15 years Since the Iraq War
March 20th, 2018 marks 15 years since the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the American led coalition. The war was a quick one, ending just over a month later on May 1st. It began in good faith, with good intentions: the United States was allegedly invading to disarm Iraq of its nuclear weapons and to overthrow a dictatorship that sponsored terrorist organizations with links to 9/11. It ended with the Iraq government losing all trust in the American people; and with a more destabilized Middle East than before the invasion. The invasion was a massive operation, comprising hundreds of thousands of troops, primarily from the US but also from Britain, Australia, and others. Canada decided to remain neutral, a decision which at first alienated it from America but in the long run turned out to be a wise move. It was initially a quick conflict, Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship capitulated in less than a month and a half, paving the way for a free Iraq. Coalition casualties were light compared to Iraq’s. At the time, the Iraq War was appearing to go as well as the Gulf War, only 12 years before.
Then things fell apart.
The disbanding of the Iraqi Army proved short-sighted, the provisional government was unable to establish order, and terrorist groups capitalized on the country's weakness. America became bogged down in a war they could not win or exit, it became a sort of Vietnam in the 21st century. America eventually left in 2011, only to get involved again, albeit in a lesser manner, when Islamic State spawned. The consequences of the fall of Saddam’s Iraq are still affecting us today: a broken Iraq, lack of trust in the government, and Middle Eastern nations becoming more hostile towards the US. Historians and policy makers will debate the causes and effects of the war for decades to come, trying to determine what went wrong and how to avoid it in the future.