19 Years After the Invasion: A Reflection on the U.S. Military Presence in Iraq
Nineteen years ago the Bush administration launched the invasion of Iraq under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction which was later proven false. While the invasion of Iraq removed Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship from power, it also unleashed an era of sectarian violence, extremism, and abuses.
The U.S. war in Iraq is now synonymous with an ill-planned interventionism, a boondoggle. 4,418 U.S. service members were killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and another 107 in Operation Inherent Resolve. Approximately another thousand U.S. service members lost their lives in non-hostile incidents while supporting U.S. military actions in Iraq. Between 184,382 to 207,156 Iraqis were killed throughout the conflict. Incidents such as the Haditha massacre, in which U.S. Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib tarnished the reputation of the U.S. military. De-Baathification, perceived sectarian marginalization, and fighting in al-Anbar province later contributed to the rise of ISIS.
Nearly two decades later, U.S. troops remain in Iraq under attenuated Congressional authorizations. As we look back on the past nineteen years with the gift of hindsight, we should consider the ways in which the military-industrial complex and foreign policy establishment influenced our continued occupation. And more importantly, hear from those directly affected by this conflict: veterans, military families, and Iraqi civilians.
Join us for a panel discussion with International Activist Dina Al Bayati, who lived through the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, Brandi Jones, Marine spouse and Organizing Director of the Secure Families Initiative, and Iraq war veterans: Dan Caldwell, a former Marine who now serves as Vice President of Foreign Policy for Stand Together, Joanna Sweatt, a former Marine who now serves as National Field Manager for Common Defense, and U.S. Army veteran Naveed Shah, Political Director of Common Defense. Quincy Institute Research Fellow Adam Weinstein will moderate.