Re "Iran appears the victor in postwar Iraq," March 29
In 1991, the first President Bush, a decorated World War II combat veteran, was content to simply drive Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait. Iraq was left militarily capable of opposing its longtime nemesis, Iran.
A decade later, the second President Bush, who had avoided military service outside the U.S. during the Vietnam War, justified his full-scale invasion of Iraq using false pretenses, toppling the ruling regime. Iraq remains eviscerated.
Aside from regional empowerment of Iran, the second Iraq war's costs proved almost incalculable in terms of lives lost and treasury depleted. Decisions to initiate armed conflict should be entrusted only to those who've witnessed war's unthinkable horrors and long-term consequences.
The Times' article on postwar Iraq states tersely, "Hussein is dead."
After perhaps the worst foreign policy decision in American history that led to about 4,500 American deaths, more than 100,000 Iraqi deaths and more than $1 trillion spent by the U.S., we did bring down the tyrant. But a quasi-tyrant, Nouri Maliki, has arisen; he favors Iran and flouts American interests.
The catastrophe of the Iraq war reminds me of Athens' 5th-century B.C. Sicilian Expedition, a war that mortally wounded the great city-state. May we learn lessons from our massive misadventure, and may the president, Congress, the people and the media resist in the future another rush to war.
Benjamin J. Hubbard
A majority Shiite country in a region of the world dominated by religious conflict, freed from the tyranny of a Sunni tyrant by a predominantly Christian outsider and led to democratic majority rule, turns to the powerful Shiite nation next door for guidance.
Who could have foreseen that?
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