After 18 Disastrous Years, the U.S. Should Withdraw All Troops From Iraq
In 2003, George W. Bush famously declared victory in Iraq, just as the war was about to turn into a deadly and chaotic quagmire. Eighteen years later, an estimated half a million Iraqis and 6,840 U.S troops have perished in the conflict.
Today, the U.S. has 2,500 troops in Iraq, down from a peak of 168,000 in 2007. In July, the government claimed that American troops will no longer engage in combat; instead, they’ll only train and assist Iraqi security forces in their fight against ISIS.
This is just diplomatic theater. Iraq’s Parliament, which has voted for the U.S. to leave the country, points out that renaming combat troops “trainers and advisers” is deceptive. It also won’t prevent the conflict from once again escalating into a cycle of violence and retaliation. The U.S. military is still engaging in airstrikes, and in April, after militias attacked five U.S. facilities, the Biden administration made good on its promise to hit back.
The U.S. should withdraw all troops from Iraq and finally end this disastrous war. Our presence in the country has done the opposite of its stated goal of providing safety and security in the region.
I was born in Iraq and lived through Saddam’s regime, Operation Desert Storm, U.S. sanctions, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the Iraqi Civil War. I witnessed firsthand how U.S. actions that favored one group inevitably angered another, which is why the war has been an endless game of whack-a-mole.
In 2003, L. Paul Bremer, who was head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, disbanded the Iraqi army, which was the most disastrous decision in the course of the conflict. The 25-person Interim Governing Council Bremer created was designed to represent the diversity of Iraq’s population, but all it did was augment the complexity of Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups; the result was inflamed sectarian tensions, which led to a deadly civil war.
The region surrounding Iraq is even more c
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