win the peace, to secure the country, to prevent the rise of violent militias, to provide for reconstruction, etc. It was also a big mistake to wage this war without raising the revenues to pay for it, as it strained our military while contributing (along with Bush’s foolish tax cuts, especially at a time of war) to huge deficits during the Bush years.  Bottom line: getting rid of Saddam Hussein’s regime was a net positive for the world, but the geopolitical implications, the cost in blood and treasure, and the continuing instability in Iraq to this day, call into question whether this war was worth it in any way, shape or form.

    Please feel free to use the comments section to discuss the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.

    P.S. I almost forgot to mention that the political impact of the Iraq War here in the United States, including in Virginia, was immense. In 2006, for instance, Jim Webb was propelled to victory in significant part due to the anger many Americans (mostly Democrats and independents) were feeling over the war.

    P.P.S. Also, on a personal note, my initial support for the invasion of Iraq was probably one of my worst mistakes ever politically. As usual, I should have listened to my wife, who warned me not to trust the Bush Administration to do ANYTHING right (or to believe Colin Powell, which I did). Smart woman!  

    • ir003436

      I’m a retired Army officer, couple of tours in Vietnam, many years in Special Ops as well as Special Ops planning assignments in Pentagon and a few other strange assignments.

      I very much wanted to see Saddam Hussein overthrown, however, I strongly opposed the Iraq War.

      Very early I was convinced the Iraq War had nothing to do with Saddam’s alleged support for terrorism nor did it have anything to do with “WMD.”  

      Based on my reading of “analysis” from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and my former professional contacts with some PNAC members, I was convinced the whole purpose of the war was to install a US puppet regime in Iraq that would (1) give us free access to Iraqi oil, and, (2) allow us to establish bases in Iraq from which we could project power into Central Asia, China’s back door, Russia’s underbelly, and the Mid-East.

      While I was not opposed to any of these objectives, I felt a war that overthrew Saddam was the wrong way to go about it.  Instead, I felt we needed to support dissident groups in Iraq,let them overthrow Saddam, then, they could invite us in.  Consider this:

      — The “Marsh Arabs” are clans who live in the marshes in SE Iraq along the Iranian border.  Saddam did not trust them and his projects that drained many of the marshes on which they depended for their livelihood pissed them off . . . which is why he stationed much of his army and secret police to brutally keep order in the region.

      — The Kurds are an ethnic people in northern Iraq who spill across the Turkey-Iraq border and who don’t like anyone very much.  It was against the Kurds that Saddam used chemical weapons (with the blessing of the Reagan administration).  In many Kurdish areas, the Iraqi military and police did  not venture far from their barracks; Saddam’s control was shaky there.

      — The educated Iraqi middle class didn’t care much for Saddam.

      THEREFORE — if, instead of a main force invasion, the objective of tossing Saddam and his regime had been turned over to US and allied special operations forces and clandestine services , I believe we would have wound up in much better position than we are now.

      Overthrowing him by clandestine means would have required:

      1.  Forming alliances with the various groups that opposed Saddam.  Arm, train, and equip them and spread bundles of $100 bills around; and,

      2.  The various anti-Saddam groups to work together, hereby forming working relationships around a central objective, in spite of their historical differences.

      Eventually such a strategy would have rid Iraq of Saddam and his organization.  It would have been a slow process, taking several years, but would have had several advantages for us.

      1.  Our fingerprints would not have been on the operation.  Instead, he would have been overthrown by a coalition of his own people.

      2.  By forcing the various anti-Saddam groups to cooperate, we would have forced them to work out their differences BEFORE they took power.  As a result, we would not be faced now with the near civil war that marks Iraq.

      3.  No GI’s would have died and we would not have dumped who knows how many trillion $$ down the Iraq war rathole.

      3.  We still would have gained access to Iraqi oil and we could have negotiated base agreements because the government that replaced Saddam would be seen as a sovereign Iraq government, not a US puppet.

      However, clandestine and covert operations take a long time to develop.  My strategy likely would have spanned the Bush administration into the Obama administration.  Clan and covert ops don’t lend themselves to parades and “mission accomplished” banners.  

      Oh, well.  My tomato seedlings are under the grow lights, my cool weather crops are in the garden, and no one is interested in an old soldier’s ramblings.