Bronze-level article

Iraq War

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
Icon war2.svg
Don't believe us?
Oh, we're sorry, were you looking for Vietnam?
Crusades: Expansion Pack.
Urban Dictionary

The Iraq War refers to either of two recent conflicts: a) the half-assed liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's regime (codenamed Operation Desert Storm), or b) full-bore invasion in 2003, codenamed "Operation Iraqi Freedom" (after the name "Operation Iraqi Liberation" was scrapped due to the obvious name issue).[No, not The Onion]

The latter appears to have been "the worst foreign policy disaster in American history"[1][2][3] and "a case of national stupidity."[4] The U.S. was mired in Iraq for a good eight years, at a cost of half a million Iraqi lives (by one estimate),[5] and $2 trillion dollars.[6]

The Onion's op-ed in '03 hit the nail on the head and managed to get right what all the "Real" News didn't.[7]

Gulf War[edit]

US could fail to find WMD on the ground in Iraq and be unpersuasive to the world... it could take eight to 10 years, thereby absorbing US leadership, military, and financial resources... Recruiting and financing for terrorist networks could take a dramatic upward turn from successful information operations by our enemies, positioning the US as anti-Muslim... Iraq could experience ethnic strife among Sunni, Shia, and Kurds...
Donald Rumsfeld's "Iraq List of Problems" memo, 15 October 2002[8]

The "Iraq War" originally referred to the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war. Afterwards, Iraq was deep in debt, so they decided to call up OPEC to raise the price of oil. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait rejected the idea, and in 1990, Iraq retaliated by invading Kuwait. A US-led coalition liberated Kuwait and put Iraq under economic sanctions, to prevent another invasion and assure the supply of oil. It was relatively successful at restoring a murderous despot to power, and the remaining Iraqis were bombed to bits during the retreat to Baghdad.[9]

Some relate the Iraq War to the Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), and name it the Second Gulf War, even though the vast majority of combat did not occur along the sea.

Iraq War[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Project for a New American Century
At an annual dinner of the American Enterprise Institute in February 2004, Fukuyama sat listening first to a speech by Vice President Dick Cheney and then the columnist Charles Krauthammer, who declared a “unipolar era” had begun, which, of course, the U.S. would lead. “All of these people around me were cheering wildly,” Fukuyama remembers. But in his view, Iraq was fast becoming a blunder. “All of my friends had taken leave of reality...I have not talked with Wolfowitz since.”
—Andrew Bast interviewing Francis Fukuyama[10]

Back in the nineties, a group of hardcore neo-cons including Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, and Donald Rumsfeld (Dick Cheney came onboard almost at once, but it's unclear if he was part of the original group) cooked up the idea of invading Iraq as a way to bring about a new Pax Americana. Iraq is located next to Iran and Syria; with Afghanistan invaded, the planners thought it would bring "freedom" to the ME and isolate Iran.[11]

Also, they were resentful that Bush the Elder hadn't gone all the way and crushed Saddam when he had the chance.[12][13] They publicly tried to get Bill Clinton to take military action against Saddam in '98, claiming he was producing weapons of mass destruction.[14] It almost reads like Cato's "Furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed" with regards to Iraq.[15][16]

Mind you, not a single one of them had the slightest bit of expertise on the subject. Recall all those asinine claims made before the war: "We will be greeted as liberators."[17] "Five days."[18] "Oil revenue will pay for it." [19] These people actually believed all of it.[20] And when they did consult an actual expert on Iraq, Gen. Tony Zinni (the person in charge of keeping Saddam contained), he said that they underestimated the Iraqi insurgency and how long it would take to stabilize the country. After this mob slimed their way into the White House, Zinni resigned from the military.[21]


When Coalition forces led by the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, news media heralded the initiation of the Iraq War. When George W. Bush announced the end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003 the war "ended" and the formal occupation of Iraq began, the media began to refer to U.S. and U.K. efforts to administer the nation as "the Occupation of Iraq."

The invasion of Iraq was advertised as being part of the wider-reaching War on Terror (although that phrase was eventually jettisoned by the UK administration for sounding too "Hollywood"). Whilst the U.S. and U.K. insist upon maintaining a presence in the Middle East and introducing laws that erode civil liberties within their own nations as effective steps towards "winning" this war, critics often observe that these actions have worsened security both abroad and domestically. It would appear to many that the War on Terror is also ambiguous in its aims, as there does not appear to be any universally accepted end point to such a campaign.


It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran... the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action.

—David Manning in the infamous "Downing Street memo," 23 July 2002[22]

The establishment needed a slew of excuses for invading Iraq (without consent from the nefarious UN). So Bush had his people tell a bunch of Tall Tales to support this military adventure.[23]

  • 9/11: Of course, the most important justification was 9/11, as immortalised in song by Clint Black. Evidence is good that the government actually believed this propaganda, as well. The CIA had been seriously politicized by the Bush White House; they were told to ignore anything that suggested Saddam wasn't packing heat, or in league with al-Qaida.[24][25][26][27] So they ignored the mountains of evidence that said otherwise. (CIA Director George Tenet famously said the case against Saddam was "a slam dunk.")[28] Many al-Qadea fighters were captured and interrogated about ties between Saddam and bin Laden. They thought the interrogators were joking, nobody could actually believe something so ludicrous.[29]
Finally, they resorted to torturing people until they got a "confession". The CIA's star witness was subjected to mock burial in a box 20 inches high, just days after the start of the war. He later recanted. Afterwards, he was disappeared.[30]
  • WMDs: It was a known fact that Iraq was given chemical weapons by America to use against Iran in the 80s.[31] Nobody disputed that. The administration knew about the older weapons and admitted that they were not dangerous. Bush and Cheney were claiming newer, active stashes of weapons as a reason for going to war. Moreover, they claimed Iraq was trying to manufacture nuclear weapons.[32]
Colin Powell, who never quite believed all this nonsense,[33] made a famous speech before the UN where he waved around a bottle of white powder which he claimed was anthrax. Powell also claimed, based upon the testimony of an informant known as Curveball, that Iraq had a bio-weapons program. Unfortunately, when it was later revealed that his entire speech was bogus, that was pretty much the end of his career.[34] (Curveball was later the target of a CIA burn notice, as he was a liar.)[35]
The White House also claimed that Iraq tried to buy uranium ore from Niger. However, those documents were forged. Nevertheless, President Bush uttered the infamous sixteen words in his 2003 State of the Union Address, claiming that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium. Joe Wilson, an American diplomat who claimed that this was a forgery, had his CIA-agent wife outed.[36][37]
  • Humanitarianism: When the WMDs failed to materialize, they made up new fictions. Bush and Tony Blair preached the importance of spreading democracy to the Iraqi people or, in the words of the Post, "establish an orderly European-style state on the Tigris and Euphrates".[38] Subsequently the capture of Saddam was hailed as a major success, as was the Arab Spring, though Bush and Blair differ on that last point.[39][40]
Blair is another odd fish. Crypto-catholic while in office, then converted after he resigned. Vaguely-apocalyptic in his views on Iraq and the ME in general; he seems to fervently believe he was doing God's work in supporting the invasion.[41] He didn't just support it, he actively advised Bush on how to manipulate public opinion.[42]
The invasion of Iraq shattered a nation built on an authoritarian foundation, but more importantly on a personality's foundation. If they really wanted to "nation build", they wouldn't have given him arms decades ago, they wouldn't have let him gas the Kurds,[43] they would have supported the generals who wanted to overthrow him,[44] etc. Instead they waited after hundreds of thousands died from sanctions (see below) to destroy the very tenuous link between all those groups and now there is no state, no shared identity, no institutions because Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer laid off everybody.[45]
  • Preemptive war: After the war, the claim about Iraq having WMDs was changed to 'just having the potentialWikipedia's W.svg' to pursue such a program. This argument has been regurgitated with regard to invading Iran and North Korea.

Spice must flow[edit]

The UN Oil-for-Food program was created to allow Iraq to buy provisions (food, medicine, infrastructure components, and so forth) with oil revenue, This caused a sharp decrease in the price of oil under Clinton economy, which powered the 90's economic boom. Oil went as low as $9 a barrel. (500,000 dead Iraqi children were "worth it".) Bush and his friends are in the oil business (Cheney in particular), so they knew that as long as Iraq was under sanctions and occupation, oil would be cheap. But the euro was rising against the American dollar, and Saddam Hussein was refusing to sell the black stuff in dollars i.e. what got Saddam invaded the first time, and that would have made oil more expensive.

This has to be seen in the context that, in 2002, Iraqi oil imports made up 4% of total US oil imports.[46][47] Also, petrodollars force countries to maintain a substantial amount of dollars on hand, keeping its value propped up. In 2007 Alan Greenspan admitted more-or-less the same thing.[48]

Australian Defense Minister Brenden Nelson said that oil was a key factor keeping Australian troops in the US-led war in Iraq. He was, however, hastily reprimanded by his boss (former Prime Minister "Honest" John Howard), who reassured the media that democracy and preventing the spread of terrorism was his main concern.[49] As part of the coalition, Australia had 1500 troops stationed in and around Iraq.

More primal explanations[edit]

In 2013, New York Times reporter Peter Baker quoted a former senior White House official who suggested that America went to Iraq just to "find somebody's ass to kick."[50] Rumsfeld himself said that invading Afghanistan was boring because there was nothing good to bomb.[51]


Initial deployment[edit]

We are in a war against terrorists, to have a blame meeting isn't, in my opinion, constructive.
—Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) on misplacing $8.8 billion dollars of Iraqi money[52]

Eric Shinseki said that they needed "several hundred thousands" of soldiers to invade Iraq and "win the peace."[53] Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld dismissed his warnings. They were obsessed with a notion of "Kinetic warfare" wherein American technology would eliminate the fog of war, allowing them to proceed with as little as 50,000 American troops.[54] The Pentagon was still reeling from Vietnam and the quagmire which ensued.[55]

Modern warfare allowed armed forces to take over the country at unprecedented speed. Victory was declared very quickly. However, there was no plan to win the peace. They had no idea how to secure the population. Wolfowitz sent in his lackey, Paul Bremer, to run the entire country. Bremer decided on his own to disband the Iraqi police and the military. He also wanted to "de-Baathify"Wikipedia's W.svg the government: Under Bremer, all former Baathists were banned from the new government of Iraq, effectively alienating the military and a vast majority of the experienced public officials.[56]

This and the lack of investment in infrastructure turned public opinion against the provisional authority. Tens of thousands of newly-unemployed men with assault rifles were left on the streets. Foreign fighters (with Iranian support) flooded Iraq, killing many in the crossfire. The population quickly turned against America, as it couldn't even protect them from thugs.[57] Bremer was seen strutting around the Green Zone in his Brooks Brothers suit as his men were torturing prisoners.[58][59]

Soldiers' families were buying body armor and Humvee panels and sending them to Iraq and Afghanistan.[60] That's not corruption, because Cheney could have positioned himself to make money supplying that stuff, just like Halliburton was raking it in with facilities, logistics, and oil work[61] (not to mention hiring out Blackwater to be Bush's and Cheney's private bodyguards).[62] But the White House was incompetent in setting up a supply chain or any plans lasting longer than a day and a half. Bremer also managed to lose track of 9 billion bucks and 190,000 guns.[52][63][64] Now you have Shiites and Sunnis trying to kill each other; suicide bombings and beheadings became commonplace.

"This guy was really under-qualified for the role of governor of a combat zone. His resume is from business and while he was a real "go-getter" he never had any experience with international affairs and didn't even bother to take any Arabic-speaking aides with him....Bremer was the fat kid in the candy store whose mother told him, 'You deserve this, Honey.'" — Jon Davis[65]
"I am beginning to feel some sympathy for those American officials who led the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq ten years ago and immediately began destroying existing political parties, standing armies, and traditional institutions of political consultation and authority. The deepest reason for this colossal blunder was not American hubris or naïveté, though there was plenty of that. It was that they had no way of thinking about alternatives to immediate—and in the end, sham—democratization. Where should they have turned? Whose books should they have read? What model should they have relied on? All they knew was the prime directive: draft new constitutions, establish parliaments and presidential offices, then call elections." — Mark Lilla[66]

By this point the war was becoming unpopular in the UK, and their presence in Southern Iraq was causing unrest, so the decision was made to pull the British troops out.[67]


In 2007, we turned a corner. Not only did we get a "surge" of tens of thousands American troops,[68] we also had the Iraqis revolting against foreign fighters: Sunni rebels were sick and tired of foreign fighters slaughtering Iraqis, so they joined up with the American forces. Generals Petraeus and McChrystal switched gears to form a counter-insurgency to win the hearts and minds of the Iraq people. There are also drones that wiped out hundreds, if not thousands, of insurgent fighters.

In 2008, the U.S. entered in a status of forces agreement with Iraq and agreed to leave by 2011. Tony Blair declared the world "a safer place."[69] Obama took over as President in 2009, and pulled troops out as planned.[70][71] Everyone assumed that Iraq could protect itself.

In 2014, a civil war broke out, fracturing the Iraqi Army.[72] The Shia are the majority population in Iraq,[73] and the minority Sunnis, who had been the favored guys under Saddam Hussein (who was Sunni), rejected the Iraqi government. Sunnis attacked Shias. Syria blew up. DAESH gained power, and recruited many former (and disgruntled) Baath officers.[74] This so-called "surge" appears to have only worked in the short term.

But wait, there's more![edit]

The events for which the Iraq War will be remembered by us and by the world have not yet happened.
—Thomas E. Ricks in 2009[75]

The Arab Spring was a spectacular failure. Each of those states apart from Tunsia have either failed, regressed into totalitarian regimes, or suppressed those dissidents and stayed the same.

In 2014, disturbing news arose in a country which no one had paid attention to for quite a while. ISIS, a Sunni group that broke away from al-Qaeda because the al-Qaeda leadership thought they were too extreme — captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.[76] The American-trained Iraqi army deserted en masse when faced with ISIS forces,[77] and the Bush/Blair gang popped up on various talk shows to defend their creation.[78][79]

US airstrikes are again a reality.[80] Meanwhile, up north, the Kurds (fighting ISIS) captured the key city of Kirkuk. Facing pressure from everyone at that point, Maliki finally stepped down in favour of an emergency government.[81]

Mission Accomplished (we think?)[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Moving the goalposts
And finally, and most importantly, the next time we go to war, don't give a specific reason for the war that the left can seize upon and later flog us with it ad nauseam, just do it.
—Dennis Miller, Hannity & Combs 27 June 2003[82]

Unlike the Gulf War, which technically ended with Saddam's retreat from Kuwait on 28 February 1991, the Iraq War did not have any universally-recognized objectives.

  1. No-fly zones are a thing of the past. No more risk of Saddam sparading a beaten and raped pilot on Al Jazeera.
  2. Saddam is gone, along with his two spermazoid sons.
  3. The Marsh Arabs have their land again, and the Kurds aren't sucking on mustard gas that we gave Saddam in the 80s.[83]
  4. Sunni Arabs have rejected al-Qaeda in Iraq and stabilized the gigantic Anbar region
  5. Iraq is the second democracy to take root in the Middle East
  6. The Iraq-US coalition has deterred Iran from its nuclear adventures
  7. The well-armed Iraqi army has seen to it that ISIS/Daesh has no hope of taking over the region D'oh.
  8. The US is now positioned between Iran and Israel, and can reach out to strike at Syria at any time.[note 1]
  9. The Saudis are no longer dependent on the US for defense against Iraq, of course.

John McCain, the Republican nominee for the 2008 General Election, shared a few bon mots about the War:

"This is a mission accomplished."[84]
"I don't know if you could ever say, quote 'mission accomplished,' as much as you could say 'Americans are out of harm's way.' And that's the key to America's concern — casualties."[85]
"My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will — that will then prevent us — that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East."[86]

McCain said he'd rather lose an election than lose a war,[87][88] implying that Obama wanted America to lose. You can't win someone else's civil war so it follows that you can't lose it. By the Bush administration's logic, the US already "won" the Iraq War when Saddam was toppled and they've been an occupying force ever since. You can't win an occupation, only end it. McCain was really talking about Obama "losing" our permanent superbases in Iraq, which Wolfowitz and co. (the dummies who got us into this mess) planned to use to project military power into Syria, Iran, and any other country that threatens Little America out there in the Middle East.

The irony of all of this is that Iran is the natural hegemon: it's perfectly situated, it can be secularized and democratized much easier than our other pillar in the ME, Saudi Arabia, whose population is much more radical than the monarchy and has deeper divides along geographic, religious and ethnic lines that also complicate political matters since they parse up the lands rich in oil. Obama's real achievement was going to be the "pivot" to Iran, but his work is currently "under review" by the Republican administration.[89][90]

Political fallout[edit]

Senator Byrd gave a stirring speech, which summed up the position of the anti-war movement at the time. They marched in the streets, drawing very large crowds; they were snubbed by Pelosi and Reid. (Reason: The Democratic presidential aspirants—Clinton, Obama, Biden—didn’t want America to 'lose' the war courtesy of the Democrats.) They bought the ranch next to Bush's; they were ignored. Ultimately enough people gave up and the anti-war movement, which started during Vietnam, was crushed by indifference. The Democrats' reward? Perceived now as fraudulent and warmongering, their standing in the polls as low as Republicans'. It doesn't help that people like Jonathan Chait still won't admit that the Iraq War was a mistake and answer lefty criticism of it by saying, ah but you can't offer a perfect theoretical solution to this problem the US caused through decades of illicit intervention, so your opinions are idealistic. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone should disqualify any hagiography of Bush, but here we are. So many of the liberal androids are forgetting how quickly we segued from WMD "smoking gun" to literal 19th century White Man's Burden and civilizing the savages when it came to justifying our continued disastrous war in Iraq, so they think they need to praise Bush to criticize Trump.[91][92]

In the UK, one of the most notorious outcomes of the war was the death of David Kelly, a British government scientist who leaked to the media claims that the British government had exaggerated the dangers of Saddam Hussein. Specifically, he told BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan that Tony Blair's office, and spokesman and media chief Alastair Campbell, had "sexed up" a dossier of arguments for the war by adding the incorrect claim that in the event of war Saddam would be able to deploy weapons of mass destruction to the battlefield in just 45 minutes; the actual intelligence available did not support this claim.

A few days after Kelly was revealed as the source, he was found dead in a field near his home. There was speculation by conspiracy theorists that Kelly was murdered to prevent him revealing the truth about the Iraq War.[93] Theories focused over the question of whether Kelly could have bled to death from the wound he apparently inflicted upon himself.[94] Tony Blair set up the Hutton Inquiry to investigate, or possibly to whitewash. It found that Blair and his government had done nothing wrong; Kelly had killed himself; the government hadn't deliberately leaked Kelly's name, victimised him, or driven him to suicide; the BBC was wrong to claim that Blair or Campbell had exaggerated the threat of Saddam's WMDs; the BBC's procedures were defective; Blair was right and his critics were wrong, the end.[95]

Gordon Brown later set up the Chilcot Inquiry to further investigate the wider background of the Iraq War. It was even more expensive, slower, and more inconclusive.[96]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


  1. Unlike previously, where the US would have to ask permission of its NATO ally, Turkey, to launch land forces against Syria and could use any of a number of regional bases and/or aircraft carriers to launch air strikes.


  1. How Just Were America's Wars? A Survey of Experts, International Studies Perspectives
  2. Iraq in Retrospect, Stephen Saideman
  3. William Odom of all people
  4. Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur, "History and National Stupidity," New York Review of Books, April 27, 2006, quoted in Jacoby, Susan, The Age of American Unreason, p. 643. 2008, Pantheon Books.
  5. Iraq study estimates war-related deaths at 461,000, BBC
  6. Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study, Reuters
  7. "This War Will Destabilize The Entire Mideast Region And Set Off A Global Shockwave Of Anti-Americanism vs. No It Won’t ", The Onion 26 March 003, vol. 43 Issue 12.
  8. The 29 possibilities, have fun! (Full context from The Washington Post)
  9. Peter Turnley's 'Unseen Gulf War', NPR
  10. Bast, Andrew, "Francis Fukuyama Book: Origins of Political Order", Newsweek (10 April 2011, 10:00am). He then voted for Kerry and then Obama. Would bet dollars to doughnuts he voted for Clinton.
  11. "Were 1998 Memos a Blueprint for War?", ABC 5 March 2003.
  12. Heilbrun, Jacob, "What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been", WaPo 2.3.08; Page BW08.
  13. Greenwald, Glenn, "Wes Clark and the neocon dream", Salon (26 November 2011, 08:45 AM PST).
  14. PNAC letters sent to President Bill Clinton, 26 January 1998. Archived by Information Clearing House.
  15. "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century", PNAC September 2000.
  16. "Letter to President Bush on the War on Terrorism", PNAC 20 September 2001.
  17. Transcript for Meet the Press 14 September 2003.
  18. "Rumsfeld: It Would Be A Short War", CBS (15 November 2002, 1:54 PM).
  19. Blustein, Paul, "Wolfowitz Strives To Quell Criticism", WaPo 21 March 2005; Page A01.
  20. Boyer, Peter J. "The Believer", New Yorker 1 November 2004.
  21. Leung, Rebecca, "Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'", 60 Minutes 21 May 2004.
  22. The full thousand words
  23. Michael Jenkins, Brian, The Invasion of Iraq: A Balance Sheet, RAND Corporation 22 March 2013.
  24. Hersch, Seymour M., "Selective Intelligence", New Yorker 12 May 2003.
  25. Risen, James, "How Pair's Finding on Terror Led To Clash on Shaping Intelligence", NYT 28 April 2004.
  26. Filkins, Dexter, "Where Plan A Left Ahmed Chalabi", NYT 5 November 2006.
  27. Walter Pincus and R. Jeffrey Smith, "Official's Key Report On Iraq Is Faulted", WaPO 9 February 2007.
  28. Nichols, Michelle, "Ex-CIA chief says "slam dunk" Iraq quote misused", Reuters 26 April 2007, 6:26pm EDT.
  29. Silverstein, Ken, "Official Pariah Sudan Valuable to America's War on Terrorism", L.A. Times 29 April 2005.
  30. Finn, Peter, "Detainee Who Gave False Iraq Data Dies In Prison in Libya", WaPo 12 May 2009.
  31. Mikkelson, David, "Have Your Yellowcake", Snopes.
  32. Leopold, Jason, "The CIA Just Declassified the Document That Supposedly Justified the Iraq Invasion", Vice (19 May 2015, 9:10am).
  33. Kampfner, John, Blair's Wars, Simon and Schuster (2003).
  34. DeYoung, Karen, "Falling on His Sword", excepted fromSoldier: The Life of Colin Powell, WaPo 1 October 2006.
  35. Sauer, Maddy, "Curveball: 'I Am Not To Blame' for U.S. War in Iraq", ABC 24 March 2008.
  36. Wilson, Joesph C., "What I Didn't Find in Africa", NYT 6 July 2003.
  37. "Key Players in the CIA Leak Investigation", WaPo (6/3/07 at 11:53 a.m.).
  38. Brownlee, Jason, Was Obama wrong to withdraw troops from Iraq?, The Washington Post 26 June 2014.
  39. Bush, George W., Remarks by President Bush: "The Arab Spring and American Ideals", Bush Center (17 May 2012, 6:56 p.m. ET).
  40. Pfeiffer, Tom, "Arab Spring may endanger Mideast peace: Tony Blair", Reuters (23 October 2011, 12:45pm EDT).
  41. "Tony Blair on Religion: Tony Blair’s faith was long on zeal but light on self-awareness", Economist 6 July 2016.
  42. "Tony Blair will help US on Iraq, 2002 memo says", BBC 18 October 2015.
  43. Hiltermann, Joost R., "Halabja : America didn't seem to mind poison gas", NYT via the International Tribune 17 January 2003.
  44. Morris, Roger, "A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making", NYT 14 March 2003.
  45. Dan Senor and Roman Martinez, "Donald Rumsfeld's Iraq revisionism", NYT 15 February 2011.
  46. U.S. Imports from Iraq of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products, Energy Information Administration
  47. U.S. Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products, Energy Information Administration
  48. Greenspan: Ouster Of Hussein Crucial For Oil Security, The Washington Post
  49. Australia 'has Iraq oil interest', BBC
  50. No Surprises Here, Esquire
  51. Rennie, David, "Ex-aide says Bush ignored warnings about al-Qa'eda", Telegraph (22 March 2004, 12:05 AM GMT ).
  52. 52.0 52.1 Pelofsky, Jeremy, "U.S. sent pallets of cash to Baghdad", Reuters (7 February 2007, 4:17am EST).
  53. Pierce, Charlies B., "Eric Shinseki's Very Long, Very Bad Morning", Esquire 15 May 2014.
  54. Noah, Timothy, "Birth of a Washington Word", Slate (20 November 2002, 6:40 PM).
  55. Bachevich, Andrew J., "The Petraeus Doctrine", Atlantic October 2008.
  56. Andrews, Edmund L., "Envoy’s Letter Counters Bush on Dismantling of Iraq Army", NYT 4 September 2007.
  57. Packer, George, "Betrayed", New Yorker 26 March 2007.
  58. Gordon, Michael R., "Debate Lingering on Decision to Dissolve the Iraqi Military", NYT 21 October 2004.
  59. Grim, Ryan, "When Did Bush Know About Abu Ghraib?", The Nation 2 July 2007.
  60. Schmitt, Eric, "Iraq-Bound Troops Confront Rumsfeld Over Lack of Armor", NYT December 2004.
  61. Fifield, Anna, "Contractors reap $138bn from Iraq war", FT 3.18.13.
  62. Witte, Griff, "Army to End Expansive, Exclusive Halliburton Deal", WaPo 7.12.06; A01.
  63. Risen, James, "Investigation Into Missing Iraqi Cash Ended in Lebanon Bunker", NYT 12 October 2014.
  64. "Uh, anyone see 190,000 weapons we lost in Iraq?", NY Daily News via Associated Press (7 August, 2007, 4:00 AM).
  65. Davis, "Quora Question: Who Is Responsible for the Mess in Iraq?", Newsweek via Quora (14 July 2014, 10:55 AM ).
  66. Lilla, "The Truth About Out Libertarian Age", New Republic 17 June 2014.
  67. Henry Mance and Andrew England, "Chilcot report lists British humiliations in Iraq", FT 7 July 2016.
  68. Tyson, Ann Scott, "Bush's Defense Budget Biggest Since Reagan Era", WaPo 6 February 2006.
  69. Adam, Karla, ] "Ex-British prime minister Tony Blair: The world is safer without Saddam Hussein"], WaPo 20 January 2010.
  70. Obama: All US troops out of Iraq by end of year, NBC.
  71. Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war, Reuters
  72. Zucchino, David, "Why Iraqi army can't fight, despite $25 billion in U.S. aid, training", LA Times (3 November 2014, 5:00 AM).
  73. Murphy, Dan, "With US gone, Iraq's Maliki is setting the board for a power grab", CSMonitor 21 December 2011.
  74. Swidley, Neil, "Where Did ISIS Come From? The Story Starts Here", Boston Globe 10 March 2016.
  75. The Book that Foretold the (Possible) Collapse of Post-American Iraq, PopMatters
  76. A Rogue State Along Two Rivers: How ISIS Came to Control Large Portions of Syria and Iraq, The New York Times
  77. The Iraq Mess: Place Blame Where it is Deserved, The New Yorker
  78. The Neocons Are Back to Relitigate the Invasion of Iraq, The Atlantic
  79. Three Lines I Don't Need to Hear on Iraq, The Washington Post
  80. Obama authorizes air strikes in Iraq, Reuters
  81. Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki Says He Will Step Down, NPR
  82. "Miller Unplugged", partial transcript from Hannity & Combs 30 June 2003.
  83. Yes, this was all preventable. (Or, in Chalmers Johnson's words, "We know Saddam at one time had weapons of mass destruction because we have the receipts!")
  84. [
  85. [
  86. [
  87. Win the Battle, Lose the Election?, Politico
  88. McCain Would Rather Lose an Election Than a War?, The Washington Post
  89. Heilbrunn, Jacob, "The neocons: They're back, and on Iran, they're uncompromising as ever", LA Times (2 April 2015, 2:42 PM).
  90. De Luce, Dan, "Trump Keeps the Iran Deal Alive, For Now", Foreign Policy (17 May 2017, 7:21 pm).
  91. Graham, David A., "How Democrats Came to Feel Nostalgic for George W. Bush", Atlantic April 2017.
  92. Chait, Jonathan, "Iraq: What I Got Wrong, and What I Still Believe", NY Mag (19 March 2013, 5:17 pm).
  93. David Kelly: An end to the conspiracy theories?, Robert Lewis, The Guardian, 2013
  94. David Kelly – what is behind the conspiracy theories?, The Telegraph, 2011
  95. See the Wikipedia article on Hutton Inquiry.
  96. Chilcot Inquiry: Findings at a glance, BBC