US still dealing with aftermath of Iraq invasion 20 yrs later


How the Iraq War Continues to Impact US Policy in the Middle East

The United States still grapples with the consequences of the 2003 Iraq War, 20 years after then-President George W. Bush’s decision to remove Saddam Hussein and create a democratic regime. The aftermath of this invasion has left a power vacuum in the Middle East, which Iran has exploited to influence the region. Additionally, the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group has caused havoc and raised security concerns globally. This article examines the long-term effects of the Iraq War on US policy in the Middle East and discusses its ongoing implications.

Iran’s Influence
By removing Saddam Hussein, the United States inadvertently weakened the Sunni regime in Iraq and allowed Iran’s Shi’ite majority government to gain power. Consequently, Iran has extended its leverage throughout the Levant, especially in Syria, aiding Bashar al-Assad’s regime in maintaining power amid a Sunni uprising.

US Troops Presence in Iraq and Syria
The United States has kept a military presence in Iraq and Syria since the overthrow of Saddam’s regime. Former President Barack Obama promised to withdraw US troops from Iraq in 2011, but this withdrawal allowed ISIS to gain a foothold in the region. Consequently, former President Obama sent troops back to Iraq, where about 2,500 still remain today. Furthermore, around 900 troops are in Syria; both forces aim to combat ISIS militants and maintain security in the region.

The Cost of Wars
The financial cost of US involvement in the Iraq and Syria wars has been astronomical. According to the Costs of War project at Brown University, the wars have cost the United States $1.79 trillion to date. This amount includes spending by the Pentagon and the State Department and veterans’ care, as well as interest on debt financing the wars. Additionally, the projected cost of taking care of veterans through 2050 raises the total to $2.89 trillion.

Human Cost
The long-term cost of the wars in Iraq and Syria is not only financial, but also human life. The Costs of War project estimates that roughly 550,000 to 584,000 individuals, including civilians and military personnel, were killed as a direct result of these wars. However, this number does not solely account for deaths caused directly by war, but also death from diseases, displacement, or starvation, which came as an indirect effect.

Continued Debates over Iraq War
The Iraq War raised several questions about America’s willingness to act unilaterally and serve as a partner on the global stage. Some officials, such as John Bolton, believe that removing Saddam justified the cost. However, several other officials sharply disagree. The continued debate over the decision to withdraw troops still reflects the US’s inability to secure immunity for its forces.

The Iraq War has continued to impact US policy in the Middle East 20 years after it began. The decision to invade Iraq has destabilized the region, costing both the United States and Iraq greatly, and has led to several unforeseen consequences, such as Iran’s rise to power and ISIS. Withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011 created a power vacuum that has yet to be fully resolved, and the ongoing battles in Syria exacerbate this instability. It is clear that the legacy of the Iraq War continues to shape American foreign policy in the region.#U.S #grapples #forces #unleashed #Iraq #invasion #years #Reuters

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