The Strategic Disaster of Invading Iraq


Measured not by the reelection of hapless politicians or the enrichment of CEOs in the military-industrial complex but by the change in U.S. national security, the U.S. invasion of Iraq constitutes a tragic, needless, and overwhelming defeat for the U.S., a defeat whose costs continue to rise.

One decade after the U.S. imperial adventure in Iraq, the U.S. national security balance sheet offers a somber message:

  • the stridently anti-U.S. “neo-con” regime in Tehran is solidly in place, running a country that has gained significant strategic advantages as a result of the U.S. decapitation of Iraqi power;

  • Pyongyang has learned the lesson of Washington’s insistence on making violence its main foreign policy tool vis-a-vis Iran and Iraq, and is consequently moving as fast as it can to develop a nuclear deterrent;

  • the Mideast is destabilized due to encouragement of Iranian hostility, endless instability in Iraq, the slapping down of Ankara’s efforts at compromise, and the encouragement of Israeli extremists (a group that was the real victor of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and wants still more U.S. regional wars);

  • the U.S. economy is greatly weakened;

  • the U.S. appears now to be accepting defeat in Afghanistan as the ultimate result of having taken its eye off that ball in 2003 in order to pursue Saddam;

  • Constitutional guarantees of civil liberties appear to be permanently weakened and democracy fundamentally weakened in the U.S., where the War Party has yet to be called to account either legally or morally for the harm it caused;

  • the U.S. political scene is fractured and rudderless to the point that rational policy-making seems virtually impossible in social, financial, or foreign policy, leaving the world’s last remaining superpower still supreme but unable to make effective use of its now self-defeating power.

Across the political stage, regardless of topic, political debate focuses on trivial, superficial, short-sighted questions, with most Republicans and Democrats agreeing on only a single point: that past mistakes are so embarrassing to the elite that they must be swept under the rug. No one in power will ask why politicians guilty of launching wars of choice based on fictional claims or ordering/permitting seemingly illegal behavior against civilians in war theaters should not be forced to defend themselves in court. No one in power will ask why we tolerate a financial elite on welfare that is sucking the wealth out of the population. No one is asking if mercenary armies outside of Congressional control are compatible with a democracy. No one in power is worrying about the decline of American civil liberties or the steady growth of the Imperial Presidency or the expansion of a military devoted to big toys regardless of their military value. No one wants to learn lessons or think long-term.

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