A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, March 18, 2013

Iraq: Thoiughts Ten Years After

Everyone seems to feel an obligation to note the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War. All I have to say is that the most important lesson of all is not to repeat the fundamental mistake we made. What seemed at the time to be a convincing body of evidence of weapons of mass destruction (which never materialized) persuaded US political figures from both sides of the aisle to support a war that, delusionally, many felt would be quick, easy, and transform the Middle East. It was neither quick nor easy, and its regional impact has been quite different from those pipe dreams of 2003.

Now, especially, with the Iranian nuclear issue simmering away, would be a good time to remember that war is a last resort, not a first one, or should be for democratic states; that all wars have unintended consequences; and that serious intelligence analysis should base its conclusions on the evidence it gathers, not tailor the evidence to desired conclusions. Ten years and two wars later, that should be an obvious lesson, yet there are those who clearly haven't learned it yet.

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