The 8 Year Battle

by: Jordan Houser & Caleb Young

Definition of the Iraq War

A protracted military conflict in Iraq that began in 2003 with an attack by a coalition of forces led by the United States and that resulted in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. US combat troops were withdrawn in 2010.

The ultimate What-if

Every shooting game player 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?

Article From:

Here is a Pre-War editorial

March 14, 2003

In a post- 9/11 world, the president argues, things are different. The nation must protect itself. Yes. So the question becomes, would an invasion of Iraq make the United States and the world safer? If the world community unites to do it, yes. But a U.S.-led invasion, without sanction from the United Nations, would make this nation and the world at large more dangerous. It is well established that Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. Among other things, Iraq still has tons of material that can be made into biological weapons like anthrax and into chemical weapons like mustard gas. It clearly is in the world's interest to disarm this murderous tyrant. The Security Council, riven by both legitimate concerns about the U.S. use of power and its own petty political games played for domestic consumption in France, Germany, Russia and China, must not freeze in a critical moment.... But the president's next step — in effect, "if the U.N. doesn't do it, right now, the United States will" -- is where he loses us and, we suspect, many other Americans. The Bush administration's months of attempts to justify quick military action against Iraq have been confusing and unfocused.... The administration tried mightily, and failed, to show a connection between Hussein and the 9/11 perpetrators, Al Qaeda. Had there been real evidence that Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, Americans would have lined up in support of retaliation.... Opposition to immediate war cuts across religious lines, but it is especially strong among Muslims, some of whom see an attack on Iraq as a renewal of the Christian crusades against Islam. Throughout the Middle East, a postwar occupation of Iraq would become part of the myth of an American empire come to wreak havoc on the Muslims. This refueled resentment would not make the world safer. It would not make the streets at home safer. The cost of war would be high, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars. Add on costs to occupy Iraq while rebuilding it and the price tag would be higher still.... As the U.S. places a laser focus on Iraq, other serious challenges await. North Korea is believed to have one or two nuclear bombs and the intention of making more. It exports missiles to other countries.... And recent reports suggest that Iran too is making advances in its nuclear weapons program. All of these problems require a response, and this nation cannot muscle its way out of all of its international disputes.
Iran - Iraq War | 3 Minute History

What makes it different from the other wars

Three things distinguish the Iran-Iraq War. First, it was inordinately protracted, lasting longer than either world war, essentially because Iran did not want to end it, while Iraq could not. Second, it was sharply asymmetrical in the means employed by each side, because though both sides exported oil and purchased military imports throughout, Iraq was further subsidized and supported by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, allowing it to acquire advanced weapons and expertise on a much larger scale than Iran. Third, it included three modes of warfare absent in all previous wars since 1945: indiscriminate ballistic-missile attacks on cities by both sides, but mostly by Iraq; the extensive use of chemical weapons (mostly by Iraq); and some 520 attacks on third-country oil tankers in the Persian Gulf-for which Iraq employed mostly manned aircraft with antishipping missiles against tankers lifting oil from Iran’s terminals, while Iran used mines, gunboats, shore-launched missiles, and helicopters against tankers lifting oil from the terminals of Iraq’s Arab backers.

Article From:

Also, here's a post-war editorial

March 19, 2013

Ten years after it began, the Iraq war still haunts the United States in the nearly 4,500 troops who died there; the more than 30,000 American wounded who have come home; the more than $2 trillion spent on combat operations and reconstruction, which inflated the deficit; and in the lessons learned about the limits of American leadership and power.

It haunts Iraq too, where the total number of casualties is believed to have surpassed 100,000 but has never been officially determined; and where one strongman was traded for another, albeit under a more pluralistic system with a democratic veneer. The country is increasingly influenced by Iran and buffeted by the regional turmoil caused by the Arab Spring.In 2003, President George W. Bush and Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, used the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to wage pre-emptive war against Saddam Hussein and a nuclear arsenal that did not exist. They promised a “free and peaceful Iraq” that would be a model of democracy and stability in the Arab world. While no one laments Saddam’s passing and violence is down from peak war levels, the country is fragile, with grave tensions between Sunnis and Shiites and Arabs and Kurds that could yet erupt into civil war or tear the state apart.

A State Department travel warning last month described Iraq as dangerous, with numerous insurgents, including Al Qaeda in Iraq, still active, and said Americans were “at risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence.” On Tuesday, a wave of car bombings and other attacks in Baghdad killed more than 50 people and wounded nearly 200.

Yet none of the Bush administration’s war architects have been called to account for their mistakes, and even now, many are invited to speak on policy issues as if they were not responsible for one of the worst strategic blunders in American foreign policy. In a video posted recently by the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Mr. Wolfowitz said he still believed the war was the right thing to do. Will he and his partners ever have the humility to admit that it was wrong to prosecute this war?

President Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start and has been single-minded about ending it, withdrawing the last combat troops in 2011. American influence in Iraq has greatly declined since then and Mr. Obama’s attention, like that of most Americans, has shifted to other priorities. Iraqis are responsible for their own future. But the country is a front line in the conflict between moderate Islam and Al Qaeda, not to mention its role as an oil producer. It requires more sustained American involvement than we have recently seen.

Iraq is a reminder of the need for political leaders to ask the right questions before allowing military action and to listen honestly rather than acting on ideological or political impulses. Mr. Bush led the war, but Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress endorsed it. Iraq also shows the limits of America’s influence in regions where sectarian enmity remains strong and where democracy has no real history.

That experience is informing American policy judgments more generally. It has affected decisions about Syria, where President Obama has been right to move cautiously. For a long time the Syrian opposition was divided, and it was hard to know which group, if any, deserved help. It also made sense not to rush into another costly war in another Arab country that could fuel new anti-American animosities and embroil the United States for another decade.

But with the Syrian Conflict its third year, the fighting has already spilled over the borders, destabilizing its neighbors, even as Al Qaeda-affiliated rebels play a bigger role. The reasons for opposing direct American involvement in Syria remain strong, but the United States needs to calibrate its policies continually and should not allow the Iraq experience to paralyze its response to different circumstances.

The lessons of Iraq, however, seem to fade when it comes to Iran. Many of the conservatives who strongly supported the charge into Iraq are fanning calls for United States military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. President Obama has also been threatening “all options” if negotiations to curb Iran’s ambitions are not successful, and many lawmakers seem ready to take action against Iran soon.

The Iraq war was unnecessary, costly and damaging on every level. It was based on faulty intelligence manipulated for ideological reasons. The terrible human and economic costs over the past 10 years show why that must never happen again.

Lies that launched a war

Controversial War

Unlike the common consent reached in the Persian Gulf War no broad coalition was assembled to remove Ṣaddām and his Baʿth Party from power. Although some European leaders voiced their conditional support for the war and none regretted the end of the violent Baʿthist regime, public opinion in Europe and the Middle East was overwhelmingly against the war. Many in the Middle East saw it as a new brand of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic imperialism, and most Arab leaders decried the occupation of a fellow Arab country by foreign troops. Reaction to the war was mixed in the United States. Though several antiwar protests occurred in American cities in the lead-up to the invasion, many opinion polls showed considerable support for military action against Iraq before and during the war. Surprisingly, American opinions on the war sometimes crossed traditional party lines and doctrinal affiliation, with many to the right of the avowedly conservative Bush seeing the war as an act of reckless internationalism and some to the political left—appalled by the Baʿthist regime’s brutal human rights violations and its consistent aggression—giving grudging support to military action.

Link to article-

Our opinion on the time period

I think the Iraq war was very emotional for some families to lose there members so quickly. The reason the Iraq war was emotional, the American soldiers losing their lives for their country. Also, it effected the economy the U.S spent up to 2 trillion dollars on combat operations, and it resulted in a loss. So that made Americans feel like all their tax dollars went to waste and the deaths were for nothing. That was our opinion on the iraq war.

- Jordan and Caleb