U.S. Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conduct a class on squad movements and assaults at Besmaya Range Complex, Iraq, April 7, 2015. Members of the 2-505th PIR are conducting a variety of training exercises with the 16th Division in order to build the Iraqi army’s capacity to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Photo by Sgt. Deja Borden, CJTF-OIR Public Affairs)

Why Did the USA Invade and Occupy Iraq 20 Years Ago and What are the Iraq War’s Legacies Today?

It was twenty years ago this month that the George W Bush administration began its ill-fated invasion and occupation of Iraq. The ostensible justification for this war of choice was that the Iraqi regime had weapons of mass destruction that it might someday use against the United States. This premise proved to be false and today the Iraq war is widely regarded to have been a massive strategic blunder. It resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 American service members and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

I’m joined today by journalist Spencer Ackerman. In our conversation we ask the question, now with 20 years of hindsight, “why did the US launch this war?” We also discuss the many lasting legacies of this decision on US foreign policy and international relations today?

Spencer Ackerman is a foreign policy columnist for The Nation the writes the newsletter Forever Wars. He is the author of Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, now out in paperback. 

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