Iraq After Twenty Years

At this time two decades ago, President George W. Bush resolved to invade Iraq and topple its brutal dictator Saddam Hussein. His decision was the most consequential American foreign policy decision since the end of the Cold War, and arguably the most significant foreign policy action of the United States in the twenty-first century. As the invasion turned into a bloody occupation and triggered civil strife and insurrection, more than two hundred thousand Iraqis perished and almost nine million were displaced or fled abroad — about one-third of Iraq’s prewar population. Two decades later, a small contingent of American troops remain in the country helping to provide security for a struggling young democracy, whose constitution, elections, parties, and political institutions, at least in part, still bear the imprint of the American occupation policies. For the United States, the invasion was a turning point. When it invaded Iraq, it was at the height of its hegemonic post-World War II power. But the war and insurrection exacted a human, financial, economic, and psychological toll on the United States that few had foreseen. According to Brown University’s Costs of War project, almost nine thousand American soldiers and contractors died in Iraq and over thirty thousand Americans were wounded in action. Several hundred thousand veterans suffered brain injuries or experienced post-traumatic stress. The invasion, the war, and the occupation will have cost American taxpayers more than two trillion dollars. The conflict distracted policymakers’ attention from the mounting chicanery on Wall Street that precipitated the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression. The war accentuated partisan rifts and sundered trust in government. Believing that President Bush and his advisers had lied about their motives and then acted incompetently, Americans grew more disillusioned with their leaders and institutions. Its consequences have ramified throughout American politics to

Already have an account? Log in

Want to keep reading? Join our community:


Support great writing by becoming a full subscriber to Liberties Journal.

Subscribe Today

Free Preview

Sign up with your email address, and access two free articles per month.

We hope you've enjoyed your free articles!

Become a full subscriber for only $50/year, (33% off cover price).

Thank you for supporting great writing.

Subscribe Today
Log In Subscribe

Sign Up For Free

Read 2 free articles a month after you register below.

Register now