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!