Research: Commentary

15 Years Later, CIP Commemorates Disastrous US Choices in Iraq

March 19, 2018 | Article


On the 15h Anniversary of the Iraq War, CIP experts reflect on the disastrous choices the US has made in Iraq since 2003


Iraq: Weighing the Costs of War

By William D. Hartung
Published on the Hill

The war in Iraq, which began 15 years ago this month, was an unnecessary conflict spurred on by misleading claims about Saddam’s Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and his regime’s alleged ties to Al Qaeda. But there was another key element of the George W. Bush administration’s sales pitch for the war — the notion that it would be cheap and easy.

In February 2002, a year before the start of the conflict, former Reagan administration official Kenneth Adelman notoriously suggested that the Iraq war would be a cake walk, resulting in “the greatest victory in America’s war on terrorism.”

We all know how that turned out. 


Where Are They Now?

By Stephen Miles and Erica Fein
Published on Inkstick

Perhaps no one’s political fortunes ar

e more famously tied to the Iraq War than Hillary Clinton’s. The presumptive Democratic nominee in 2008 and presumptive victor in 2016 saw her political fortunes upended by Iraq War opponents, first by then-Senator Barack Obama and later by her 2016 challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders. In 2016, Trump disingenuously took advantage of the space Bernie created by falsely claiming he too had opposed the invasion. The rest is history.

As we mark the 15th anniversary of the Iraq War’s start, history’s judgment on the war is little in doubt. By starting this war, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney cost our nation trillions of dollars, created massive instability in the Middle East, and caused a human toll – to both Americans and Iraqis – that may never be fully known.



US Security Cooporation With Iraq: A Timeline of Key Events and Data Points from 2003 to 2018

By Ana Guererro and Colby Goodman
Published on Security Assistance Monitor

As the United States approaches the 15th anniversary of its invasion of Iraq and continues to provide significant levels of aid to the security forces, it's a fitting time to review some of the key events that shaped the U.S.-Iraqi security aid relationship? There have been moments of military success against the insurgent groups when coalition and Iraqi security forces won back the city of Fallujah in 2016 and more recently in Mosul. However, the history of the Iraq war shows these military victories are often short lived unless certain conflict drivers are addressed. 

The below timeline highlights these and other challenges the United States and Iraqis have faced in addressing security threats and key items to remember for current U.S. policy debates.
See interactive timeline...




How The Iraq War Destabilized The Entire Middle East

By Melvin A. Goodman
Published on Counterpunch

As we approach the fifteenth anniversary of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq, which we are still paying for in so many ways, it is important to remember the misuse of intelligence that provided a false justification for war.  It is particularly important to do so at this time because President Donald Trump has talked about a military option against North Korea or Iran (or Venezuela for that matter).  Since there is no cause to justify such  wars, it is quite likely that politicized intelligence would once again be used to provide a justification for audiences at home and abroad.

In 2002 and 2003, the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency collaborated in an effort to describe the false likelihood of a nuclear weapons program that had to be stopped.  In the words of Bush administration officials, the United States was not going to allow the “smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”  On September 8, 2002, Vice President Cheney and na

tional security adviser Condi Rice used that phrase on CNN and NBC’s “Meet the Press,” respectively, to argue that Saddam Hussein was “using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.”



War, Journalism and Whistleblowers: 15 years after Katharine Gun’s truth telling on the verge of the Iraq War

Panel Discussion with Matt Hoh
Published by Insofar Media

15 years ago, as a GCHQ employee, Katharine Gun leaked a memo revealing US spying operations on UN security council members. This simple act of bravery helped to galvanise the mass movement of opposition to the Iraq War. It also served as a telling reminder of the essential role played by the press in speaking truth to power and upholding the fabric of democratic life. A generation on, the legacy of that leak is writ large in a resurgent politics of resistance to the warfare and surveillance state on both sides of the Atlantic. This unique event brings together a panel, including Katharine herself, to discuss the lessons of that leak, and ask: What can and should we be doing - journalists, scholars, activists, citizens, policymakers - to do justice to the immeasurable public service performed by whistleblowers?

Plus an exclusive video message from Dan Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
Watch the full video here...


CIP in the Press