January 11th, 2014
08:00 AM ET

Why Iraq is in turmoil

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

Here's a startling statistic: more than 8,000 Iraqis were killed in violent attacks in 2013. That makes it the second most violent country in the world, after its neighbor Syria.

As violence has spread and militants have gained ground in several Middle Eastern countries, people have been wondering how much this has to do with the Obama administration and its lack of an active intervention in the region. The Wall Street Journal and a Commentary magazine opinion piece have both argued this past week that the Obama administration's decision to withdraw troops from Iraq is directly responsible for the renewed violence in that country. They and others have also argued that because it has stayed out of Syria, things there have spiraled downward.

Let me suggest that the single greatest burden for the violence and tensions across the Arab world lies with a president – though not President Obama – and it lies with an American foreign policy that was not too passive but rather too active and interventionist in the Middle East. The invasion and occupation of Iraq triggered what has become a regional religious war in the Middle East. Let me explain how, specifically.

From March through June of 2003, in the first months of the occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration made a series of catastrophic decisions. It authorized the disbanding of the Iraqi army and signed onto a policy of deBaathification, which meant that anyone in Iraq who had been a member of the top four levels of the Baath Party – the ruling party under Saddam Hussein – would be barred from holding any government job.

This meant that tens of thousands of bureaucrats and hundreds of thousands of soldiers – almost all Sunnis – were thrown out of work, angry, disposed, and armed. This in turn meant the collapse of the Iraqi state and of political order. But it also sparked the rise of a sectarian struggle that persists to this day.

More from CNN: Can Iraq ever escape cycle of violence?

The Bush administration went to war in Iraq to spread democracy. But in fact it spread sectarianism – displacing the Sunni elite who had long ruled the country and replacing it with hardline Shia religious parties that used their new found power to repress the Sunnis – just as they had been repressed.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been utterly unwilling to share power with the Sunnis – who comprise about 20 percent of Iraq – and that has driven them into opposition, extremism, and terrorism. During the surge the prime minister made several promises to change his ways and over the last few years has reneged on every one of them.

This sectarian power-struggle is the origins of the civil war that has been ongoing in Iraq for 11 years. It is the cancer that has spread beyond Iraq into other countries, from Syria to Lebanon.

The Bush administration seemed to have made the massive strategic error almost unthinkingly. There is for example a report that a few months before the invasion, President Bush met with three Iraqi exiles and appeared unaware that Iraq contained within it Sunnis and Shias. An Arab leader confirmed to me that in his meetings with the president, it was clear that Bush did not understand that there was a difference between the two sects. Others in the administration, better informed, were convinced that the Shia would be pluralists and democrats. Those of us who warned of these dangers at the time were dismissed as pessimists.

So if we're trying to understand why we see a Sunni-Shia battle unfolding across the Middle East, keep in mind that the primary cause is not that the Obama administration didn't intervene in Syria. It's because the Bush administration did in Iraq.

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Iraq • Middle East • Religion

soundoff (454 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Instilling a democracy in a culture that is not used to it will take a lot longer than 10 years. If the Bush administration is guilty of anything it is that this was not taken into enough consideration. Had the United States stayed in Iraq for the long haul (albeit that would be very costly), the situation in Iraq would be more stable and this discussion would be a mute point. The Obama administration apparently does not value democracy on the same level (as evident in domestic policies as well) so the chances of a successful democratic Iraq were pulled out from underneath them. The bigger problem as I see it is that the United States has trouble with commitment. If the flavor of the month sours, we can always just stop.....Arguing if we should or should not have gone into Iraq is another topic of debate but by that logic, we should not do anything anywhere because we will never finish it.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:42 am | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Perhaps the people were correct when 10 years ago they said "the Middle East does not have the appropriate psychology to succeed in a democracy." I debated that back then, but now I'm beginning to wonder.

      January 13, 2014 at 3:04 am | Reply
  2. Gtwithit

    Islam is the cause of all of this violence. Muslims from both sides are just following their role model the murdering Mohammad. We all know this is the truth. You can't blame anyone for this violence other than those who are doing the killing.

    Fareed Zakaria is just another lying Muslim who won't tell you the truth. He knows it is Islam causing this violence.

    January 13, 2014 at 4:38 am | Reply
    • Zapp

      Agreed... Muslims kill Muslims in the direct name of Islam for 1400 years, Muslims blame non-Muslims.

      January 13, 2014 at 6:18 am | Reply
      • No one

        Let them kill each other unhindered, if they try to leave to do harm elsewhere, potentially shoot on sight, though there may be a few on occasion that are actually trying to run away.

        January 13, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
    • AQAhmed

      LOL...The bush adm INVADE iraq in the name of WMD...thats not Christianity invading a muslim country but the American gov invading Iraq, on the other hand one Iraqi Sunni or Shia kills another, well thats Islams fault. Dude bro no doubt that Islam plays a role and its misunderstood, but come on man check your logic first. The American invasion has led to 200000+ iraqi deaths AND 4000 of your own! If I start adding the numbers, in the last 2 centruries, the WHITE CONSERVATIVE Christians have more blood on their hand then anyone else, but what do we say, its the Nazis, or the Bush Administration, or some African War lord...do I need to go on? I know you will say those whites werent conservatives etc,,blablabla. We ALL KILL in the name of something, whites went to civilize the uncivilized right....remember Columbus, etc. I will stop now.

      January 13, 2014 at 7:55 am | Reply
    • K. Wilson

      Zakaria, I believe, is not a Muslim. (though I'm not 100% sure)
      Regardless, its not THIS religion, its ALL religion, when its used for political purposes, violence ensues. The reason the middle east is a mess right now is because it was exploited for centuries, its infrastructure was systematically destroyed (up to and including the Iraq invasion) and they don't have control over their own resources. Islam is just the language that these factors are attacked through. I don't agree with that, with terrorism or violence in general, but to try and dumb it down to blaming it on the religion disables the conversation and blocks any meaningful efforts at reform.

      January 13, 2014 at 10:36 am | Reply
    • saywhat

      The Lord help you dear bloggerAmen.
      Your hate might consume you.
      Ignorant remarks.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:50 am | Reply
      • John Smith

        America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
        In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
        During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
        In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.

        January 13, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • minnie mouse

        John Smith is Propaganda poster.

        January 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
      • gherson

        Look up Mohammad Mosaddegh (and Iran Air Flight 655). unfortunately it would seem that US's Iran problems are largely of its own making.

        January 14, 2014 at 9:23 am |
    • Paul

      You seem to know alot about Mr. Zakaria. Or do you?
      "CHARLIE ROSE: Your parents are Muslim?
      FAREED ZAKARIA: Yes, and I was brought up that way. I am just not a particularly religious person. I think I sealed my fate when I became the wine critic for "Slate" magazine.
      CHARLIE ROSE: That will do it."
      Go back into your single-wide trailer and have a couple more beers, redneck...

      January 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      Bush went in there to get Saddam Hussein, that's all. Bush Sr. was a man of his word, and very wise. He formed a coalition. To do this, he agreed with our allies to get Iraq out of Kuwait. As soon as the Iraqis crossed the border back into Iraq, they were safe. That was the deal. (If you remember the photos of the main road that was bombed and flamed, lots of them didn't make it back into Iraq. So, a price was paid for invading Kuwait.) Dubya, being the swaggering Texan that he was, and also a puppet for the real President (Cheney), went in there with a vengance, without thinking, and made us look like a bunch of stupid hoodlums. We in the U.S. need to understand that we can't bend the rest of the world to our will just because we have incredible force when we need it. We can't be everywhere all of the time. "Mission Accomplished" indeed...

      January 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • BasmALLAH

      It is unbecoming of a human being to blame someone who is not only innocent but a Mercy to Mankind.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Nonsense from someone who doesn't want to deal with reality.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Reply
    • Phildog

      Wait – don't you know it was Bush's fault? Certainly not any of the radical muslims who killed everyone...

      January 13, 2014 at 11:59 pm | Reply
    • Diane

      Well, that's certainly the easy way to look at it. Subtlety is hard.

      January 14, 2014 at 12:01 am | Reply
    • Hossein Meisami-Fard

      In Quran, Surah Al-Nisa part (Josaa) #6, Verse (Ayat) 157 God says: I replaced Jesus or Isa (a human being ONLY) with a man resembling Isa when he was crucified. No-one killed Jesus or Isa! In Sureh "Fusilat" Ayat (verse #3) God says we wrote Quran in Arabic for people who know the language. Also in futher surahs it say" we selected Muhammad so he can teach Quran to HIS people. In Quran, God acknowledges that He sent Musa (Moses), and Jesus and Maryam. I read that God says all Jews and Christians must now follow Quran. All It's mentioned here-in this message is direct revelations from The Noble Quran. It really makes Human wonder!!! God in all holey books wants An-Nas means human to believe that he is real and Muhammad is his messenger. Muhammad is given bounty by God to have any woman he wants and approves all his ACTIONS. WONDER!!

      January 14, 2014 at 12:09 am | Reply
  3. Benjamin Faith

    The trajedies unfolding in Iraq should be a lesson to all of us. The lesson is, WE SHOULD KNOW THAT OUR DECISIONS CAN HAVE FAR REACHING CONSEQUENCES. Unfortunately there are Men who don't care about anything beyond their selfishness and some mistakenly make it to the top. HOW SAD!
    As for the People of Iraq the message is simple FALSE RELIGION WILL FINISH/KILL YOU IF YOU DO NOT TURN TO THE TRUE GOD, THE GOD OF LOVE, FORGIVNESS, PATIENCE AND MANY GOOD THINGS. The true God does not encourage violence, revenge and other demonic things so obviously at play in Iraq. Muslims should take a leaf from Folks who call themselves Christians, because there is quiet a difference between the Catholic and Protestant Churches but they don't lynch each other. Finally my prayers are with you and may you know that before the throne of The Almighty the Creator, Sunni and Shia are both Children he created and it pains him to see you dying for a worthless course called Shia and Sunni.

    January 13, 2014 at 6:28 am | Reply
    • Quinton

      Well said Benjamin, but we still need to split Iraq into three different states if we ever hope to end this violence. The right-wing politicians in Washington care only for themselves and want to keep Iraq united so that they can exploit their resources more easily. They have no concern at all for the Iraqi people!

      January 13, 2014 at 8:33 am | Reply
      • R. Wilson Reagan

        Great posting above, Quinton. You really know where it's at unlike other people here who say the most ignorant of things! Anyone who thinks that our 2003 invasion of Iraq was a good idea obviously never got past the 6th grade in school!

        January 13, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • K. Wilson

      They don't lynch eachother *anymore*. Their were entire wars fought in Europe over the Protestant split. Regardless, pointing the ignorant, uneducated and oppressed from one god to another does nothing. They will just use the dogma of the new to justify the same actions.

      January 13, 2014 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • saywhat

      Unfortunately@benjamin history proves you wrong.
      Pick up any book on history of European Wars, Civil Wars, Revolutions, World Wars and you would learn that its Christians who have shed most blood of each other and others down the road of history.European history is awash in blood.
      In the early 14th century the Roman Catholic Church was fully militarized and spreading Christianity by sword was the motto of Popes after Popes.
      Our very own war of Independence, Civil War, World War 2, Nagasaki,Hiroshima, Korean War, Vietnam show case the invalidity of your argument
      . Invasion and occupation of Iraq & Afghanistan, yet another chapter.
      Those who travel know very well how the pre-Soviet invasion Afghanistan,pre-war on terror Pakistan, pre-invasion Iraq were and other so called Islamic countries. All places where we the westerners went for leisure, worked and even retired having the time of their lives.
      Even predominantly muslim countries like the Gulf States, indonesia, malaysia, Brunei offer opportunities and great living for foreigners.
      If we stop meddling and let go of militarism that would be the first step.

      January 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • mac Qurashi

      Ever read about the 30 years wars between Catholics and Protestants in the European history. Do not have to go back that far. How about the recent Irish Catholic and Protestant conflict that continues to simmer. What about the Pope Urban II who in 11th century commanded the crusaders to destroy Jerusalem on behalf of the what you call the TRUE GOD. All wars and conflicts are for economically motivated. Unfortunately the name of God is used to get innocent population to get involved. British sowed the sectarian seeds in order to control the resourced of their colonies.

      January 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • Sam

      "Muslims should take a leaf from Folks who call themselves Christians, because there is quiet a difference between the Catholic and Protestant Churches but they don't lynch each other."

      Benjamin, you must be an American otherwise you known about the 30 years war in Europe in which Catholics and Protestants slaughtered each other. Then there was the Inquisition during which the church burnt non-believers on the stake.
      So Islam is going through what Christianity went through 600 years ago. It is unfortunate that ignorance keeps them from learning from history.

      January 14, 2014 at 12:25 am | Reply
  4. Benjamin Faith

    Leaders stop encouraging and exploiting divisions. Remember that all of us are going to stand alone on judgement day. Do not be fooled by those saying nothing like that is gonna happen.
    To my fellow mankind hope all feel the wonderful healing love of the Father. The world can only become a better place if we as individuals embrace change that makes/gives us a loving peacefull nature. That is true religion. That is Faith desired for our lives.

    January 13, 2014 at 6:39 am | Reply
  5. Benjamin Faith

    Leaders stop encouraging and exploiting divisions. Remember that all of us are going to stand alone on judgement day. Do not be fooled by those saying nothing like that is gonna happen.
    To my fellow mankind hope all feel the wonderful healing love of the Father. The world can only become a better place if we as individuals embrace change that makes/gives us a loving peacefull nature. That is true religion. That is Faith desired for our lives.

    January 13, 2014 at 6:39 am | Reply
  6. salman

    what freed is telling is totally baseless.its full of biased report and he is having views of extremist .Saudi Arabia is behind all the troubles in Iraq.she is sponsoring the terrorist.

    January 13, 2014 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • Keith

      Saudi Arabia on one side and Iran on the other, this will never stop. It is sad that they kill innocent people for their ignorant beliefs.

      January 15, 2014 at 10:52 am | Reply
  7. wakeupAmerica

    America bombs the crap out of a country (Iraq), kills over 1 million people, displaces over 4 million people, and then wonders why it is in turmoil???????

    January 13, 2014 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Thank you, wakeupAmerica. You nailed it!

      January 13, 2014 at 11:30 am | Reply
      • R. Wilson Reagan

        I fully agree with both of you above!

        January 13, 2014 at 11:40 am |
  8. saywhat

    Well @wakeupAmerica, the bitter truth.
    But we are a gullible people and are easily led by our proverbial noses by our politicos, foreign lobbies & others into believing otherwise.

    January 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  9. Dean

    As usual a great analysis by Fareed.
    In my opinion however it stops just short of stating what the real mistake was: overthrowing Saddam.
    My personal take is that people/ countries should be let alone to sort heir political issues at their own pace and convenience. Attempting to impose a leader from abroad has never resulted in positive outcome.
    Don't get me wrong, I am no fan of Saddam Hussein or Ghadaffi or any other tyrant of the sort. They are all brutal blood thirsty dictators.
    But at the worse of their cruelty they never manage to kill anywhere as many people as are dying in the chaos ensuing their overthrow by foreign powers.
    The US should just stand clear of regime change policies

    January 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  10. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    January 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • tychi

      " In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people." Russia has joined that club; shooting down a commercial airline off of Kamchatka.

      January 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        The comments about Americans shooting down Iranians is intentionally misleading. It is posted repeatedly for over 10 years now, many times every week, by paid propagandists. I'm tired of having to provide the actual true context all the time – I want readers to know what actually happened. FACTS: At the time of the incident, Iran was engaged in war with regional neighbors. Other large international nations had sent ships to the region to monitor the situation and watch for signs of unwanted increase in hostilities. During an intense air battle between Iran and its opponents, the American naval crew on the monitoring ship incorrectly judged that an aircraft heading toward them was Hostile. The result was the downing of an Iranian civilian aircraft and the tragic loss of hundreds of passengers on board. Following a required investigation of the incident, the United States determined that the American naval crew was in error and therefore at fault. The United States government apologized to the Iranian government/people and paid financial reparations. Obviously, reparations cannot replace the loss of valued human lives. But it is important for readers to understand the context of what actually happened. The propaganda posters are dishonest when they attempt to create the impression that Americans were involved in that war with Iran or had military intentions to harm Iranian civilians.

        January 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
      • Kaveman

        I was there. I could have sworn it was '88 thought. Aircraft send out a signal called IFF (Information Friend or Foe) to indicate if they are civilian or military aircraft. The civilian airliner was sending out a military signal. It is suspected that Khomeini did this on purpose for propaganda purposes, knowing that the plane would be shot down and the world would blame the US. They turned down our request for aid to search for survivors even thought we were right there. When the captain came over the speaker and announced we just shot down an Iranian F14, we all cheered. They had wreaked havoc on us for months. When he came on shortly after to tell us it was a civilian plane it was obviously very depressing. My point is, there was no intent. We'd have top be utter fools to do that on purpose.

        January 14, 2014 at 12:23 am |
      • Kaveman

        "thought" = "though", twice!

        January 14, 2014 at 12:25 am |
      • minnie mouse

        Kaveman: thank you for your additional comments and clarifications about the 1988 Iranian / American plane incident. I had forgotten that it was signaling as Iranian military [not civilian] aircraft.

        January 15, 2014 at 12:43 am |
  11. tychi

    This is what happens when an American President and Vice President have an agenda to finish the previous Bush's war. They lied about Iraqi weapons and forced the war. America needs to learn to leave other countries well enough alone. All of the impacts on economics, human life lost, and region instability can be placed at the feet of two men.

    January 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      "This is what happens when an American President and Vice President have an agenda to finish the previous Bush's war."

      Obama followed the withdrawal agreement worked out with Iraq before he left office. How is that an agenda to finish Bush's war?

      January 13, 2014 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  12. chris

    I remember reading Zakaria saying IRAQ must be invaded just before 2003 invasion! That post 9/11 is best time to invade IRAQ! I dont know why he would act different now? Does he think our memories are short and what he said is forgotten?
    Zakaria is descended from Indian brahmin caste the priestly hindu caste from West of India His ancestors converted to Islam god only knows for what reasons.

    January 13, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  13. AF

    The Batlle of Karbala and the fact each side suppressed the other throughout history is why the two sects are in flames. The Bush Admin fumbling only switched the players. Its a total fake lie to say it is West fault when the split within Islam is far older than the entire history of the U.S.A.! The idea that it all started with Bush is ignorant nonsense. Europe fought a war for 30 years with Catholic vs Protestant almost 400 years ago to create religious change in its own lands.. That is what Islam has coming and if anything the West is only delaying the inevitable. You do a great disservice to those who need to find the will to change from within.
    Instead you add to to the ignorant voices that it's all the fault of people outside of Islam. Its time to be honest to make real change. You continue to hide in falsehoods and half truths. Too bad you only make the work more difficult.

    January 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  14. Islame

    Islame........that's why.

    January 13, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  15. Tafadzwa

    Enough blame has been shared around, so what is the solution ? Is Maliki willing to sit down to talk to his countrymen ? Is he willing to share power ? If not then he is part of the problem and not the solution. We must be wary of thoe pointing fingers, especially those blaming Christians or Americans. Notice these same people have an agenda. Thewy will even blame Israel !

    We now know, the insurgency in Irag is not all terrorism, but a civil war. The world should find a way to force them to talk.

    January 13, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  16. kittylynn

    Not to mention that the Bush blunder cost us $3 TRILLION DOLLARS according to Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes. ADDING TRILLIONS to our national debt that we "borrowed" from China. Meanwhile Bush CUT TAXES on the RICH. AND then the economy went into a depression and unemployment still isn't under control.

    January 13, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      The cost of the war in Iraq is not likely to reach anywhere near $3 trillion and we only owe China a little over $1 trillion.

      January 14, 2014 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • Diane

        Actually it is estimated that the war of Iraq and Afghanistan May cost us up to 6 trillion, including the care needed for all the wounded vets over the course of their lives

        January 14, 2014 at 12:07 am |
  17. Carl

    Obama atrocities. He owns the situation in Iraq.

    January 13, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  18. vivian

    We broke it, and we marketed the whole affair with lies (or blunders, you decide). We caused so much death and misery. Why? An old Bush family score. Pathetic, disgusting, immoral, unethical. Typical. Mercenaries, torture, cronyism – it all contributed to the moral downfall of the United States. We could care less how many Iraqis have died in their homeland because of our nation's actions. We are way too bust watching Dancing with the Stars and Honey BooBoo to give a hoot about non-Christian non-white people in some other land. That is our great legacy from this "war". Really, it has been a massacre. Look at the numbers. They never had a chance. The whole affair is appalling. Bush's two wars helped to bankrupt America.

    January 13, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      I think it was blunders. I think Bush is a decent man who did what he thought was best, but he was wrong. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and that certainly applies here.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  19. WestCoast

    And missing from this bias piece is what, if anything Obama has done knowing the info contained within this piece. The Nobel Prize winner seems not to have really done anything to forestall the disaster. Another example of disdain for the military and their efforts-or just plain ignorance and willful neglect. Or both. And for all you haters I am a Republican who was dead set against the Iraq war from the beginning.

    January 13, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Your baseless attack against Obama for this made it clear you are a Republican. What exactly could we have done to prevent this? We never should have invaded. It was a dumb decision, followed by a badly botched postwar effort. By the time Obama took office Bush had negotiated a withdrawal plan with the Iraqis. Iraq is a sovereign nation. Obama has no authority to act within the borders.

      January 14, 2014 at 12:03 am | Reply
  20. Fubarack

    What a leg-humper Fareed is. Everything is getting worse with Obama pretending to be president.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Name-calling, no counter argument and wholly unsupported claims. Are you a Republican?

      January 13, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  21. BradKT

    It was never possible for the U.S. to "win" the War in Iraq in the first place...and it was arrogant for us to believe that we could. Sure, we could defeat Sadaam Hussein's army, topple Sadaam, kill his sons and top henchmen and then what? One day, we were going to leave Iraq and the Sunnis just laid low and waited for us to do so. Now, you see the result. After we left, they came back and now we have a civil war. Iran will intercede and soon Iraq will be in the Iranian orbit. We have handed Iraq over to Iran on a silver platter after doing most of the heavy lifting and almost all of the dirty work for Iran...all at a terrible cost of both blood and treasure. This is the result of an asinine and arrogant U.S. foreign policy decision to invade Iraq.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Bush and his administration naively thought of Iraqis as oppressed Americans. He thought that if we liberated them from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein they'd welcome us as liberators, embrace a government like ours and that we'd be building McDonald's and Wal*Marts there in less than a year. Bush was woefully ignorant about the culture and society there, and today we see the consequences of his disastrous decision to invade them.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        Interesting description. I'm starting to lose hope. Maybe the middle east does deserve dictators. That is beyond the comprehension of Americans, but maybe that is all that can get the region under some kind of control. It is chaos.

        January 15, 2014 at 12:51 am |
      • minnie mouse

        And who was it who uttered "In chaos, there can be profit"?

        January 15, 2014 at 12:53 am |
  22. Je

    Saddam should had never played Texas Hold-em with Bush.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  23. volsocal

    Bush, Bush, Bush. Zach – get help. You should be over your Bush Derangement Syndrome by now. The problems in Iraq are being caused by Iraqis. Period.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      It is you who need help, help to deal with realities you don't want to face. A trillion dollars in added debt, 4,500 American lives lost, tens of thousands of wounded and disabled American veterans, and for what? For once put the truth before party loyalty. The invasion of Iraq and subsequent botched postwar effort represent one of the worst foreign policy failures in U.S. history. Stop maligning people for having the audacity to tell the truth about it.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm | Reply
      • volsocal

        The article is about residual problems in Iraq (since Bush left office), not the US. I agree that the war should have been paid for while it was being waged.

        January 14, 2014 at 12:20 am |
  24. skytag

    The invasion of Iraq and the subsequently botched postwar effort rank as one of the worst foreign policy disasters in U.S. history. Alarmingly, Republicans still refuse to acknowledge was a failure the Bush administration was on so many fronts, including this one. I say "alarmingly" because their refusal to learn from these kinds of mistakes only makes it more likely we'll repeat them in the future.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  25. keyser

    I say let the place burn.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  26. skytag

    I can only find one positive thing to say about all this: I never believed invading them was the right thing to do. I think Ronald Reagan had it right when he said the following:

    “The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: the United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to defer and defend against aggression to preserve freedom and peace.” — Ronald Reagan

    Yet in a sense we have Ronald Reagan to thank for that war. His wasteful military buildup was largely responsible for our ability to engage in such an action without having to impose any significant burden on the American people. Had Bush needed to raise taxes to pay for it and reinstate the draft to fight it we never would have invaded in the first place.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Reply
    • Keith

      But Regan was fighting proxy wars all over the globe, he was the master of the big lie.

      January 15, 2014 at 12:05 am | Reply
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