US invasion of Iraq marks 20 years; What lessons were learned?

Monique John Image
Monday, March 20, 2023
US-led invasion of Iraq marks 20 years
The move was to destroy weapons of mass destruction and remove Saddam Hussein from dictatorship.

It's been 20 years since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The March 20, 2003 invasion was in an effort to destroy weapons of mass destruction and remove Saddam Hussein from dictatorship.

Veteran Commander Jim Morris of Hope Mills says he is proud of his time served in Iraq.

"I feel like we brought them into the modern world a little bit there and just gave them some basic niceties that we here in this country enjoy all the time."

After the Iraq war ended in 2011, there's been a decline in public support for the US to be involved in international conflict.

RELATED | Timeline: 20 years since U.S invasion of Iraq

In 2018, 70 percent of Americans supported having an active role; by last year, that number dropped to 60 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.

"The impact of the (Iraq) war of any war," said Emmanuel Oritsejafor, the chair of Political Science Department at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

"It's the social destruction and the devastation...that comes with it. And suddenly we've been divided in a partisan way in our country, in terms of those who support the war and those who do not support the war."

Oritsejafor says military communities like those in and around Fort Bragg tend to be more supportive of US foreign involvement. Morris says he supports intervening in countries like Ukraine:

"Humanitarian wise, it's within our interest to help them out...I understand everybody's tired and there's a lot of other problems," Morris. "But the world's a better place because we stepped up to the plate, took the leadership role."

Still, Oritsejafor says the US had some hard-won lessons from its time in Iraq, pushing it to be more diplomatic and to ask smarter questions before invading new territory.

"What does it mean to go into conflict? What are the social economic implications for us, we want to ensure that such destruction and such gap that would lead to massive destruction doesn't take place. That we are better and informed by intel in terms of: do we really need to go in here? Is there a better way to approach the conflict?"


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