The Iraq War: 10 Years Later

March 1, 2013 • Volume 23, Issue 9
Was the war worth the cost in money and lives?
By Peter Katel


President George W. Bush (AFP/Getty Images/Stephen Jaffe)
Six weeks after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln beneath a banner reading “Mission Accomplished” and told the crew, “The tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free.” The war lasted eight more years and cost the lives of some 122,000 Iraqis and nearly 4,500 U.S. military personnel. The banner, suggested and hung by the crew, was printed by the White House. (AFP/Getty Images/Stephen Jaffe)

As the world marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the war is fast fading from the memories of many Americans. After more than eight years of combat, the U.S. and Iraqi governments couldn't come to terms on keeping U.S. combat troops in the country. They were withdrawn at the end of 2011 except for a small contingent involved in training Iraqi forces. But Iraq remains mired in sectarian and religious conflict. In the United States, debates about the justification for the invasion have given way to arguments about whether Iraq is a budding democracy — an objective of the George W. Bush administration — or a new dictatorship. That dispute intersects with the question of whether U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will spur the country to solve its own problems or push it into friendlier relations with its anti-American neighbor, Iran.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 01, 2013  The Iraq War: 10 Years Later
Apr. 25, 2008  Cost of the Iraq War
Feb. 23, 2007  New Strategy in Iraq
Oct. 21, 2005  War in Iraq
Jul. 25, 2003  Rebuilding Iraq
Oct. 04, 2002  Confronting Iraq
Mar. 15, 1991  Calculating the Cost of the Gulf War
Nov. 16, 1990  Iraq and Beyond: Post-Cold War Military Choices
Aug. 22, 1980  Iraq's New Image
Iraq War