The Iraq War, Ten Years Later
By The Editors
Ten years ago this week, the United States launched the Iraq War. A decade later, thanks to the mismanagement of the Bush administration, the indifference of the Obama administration, and the inherent difficulties of Iraqi society, it is clear that we expended great blood and treasure for an unsatisfactory outcome.
The story in Iraq isn’t over. It didn’t end with our departure, and what we do still matters. The Obama abdication in Iraq, though, has continued. We should be using every remaining financial and diplomatic lever we have to try to force Maliki to give up his campaign against the Sunnis and to maintain some distance from Iran. Instead, the administration is content to take Maliki as it finds him, even as he allows Tehran to funnel aid to the Assad regime in Syria, which we want to see fall.
Throughout the near-decade of war in Iraq, there was one constant: the heroism and selflessness of our troops, who paid the highest price for the mistakes of their superiors. They gave their lives and their limbs. They were the tip of the spear of the most proficient and humane fighting force that the world has ever known. We wish the results so far in Iraq were more worthy of their sacrifice.
Geopolitical ADHD: The Iraq War’s fair-weather hawks revealed an emptiness at the heart of American power
By Mark Steyn
[I]n the grim two-thirds-of-a-century roll call of America’s un-won wars, Iraq today is less un-won than Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan, and that is not nothing. The war dead of America and its few real allies died in an honorable cause. But armies don’t wage wars, nations do. And, back on the home front, a vast percentage of fair-weather hawks who decided that it was all too complicated, or a bit of a downer, or Bush lied, or where’s the remote, revealed America as profoundly unserious. A senator who votes for war and then decides he’d rather it had never started is also engaging in “alternative history” — albeit of the kind in which Pam Ewing steps into the shower at Southfork and writes off the previous season of Dallas as a bad dream. In non-alternative history, in the only reality there is, once you’ve started a war, you have two choices: to win it or to lose it. Withdrawing one’s “support” for a war you’re already in advertises nothing more than a kind of geopolitical ADHD.
Shortly after Gulf War One, when the world’s superpower assembled a mighty coalition to fight half-a-war to an inconclusive halt at the gates of Baghdad, Washington declined to get mixed up in the disintegrating Balkans. Colin Powell offered the following rationale: “We do deserts. We don’t do mountains.” Across a decade in Iraq, America told the world we don’t really do deserts, either.