There was a time when the Vietnam War was widely regarded as the biggest mistake in American military history, but Washington’s nine-year occupation of Iraq may end up looking worse. Unlike Vietnam, where the United States was pursuing a bipartisan strategy of containing communist aggression, the invasion of Iraq was an ad hoc response to faulty intelligence in the aftermath of the 9-11attacks. And unlike Vietnam, which had a shared language and cultural traditions North and South, Iraq is a diverse, contrived state that can probably only be held together over the long run by authoritarian leaders. Having fashioned a Shiite-dominated democracy on the edge of an Arab world known for Sunni-led dictatorships, America may have opened the door for expanded Iranian influence in the region. Even if that can be prevented, the aura of invincibility once enjoyed there by the U.S. military has now been eclipsed by bad intelligence and the difficulty of coping with insurgent tactics. And then there is all the money that was spent, and the wounded who will need our care for decades to come. I have written a commentary for Forbes that you can find here.
Find Archived Articles: