On March 19th, 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq based on false claims of weapons of mass destruction. The invasion destabilized the region and led to Iraq’s economic collapse, sectarian resentment, to two insurgencies and the growth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which later morphed into ISIS. The resulting conflict took a heavy toll — 4,418 U.S. troops died during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and another 107 died during Operation Inherent Resolve to defeat ISIS, while Brown University’s Watson Institute estimates that between 275,000 to 306,000 Iraqi civilians were killed. No weapons of mass destruction were found.
Why were Congress and the American public so easily misled in the lead up to the 2003 invasion? Has anything changed since then that would make it less likely for this to happen again? What are the long-term consequences of this invasion? Why are U.S. troops still in Iraq, 20 years later? What is the legacy of the U.S. invasion in Iraq and what does a post-American Iraq look like?
Join us for a discussion of these questions and more with Marsin Alshamary, Assistant Professor at Boston College, Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow and Director of Research for Foreign Policy at Brookings Institution, and Steven Simon, Senior Research Analyst at the Quincy Institute and the Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow at the MIT Centre for International Studies. Adam Weinstein, Research Fellow in the Quincy Institute’s Middle East Program, will moderate.