Trillions of Dollars Saved: What if America Never Invaded Iraq?

Robert Farley

Robert Farley

Security,

A whole new world?

Trillions of Dollars Saved: What if America Never Invaded Iraq?

The impact of the Iraq War on the Arab Spring is more difficult to sort out.  The framers of the war hoped that the establishment of a democratic Iraq would spur anti-authoritarian reactions around the region, although they also hoped that U.S. clients (including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states) would be spared. Something along these lines did indeed happen in 2011, but only well after most in the region had concluded that the invasion of Iraq was a disastrous failure.

Every player of the popular video game Civilization knows to hit the save button before engaging in the risky, stupid invasion of foreign country. In the case of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it became apparent after the first few months that the war was not working out as its framers had envisioned.  The failure to find weapons of mass destruction was only the icing, so to speak, on the disaster of failed reconciliation, state collapse, and executive incompetence.

What if we had “saved game” before we invaded Iraq? What would America’s strategic options look like today?

(This first appeared in 2015.)

The Middle East

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