January 30, 2024

Deadly attack on U.S. troops highlights an open-ended military mission

Source: The Washington Post

Journalists: Missy Ryan, Louisa Loveluck

The slow pace of change in America’s military operation in Iraq is due to, in part, “a degree of malaise as well as a cultural and political risk aversion that is comfortable for the Iraqis and for us,” said Jonathan Lord, director of the Middle East Security program at the Center for a New American Security.

“But this is how you end up getting 20-year missions in foreign countries that ultimately don’t evolve with the conditions, then politics that demand that the mission end, even when you don’t have lasting, sustainable solutions,” he said.

When the United States announced a formal end to combat missions in Iraq in 2021, Western and Iraqi officials described the move as more about political optics than changing realities on the ground. Last week, the Biden administration announced that it was restarting talks with Iraqi counterparts over the future of U.S. troops there, marking what appeared to be the most serious attempt of his presidency to rethink the American military footprint in the region.

Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.


  • Jonathan Lord

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Jonathan Lord is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security program at CNAS. Prior to joining CNAS, Lord served as a professional staff member for the House Arme...