20 years later, the Iraq War remains the biggest foreign policy disaster of our generation, one that took thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Have we fully learned the lessons from this failed war of aggression, or are we doomed to repeat it? 🧵
We still have not had full accountability for the war crimes perpetrated, or for those responsible for cheerleading the war. The perpetrators of this war—George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have faced no accountability for war crimes and continue to be accepted in Washington society.
Figures like John Bolton and Elliot Abrams continue to receive appointments to senior national security roles in our government. Many many more continue to receive some of the largest platforms in media.
Many of the same people so eager to push for war now oppose taking care of the veterans who served in that war—fighting tooth and nail against legislation like the PACT Act.
But most concerning, our foreign policy discourse remains fundamentally pro-war.
Think tanks (often the same ones who cheerled the Iraq War) outflank each other to justify armed conflict and derail diplomacy with adversaries like Iran.
Instead of seeing China as a geopolitical challenge to be managed, politicians gin up jingoistic sentiment and nationalism to see who can be the most “anti-China.”
Our spending on Pentagon waste and new weapons continues to rise uncontrollably—with weapons contractors wielding more lobbying power than ever in Washington.
Our national media too often treat war as a game—a way to juice ratings as fewer Americans turn into TV news—rather than the most horrific state of conditions to be avoided at all costs.
Claims from senior national security officials are reported as fact, even when no evidence for those claims is presented.
Much like the lost Iraqi lives lost were often ignored 20 years ago, we continue to ignore the pain and suffering of Black and Brown people in places like Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Haiti and more.
To truly be able to avoid another Iraq, we need a national reckoning with how we got into it the first place—
The think tanks and lobbyists who pushed for it out of self-interest, the extremist ideologues who see war—and US domination—as part of the natural order, and the media who credulously amplify these views for ratings.
We need accountability for those who got us into this war. But most of all we need to see all of our lives connected as part of the human fabric—to understand that the parent who loses a child in war could be us, that the child who is displaced could be our child.