Tomorrow 20 years ago we the Iraq War began.

Smoke covers the presidential palace compound in Baghdad 21 March 2003 during a massive US-led air raid on the Iraqi capital. Smoke billowed from a number of targeted sites, including one of President Saddam Hussein’s palaces, an AFP correspondent said.

In 2003 we were deployed in Afghanistan for to dispose of Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban. When we also decided to invade Iraq on the questionable pretext the Saddam and Osama had been in correspondence and there was a possible link between them and 9/11.

We now know that it wasn’t the case. Some scant communication but nothing more. We then decided that we needed to eliminate their mass weapons of destruction. We found out that there wasn’t much and wouldn’t be for several years if they were successful. All of this in hindsight but at the same time I wonder how it wasn’t caught sooner when we went in.

I was a young Airman at the time and believed that we were doing the right thing. Not really intertwined into the details of why we were invading to being with. The year before I was in Kyrgyzstan in support of the operations that were going on in Afghanistan. Now, a year later I was in Qatar in support of this “liberation” or “invasion” depending on how you felt looking at it.

WASHINGTON – MARCH 19: U.S. President George W. Bush addresses the nation March 19, 2003 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Bush announced that the U.S. military struck at “targets of opportunity” in Iraq March 19, 2003 in Washington, DC

I remember watching Pres. Bush explaining what was going to happen if Saddam didn’t comply, and when he announced we were going in. I also remember him flying in a plane and explaining how the operations were over with this “Mission accomplished” banner hanging behind him later that April. I also remember the insurgency rising and violence escalating probably not seen to US troops since Vietnam.

A U.S. soldier watches as a statue of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad April 9, 2003. U.S. troops pulled down a 20-foot (six metre) high statue of President Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad on Wednesday and Iraqis danced on it in contempt for the man who ruled them with an iron grip for 24 years. In scenes reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Iraqis earlier took a sledgehammer to the marble plinth under the statue of Saddam. Youths had placed a noose around the statue’s neck and attached the rope to a U.S. armoured recovery vehicle.

We thought it would work out. Little did we know that we were wrong, dead wrong. This war would drag on for years. It would kill an estimated 500K to 1 Mil civilians. Over 4000 Us troops would also die. 32K Us soldiers were injured, and their lives would never be the same. It would take well over a decade before Iraq would have any kind of stability. The Anbar awakening, and US surge that helped it paved the way for some kind of stable Iraq. Yet I find myself sometimes wondering. Was it worth it? Did we do the right thing going in. Were steps that would have been taken to avoid it or was it right to go in, but we handled in in the most ignorant way.

These questions keep popping in my head as each year goes by in regard to this war. Regardless, it happened and whether the Iraqi’s are better off for it, that is something for historians to decide in the next decades. Yes, the Iraqis have freedom, and yes, their economy is continuing to expand. However, the flaws of our politics and capitalism have also been passed on to them as well.

We still have a troop presence in Iraq. About 2,500 that were left for smaller operations and embassy protections. The Iraqis have been receptive to it but also have reason to handle our intentions and security with skeptism.

Below, I posted some links that offer what is going on in Iraq and what’s changed. I also posted some links about us as country looking back on what happened.

NPR offered a good read

https://www.npr.org/2023/03/19/1164253438/iraq-war-anniversary-american-invasion-takeaways

AP news

https://apnews.com/article/iraq-war-invasion-anniversary-saddam-hussein-47b558083aad51d96106bc72342c49ea

Council of Foriegn relations

https://www.cfr.org/article/twenty-years-after-war-oust-saddam-iraq-shaky-democracy

https://www.axios.com/2023/03/18/iraq-invasion-anniversary-american-poll-bush-mistake

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2023/03/19/how-war-iraq-changed-military-women.html

Published by My life so far

Retired from the Air Force 3 years ago after a successful 20 year career. Have been enjoying this new adventure I am on

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