This code has expired and is no longer valid

The Iraq War’s Lessons Are Easier to See Than to Learn

The Iraq War’s Lessons Are Easier to See Than to Learn
Then-President George W. Bush makes a statement to reporters while then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld look on, at the White House, March 20, 2003 (AP photo by Rick Bowmer).

Next week marks 20 years since the United States invaded Iraq. In the wake of the Cold War’s end, Iraq was portrayed as the quintessential “rogue state” and its leader, Saddam Hussein, as the ultimate evil, drawing comparisons to Adolf Hitler. The United Nations Security Council had authorized the use of force against Iraq in 1991 following its invasion of Kuwait, and subsequently imposed devastating economic sanctions aimed at starving Iraq’s war machine and its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Finally, in March 2003, the administration of then-U.S. President George W. Bush decided it had had enough of Hussein. Without Security Council approval, the Bush administration, along with the government of then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, invaded Iraq with the aim of “regime change.”

The leadup to the 20th anniversary of that decision is sparking much introspection. Some now see it as a grave error, despite supporting the invasion at the time. Others, while acknowledging that mistakes were made, still think it was the right decision. Others never supported the decision and now feel vindicated.

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.