Join our mailing list

* indicates required

Tags Matching:

Iraq War


  • Originally published 06/13/2014

    No End of a Lesson - Unlearned

    We should ask: what have we learned about ourselves, our adversaries and the process in which we have engaged?

  • Originally published 07/18/2013

    Mark LeVine: Flamenco, Car Bombs and a 'Happy' Future for Iraq

    Mark LeVine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, and distinguished visiting professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden and the author of the forthcoming book about the revolutions in the Arab world, The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh.I don't remember if it was my second or third hospital visit of the day. But the scene will remain etched in my memory. Before me was an Iraqi political activist, roughly my age, lying in what passed for an intensive care ward (less than half the beds have sheets, doctors have to rely on adult-sized IV tubes for children, and hardly any patients receive proper pain or antibiotic medications). He was in tremendous pain from several gunshot wounds, and yet he couldn't stop repeating to me that I shouldn't interpret his shooting as an act of sectarian violence. This is despite the fact that he was Shi'a and his shooter was Sunni, and that the morgue downstairs was overflowing with less fortunate victims of the same kind of violence.

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Robert W. Merry: The GOP Can Survive Its Iraq Wounds

    Robert W. Merry is editor of The National Interest and the author of books on American history and foreign policy. His most recent book is Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians.A passel of punditry has emerged recently questioning whether the Republican Party will soon recover from the foreign-policy incompetence of the George W. Bush presidency. Some pundits foresee a long period of eclipse before the party will recapture the full confidence of the American people, so seared have they been by the U.S. fiasco in Iraq and the ongoing muddle in Afghanistan. Thus, in this view, the GOP’s fate is set—a long winter of minority-party status.

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Doug Bandow: Obama Didn't Lose Iraq

    Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.A decade ago President George W. Bush invaded Iraq. U.S. forces quickly triumphed. But that counted for little when Secretary of State John Kerry visited Baghdad last weekend seeking Iraqi assistance against Syria’s Bashar Assad. What Washington thinks doesn’t matter much in Baghdad these days.Most Americans recognize that blame for the Iraq debacle lies with the Bush administration. It was a foolish, unnecessary war followed by a myopic, bungled occupation. No wonder Washington is finding benefits from its policy of being illusive at best.Yet the leading cheerleaders for the war remain undaunted.

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    American Anniversaries from Hell

    Still frame from video of the July 12, 2007 air strike in Baghdad, leaked to the public by WikiLeaks in 2010.Originally posted on TomDispatch.com

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: Iraq -- A Convenient Scapegoat

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear in the spring from Bloomsbury Books. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.Bring up Iraq — and expect to end up in an argument. Conservatives are no different from liberals in rehashing the unpopular war, which has become a sort of whipping boy for all our subsequent problems.Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan recently enumerated countless pathologies that followed Iraq. Yet to examine her list is to learn just how misinformed we have become in our anguish over the intervention.Noonan writes of Republicans: “It [Iraq] ruined the party’s hard-earned reputation for foreign-affairs probity. They started a war and didn’t win it.”

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Haroon Moghul: 10 Years Later -- An American Muslim Looks Back at Iraq

    RD Senior Correspondent Haroon Moghul is a Fellow both at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law and with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Haroon is completing his doctorate at Columbia University and is the author of The Order of Light (Penguin, 2006). He's been a guest on CNN, BBC, The History Channel, NPR, Russia Today and al-Jazeera.I didn’t want to write on the occasion of the Iraq War’s tenth anniversary. So much has been written, and so much of it dully offensive, structurally racist, or profoundly heartless, that I thought it better to skip the subject altogether. What, really, could I say to capture how we should feel? But the woman who commands my building’s front desk in the late night hours is Iraqi.I found this out when, a few days ago, she helped me with the freight elevator. Some folks were buying furniture from me, and while we waited, we started talking. Five years ago, if I remember right, she came to this country. I could not imagine what it would feel like for an Iraqi to find refuge in America, and I wasn’t about to unleash those feelings with a silly, ill-timed question.

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Ross Douthat: The Obama Era, Brought to You by the Iraq War

    Ross Douthat is a columnist for the New York Times.WHEN prominent people in Washington spend an anniversary apologizing for being catastrophically, unforgivably wrong about a decade-old decision, you might expect that the decision in question had delivered their party to disaster or defeat. But last week’s many Iraq war mea culpas were rich in irony: one by one, prominent liberals lined up to apologize for supporting a war that’s responsible for liberalism’s current political and cultural ascendance.History is too contingent to say that had there been no Iraq invasion in 2003, there would be no Democratic majority in 2012. (It’s easy enough to imagine counterfactuals that might have put Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.) But the Democratic majority that we do have is a majority that the Iraq war created: its energy and strategies, its leadership and policy goals, and even its cultural advantages were forged in the backlash against George W. Bush’s Middle East policies.All those now-apologetic liberals who supported the war in 2003 are a big part of this story, because without their hawkishness there would have been no antiwar rebellion on the left — no Michael Moore and Howard Dean, no Daily Kos and all its “netroots” imitators....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Patrick Cockburn: The American Legacy in Iraq

    Patrick Cockburn is a Middle East correspondent for The Independent and also contributes to the London Review of Books.Ten years ago, Iraqis, even if they had originally opposed them, hoped that the US invasion and occupation would at least bring an end to the suffering they had endured under UN sanctions and other disasters stemming from defeat in the first Gulf War in 1991. Today, people in Baghdad complain that they still live in a permanent state of crisis because of sectarian and criminal violence, pervasive corruption, a broken infrastructure and a dysfunctional government. Many Iraqis say that what they want in 2013 is the same as what they wanted in 2003, which is a visa enabling them to move to another country, where they can get a job.

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Donald Rumsfeld: "What Will History Say?"

    Credit: Flickr/Thierry Ehrmann.As conditions in Iraq spiraled downward in 2005, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld prodded the Pentagon press corps to adopt the long view. Instead of focusing on short-term setbacks and daily violence, with all the “gloom and doom” this involved, “we should ask what history will say.” Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan was admittedly “tough and ugly,” but history would reveal that “America was on freedom’s side,” and that “literally millions of people were enjoying liberty” because of the brave actions of coalition forces.Famously weak on predictions, Rumsfeld’s suggestion that history will judge the two wars a success and the harbinger of freedom for “literally millions,” seems unlikely. But having just passed the tenth anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq, the secretary’s question is worth pondering: what will history say about this war of choice? And more importantly, what should be remembered?

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    The Iraq War: A Failure of Presidential Leadership

    2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division during the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Credit: DoD.In Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime, Eliot Cohen argues that civilian leaders need to be deeply involved in the creation and execution of military strategy. His examination of Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill, and David Ben-Gurion shows that civilian leaders who immerse themselves in politico-military decision-making fare better than those who leave the most important decisions to their generals. Cohen published his book in 2002, just in time for President George W. Bush to read it during a vacation in Texas, about six months before U.S. forces invaded Iraq.

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    HNN Hot Topics: The Iraq War Ten Years Later

    U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brian L. Wickliffe.News10 years later, an anniversary many Iraqis would prefer to ignore (3-19-13)PollsPOLL: Has the Media Been Open Enough About Its Role in the Iraq War?Poll: Iraq War not worth it (3-17-13)Iraq: The spies who fooled the world (3-17-13)Commentary

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Rajiv Srinivasan: Iraq War Legacy -- Are Today’s Vets Better Off?

    Rajiv Srinivasan is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, where he served as a Stryker Platoon leader. The views expressed are solely his own.On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, it’s time for some perspective on the path we have traveled. We went into Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction, then to avenge September 11, then to build a foothold of freedom in the Arab world, none of which seemed to materialize. Our military, though the strongest force on earth, was challenged in ways we never thought possible. The front lines disintegrated into an asymmetric war. We realized the shortcomings of “shock and awe” and began pursuing “hearts and minds” instead. But for all the comparisons to the generation at war in Vietnam, today’s veterans have a lot more going in their favor than we may appreciate.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Fouad Ajami: Ten Years Ago, an Honorable War Began With Wide Support

    Mr. Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of "The Syrian Rebellion" (Hoover Press, 2012).Nowadays, few people step forth to speak well of the Iraq War, to own up to the support they gave that American campaign in the Arab world. Yet Operation Iraqi Freedom, launched 10 years ago this week, was once a popular war. We had struck into Afghanistan in 2001 to rout al Qaeda and the terrorists' Taliban hosts—but the 9/11 killers who brought ruin onto American soil were not Afghan. They were young Arabs, forged in the crucible of Arab society, in the dictators' prisons and torture chambers. Arab financiers and preachers gave them the means and the warrant for their horrific deeds.America's previous venture into Iraq, a dozen years earlier, had been a lightning strike: The Iraqi dictator was evicted from Kuwait and then spared. Saddam Hussein's military machine was all rust and decay by 2003, but he swaggered and let the world believe that he had in his possession a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. The Arab redeemer, as he had styled himself, lacked the guile that might have saved him. A great military expedition was being readied against him in London and Washington, but he gambled to the bitter end that George W. Bush would not pull the trigger....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    10 years later, an anniversary many Iraqis would prefer to ignore

    BAGHDAD — The war that arrived a decade ago is still too painful and too controversial to be taught to schoolchildren or subjected to serious academic study at universities, and the local news media are too busy reporting on the latest bombings, protests and political disagreements to care much about an anniversary.So as historians, pundits and former government officials in Washington and London produce a wave of reminiscences on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq — symposiums have been held, books written, new studies published on the conflict’s toll, human and financial — Iraqis are more concerned with the present.On Friday morning at the pet market in the center of this city, Hasim al-Shimari watched two roosters fighting it out and offered a rejoinder to those marking his war’s anniversary.“You see these people,” he said. “They are here to sell birds to earn some money to help them live. People are not interested in that. They are desperate and want to see real change, so they’ve stopped looking at the news or remembering past events.”...

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    John R. Nagl: What America Learned in Iraq

    John A. Nagl, a retired Army officer and a research professor at the United States Naval Academy, served in both Iraq wars and is the author of “Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.”THE costs of the second Iraq war, which began 10 years ago this week, are staggering: nearly 4,500 Americans killed and more than 30,000 wounded, many grievously; tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis wounded or killed; more than $2 trillion in direct government expenditures; and the significant weakening of the major regional counterweight to Iran and consequent strengthening of that country’s position and ambitions. Great powers rarely make national decisions that explode so quickly and completely in their face.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    James Joyner: Washington's Losing Streak

    James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council.As we approach the tenth anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq on March 20, it's worth reflecting on the fact that it has been nearly seventy years since America's last successful major war.On August 15, 1945, known as Victory Over Japan Day or V-J Day, the Japanese unconditionally surrendered, marking the end of the Second World War and establishing the United States as a superpower. Since that day, the United States has lost three major wars—Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq—and is counting down the months until its loss in Afghanistan.To be sure, we won the Cold War, which was surely more important than those four combined. But that was fundamentally a contest of political systems and economies. We wouldn't have prevailed without a powerful military and a great military alliance with NATO. But it wasn't a war in a literal sense—and we lost the two major wars (Korea and Vietnam) waged as part of it....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Greg Mitchell: When Chris Hedges, 10 Years Ago, Warned About Coverage of the Iraq Invasion

    Ten years ago, as the US invasion of Iraq began, and I was the editor of Editor & Publisher, I turned to veteran war reporter (then still at The New York Times) Chris Hedges for insight on what was going on—and what was likely coming. On most questions, his was a minority voice.  Also, as it turned out, quite prescient.He told our reporter Barbara Bedway that the US military's use of embedded reporters in Iraq had made the war easier to see and harder to understand. Yes, "print is doing a better job than TV," he observed. "The broadcast media display all these retired generals and charts and graphs, it looks like a giant game of Risk. I find it nauseating." But even the print embeds had little choice but to "look at Iraq totally through the eyes of the US military," he pointed out. "That's a very distorted and self-serving view."

 

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    David Ignatius: The Painful Lessons of Iraq

    David Ignatius is a columnist for the Washington Post.Ten years ago this week, I was covering the U.S. military as it began its assault on Iraq. As I read back now over my clips, I see a few useful warnings about the difficulties ahead. But I owe readers an apology for being wrong on the overriding question of whether the war made sense.Invading Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein a decade ago was one of the biggest strategic errors in modern American history. We’ll never know whether the story might have been different if better planning had been done for “the day after,” or the Iraqi army hadn’t been disbanded, or several other “ifs.” But the abiding truth is that America shouldn’t have rolled the dice this way on a war of choice....

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    The Iraq War: Learning Lessons, Ignoring History

    Front page of March 20, 2013 edition of the New York Times.Talk about a gap between serious academic history and the policy community. The New York Times, which has made a big deal of the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, offers a stunning case in point. At least five different items in the paper for Wednesday, March 20, seek some perspective from “authorities” heavy tilted toward policy specialists and former Bush administration officials. There is nary a historian of any sort to be seen.

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    James Jay Carafano: History and the Blame Game Ten Years After Iraq

    James Jay Carafano is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation....As the world marks the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq, essays assessing what happened in that conflict and the “lessons learned” abound.  But the lessons drawn are likely to tell much more about how Americans feel about their place in the world today than what really happened a decade ago.As a practicing historian, I know how historians practice.  Rewriting history is our stock and trade.  There are only two reasons to restate the past. The first is the recovery of important new information. In 1974, for example, the U.S. and British governments acknowledged the Ultra secret: that for much of World War II, the allies had been able to read the top secret messages of both Germany and Japan. That revelation sent scholars back to rewrite, because new accounts were needed to interpret what the allies did based on what the allies really knew.

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    Ten Years of "Police Advisors" in Iraq

    Iraqi Special Operation Forces arresting a "suspect" in a training operation in 2009. Credit: Flickr/U.S. Army.Ten years ago, in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq and that country's descent into anarchy, the United States began assisting, training, and equipping the Iraqi police.

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: What’s Not Being Taught About the Iraq War

    Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of education and history at New York University. He is the author of Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory and three other books. Upon the 10th anniversary of America’s war in Iraq, a critical question with serious ramifications has been little explored: What are our children being taught in schools about the conflict, as it passes from “current events” into history?To answer this question, one obvious place to start is school textbooks. I looked at several of them, and was happily surprised. The books present a fairly complex and balanced view of the war in Iraq, avoiding the falsehoods and sugarcoating that has so often marred American history instruction. But textbooks only tell part of the story.Just as important is what is actually emphasized in the classrooms, and the ability of teachers to engage in real inquiry. Unfortunately, a combination of school policies and judicial decisions have made it so that many kids learn little or nothing about what we have done in Iraq, or why we have done it.

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Eric Boehlert: Could Twitter Have Prevented the Iraq War?

    Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush." Responding to a barrage of criticism he received for a factually inaccurate and flawed column he wrote this month about the sequestration battle, New York Times columnist Bill Keller wrote a follow-up blog post to detail how critics had hounded him online, especially via Twitter.Denouncing the social media tool’s tendency to produce what he called mean and shallow commentary, Keller lamented Twitter’s suddenly pervasive power. “It is always on, and it gets inside your head,” he wrote, adding, “there is no escape.” Indeed, within days of writing his column, Keller felt compelled to pen a lengthy piece about his Twitter encounter.

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite: The Iraq War -- How Our Nation Lost Its Soul

    Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (1998-2008), Thistlethwaite is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.The Iraq war was not a Just War. It has been a moral, fiscal and geopolitical disaster for the United States. Ten years after the attack on Iraq, it is critical to understand all that we have lost in engaging in this war. The true legacy of the Iraq war is a loss of our moral compass on engaging in war.The Iraq war has first of all been a moral disaster because we broke the rules of war by ignoring them or so completely “re-defining” them that they lost their meaning.Nothing so typifies this moral breakdown as much as the attempt to redefine torture as “enhanced interrogation,” and claim, despite the evidence of the horrible photos and videos of the systematic abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, for example, that such torture is not torture.

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Paul Krugman: Marches of Folly

    Ten years ago, America invaded Iraq; somehow, our political class decided that we should respond to a terrorist attack by making war on a regime that, however vile, had nothing to do with that attack.Some voices warned that we were making a terrible mistake — that the case for war was weak and possibly fraudulent, and that far from yielding the promised easy victory, the venture was all too likely to end in costly grief. And those warnings were, of course, right.There were, it turned out, no weapons of mass destruction; it was obvious in retrospect that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into war. And the war — having cost thousands of American lives and scores of thousands of Iraqi lives, having imposed financial costs vastly higher than the war’s boosters predicted — left America weaker, not stronger, and ended up creating an Iraqi regime that is closer to Tehran than it is to Washington.So did our political elite and our news media learn from this experience? It sure doesn’t look like it....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Iraq: The spies who fooled the world

    The lies of two Iraqi spies were central to the claim - at the heart of the UK and US decision to go to war in Iraq - that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But even before the fighting started, intelligence from highly-placed sources was available suggesting he did not, Panorama has learned.Six months before the invasion, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair warned the country about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD)."The programme is not shut down," he said. "It is up and running now." Mr Blair used the intelligence on WMD to justify the war.That same day, 24 September 2002, the government published its controversial dossier on the former Iraqi leader's WMD....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    The Speechwriter: David Frum on the Rhetoric of Iraq

    My youngest daughter was born in December 2001: a war baby. When my wife nursed little Beatrice in the middle of the night, she’d hear F-16s patrolling the Washington skies.During the weeks before, anthrax attacks had killed five people and infected 17 others. What would come next?In October, I attended a crowded briefing in the fourth-floor auditorium of the Executive Office Building, at which the Secret Service explained its plans to protect the White House against a biological attack. They weren’t very reassuring. Basically, we’d all be dead. Even more disturbing were the small-session briefings by staffers for the new Homeland Security adviser. They warned of simultaneous car bombings at strategic intersections, targeted assassinations of officials as they retrieved their morning papers from their stoops, and poisonous gases released in Metro stations....These anxieties may sound luridly overdramatic today, but they suffused the mental atmosphere of the government of the United States as President Bush made the fateful decision to launch the Iraq War.

  • Originally published 03/17/2013

    Poll: Iraq War not worth it

    Ten years after the start of the Iraq war, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds nearly six in 10 Americans say the war was not worth fighting. Nearly as many say the same about the war in Afghanistan.A key reason: "A substantial sense that neither war did much to achieve their goals of enhancing U.S. security. Only about half of Americans say either war contributed to the long-term security of the United States, and just two in 10 say either contributed "a great deal" to U.S. security - clearly insufficient, in the minds of most, to justify their costs in lives and lucre."...

  • Originally published 03/17/2013

    Has the Media Been Open Enough About Its Role in the Iraq War?

    if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('61175c90-bb5e-47f0-b884-eba86bfeb921');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)UPDATE: More food for thought, from CNN:In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour marking the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, they cited reporters’ access to top officials in Washington as one of the top problems. The top-level bureaucrats, they said, had more of a propensity to spin toward the line that the Bush Administration was pushing.“Most of our reporting was with intelligence, military and diplomatic midlevel and lower level – the types that journalists don't really talk to or go after,” Warren Strobel told Amanpour.

Subscribe to our mailing list