15 Years After the Iraq Invasion, Americans Must Think Differently About Security

15 Years After the Iraq Invasion, Americans Must Think Differently About Security
U.S. Army soldiers conduct a mortar exercise at a small coalition outpost in western Iraq near the border with Syria, Jan. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Susannah George).

This week marked the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which was ostensibly launched to make the Middle East more secure. By any measure, it failed to do that. The region is significantly more unstable now than it was then and shows every sign of remaining that way. A few thousand miles from Iraq, American troops continue fighting and dying in Afghanistan. Victory there—at least as it was envisioned when U.S. forces first arrived in 2001—remains elusive. So is the global defeat of the Islamist extremist movements that caused the United States to get involved in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place, as well as in many other nations on a smaller scale.

Frustration with this state of affairs has pushed Americans to ask why their country no longer seems to win wars. “When I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say ‘we haven’t lost a war’—we never lost a war,” President Donald Trump told the National Governors Association in February 2017. “And now we never win a war. We never win.”

Everyone who grapples with this issue seems to have an explanation. Some blame weak leadership in the White House, usually when it is occupied by the opposite political party of the person casting blame. Some point to what they consider a failure to spend enough on defense or a propensity to spend on the wrong things. Others see a broader loss of national will, a softening of the American character. Still others with more reactionary views attribute it to “political correctness,” meaning an unwillingness to kill enough adversaries or treat all Muslims as enemies.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.