In the months prior to the invasion of Iraq, I inquired of a German friend his thoughts on the matter. His unequivocal negative response included the terms “power vacuum” and “civil war” — a stark contrast to my (and most American’s) ignorance of the region’s history and culture.
We have since come to know that unreliable and discredited sources provided faulty intelligence to the administration, while US intelligence agents, diplomats, and Middle East experts who opposed the military intervention were ignored or suffered reprisals. The invasion was carried out without a plan to secure order in the streets, protect infrastructure, deal with existing Iraqi police/military personnel and protect existing military supplies and arms. Corruption and war profiteering have been the rule, not the exception. In the rush to war, military personnel were sent to their deaths and others to endure life-altering injuries without proper protective equipment. Private contractors along with our military have killed over 650,000 Iraqi citizens, limited electrical, water and sewer capacities, and created enough ill will to last generations. Despite years of our intervention, prospects for a stable “democratic” government in Iraq remain highly uncertain.