March 20, 2023

Twenty Years Later, the U.S. Military Is Still Lost in Iraq

March 20 marks the 20-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Over the coming days and weeks, much ink will likely be spilled to reflect on the implications of the invasion. Some writers will reflect on their personal accounts of the war, how it shaped their lives or cost the lives of those they loved. Others will undoubtedly reflect on the policy decision to invade Iraq, likely considerations about the faulty, politicized intelligence that prompted the invasion, the opportunities lost, and the fortunes made. This article, however, is none of those. This is a flashing red warning: 20 years after the invasion, the United States is strategically adrift in Iraq.

Having done little to enable the Iraqi security forces to sustain their own capabilities, the Biden administration is setting the conditions for another strategic failure in Iraq.

In a speech last month at the Atlantic Council, National Security Council Middle East Coordinator Brett McGurk unveiled the “Biden doctrine” of the Middle East. The speech—an articulation of the president’s policy vision for the Middle East—made no meaningful mention of Iraq. McGurk had nothing to say about the approximately 2,500 U.S. troops still deployed in the country, nor did he have any words elucidating a vision for the future of the U.S.-Iraq relationship. McGurk also neglected to mention Syria except to say that the United States was supporting the victims of the earthquake with humanitarian aid. The Islamic State? Not referenced once.

Read the full article from Lawfare.

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