Consequences of the Iraq War

31 May

The Iraq War started 12 years ago and still has had a lasting effect to this day.  It has destabilized the region as well as the country itself.  This war didn’t need to happen.  The original war ended but the war with ISIS has just begun.  We will feel the effects of the Iraq War for decades and maybe even longer to come.  I think that it will be years before we finally know the full impact of the war.

The Iraq War started on my 17th birthday.  I knew the year before that there was a likely hood that we would soon be at war with Iraq.  I was against it before it started because I didn’t believe we had a good reason to go to war.  My fear at the time was what would the world’s response be to our war?  The war in Iraq was popular with the public before and during the initial invasion.  I think the political risk caused many Democrats and some Republicans to vote for the war.

After 9/11 the country was ready to do whatever it took to keep us safe.  Unfortunately we have made bad decisions after an attack.  (i.e. Japanese interment)  The Bush Administration pressured people to support the war in Iraq under guise of national security.  Iraq had attacked its own people, started wars with countries in their region, but they were not about to attack the United States.  Almost all of the Democrats that voted for the war now regret it.  The political support for the war vanished several years after the initial invasion.  President George W. Bush got re-elected because he was a war president.  What helped get him re-elected also helped ruin Bush’s presidency and eventually got the Republicans voted out of office.

The political and overall legacy looks very different than it did when the Iraq War started.  There is almost no public support for the Iraq war right now.  Despite this, Senator Rand Paul remains the only Republican running for president who dares to criticize going to war with Iraq.  All of the Democrats running for president acknowledge going to war with Iraq was a mistake.  Hilary Clinton would probably be president today if she hadn’t voted for the war.

Every president for the next several decades will have to deal with the consequences of the war with Iraq.  While President Obama was against the war, he has had to deal with the after effects.  Without a strong and willing military as well as a lack of political solution in Iraq, the country and the region has broken out into chaos.  Saddam Hussien was a brutal dictator, but he kept the country from breaking into an all out civil war.  Now the country is worse off then when we went in.

What we are left with is the emergence of ISIS, and thousands of lives lost.  We have achieved little in the region because of the war with Iraq.  Over 4,000 U.S. troops are dead because of a misguided war.  Almost $2 trillion were spent to fix the country only to see it fall apart.  My hope is that we will learn from our mistake before we rush into another war, but I am not overly optimistic that will happen.


2 Responses to “Consequences of the Iraq War”

  1. Jacob August 10, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    Sam, I know this is to an old post, but how would you compare the above situation with the discussion over the Iran Nuclear deal. What about for its long term consequences on the struggle with ISIS? (sorry, not meant to be phrased as a final exam questions, but curious about your thoughts in general on the Iran deal.

    • Sam (unconventionalpoliticalwisdom) August 12, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

      It is similiar in some ways and different in others. Some of the same people who were for the Iraq War are against the Iranian Nuclear deal This isn’t a coincidence. Some people think that because we have the best military in the world that we should use it for every conflict. I disagree.

      The opponents of the deal say we should get a better deal, but that isn’t realistic. We had a chance at a better deal in the early 2000’s but the Bush Administration turned the Iranians down. The Iranian nuclear centrifuges went from hundreds to thousands, which brings us where we are today. Our options are accept the deal, do nothing, or go to war. I’d pick the irst option.

      I don’t think that the deal would directly effect our fight with ISIS. I say directly because it could eventually lead to cooperation with Iran over a long-term strategy to fight ISIS and make other deals possible with Iran.

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