After 18 Years, Bring Home America’s Troops from Iraq, by Doug Bandow

Unlike in Afghanistan, the government didn’t even have the excuse that there was a prominent terrorist 9/11 mastermind hiding in Iraq to justify its regime change operation. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

President Joe Biden plans to keep U.S. forces in Iraq but out of combat, he hopes. At least that is what he said after representatives of the two governments met Monday in the latest “strategic dialogue.” Americans and Iraqis alike are still paying the price for George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.

The Islamic State, which overran much of the country only a few years ago, has been defeated. It remains a threat, but one that Iraqis can contain. The continuing divisions within Iraqi society pose a greater challenge to Baghdad. Although nominally at peace, Iraq is riven by sectarianism, violence, and corruption, which have inflamed popular frustration and anger, especially among the young, who are desperate for a better future.

Unfortunately, outside powers exacerbate internal problems. Geography and religion enhance the influence of Iran, which supports well-armed militias in Iraq. They operate outside of Baghdad’s control and today direct much of their fire at US forces.

Although more distant, Washington has acted even more imperiously and recklessly. The Reagan administration supported Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, providing naval protection for oil shipments used to fund his murderous aggression against Iran. However, his 1990 attack on Kuwait turned Washington against him, leading to the first Gulf War. Then Bush used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq. His claim that Baghdad possessed nuclear weapons was false, a striking pastiche of lies and misstatements, highlighted by calculated falsehoods from Ahmed Chalabi, a U.S.-subsidized expatriate who dreamed of seizing Iraq’s presidency.

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