Lessons from the Iraq War and the Way Forward

Paper Type:  Critical thinking
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1033 Words
Date:  2022-06-19


The memo highlights ten lessons learned from the battle and with Iraq. Further, it outlines the implication of the latter lessons and provides suggestions to Washington institutions and existing power holders. Notably, the United States would have saved the Middle East a great deal of suffering had they acted with more caution and rigor in 2003 (Fujisaki 40). Similarly, the mission of the Iraq war, initiated in 2003, to free Iraq from terror, enhance its security and to reconstruct the country was a failure since the battle resulted in more problems than it resolved. The de-baathification policy caused the collapse of the Iraq army and the withdrawal from Iraq was premature (Thakur 34). As such, I urge the current Trump administration to heed the lessons from the battle and to apply the experience gained in handling Iran, as a similar confrontation with Iran would mean more troubles for the Middle East and the United States.

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Accordingly, the most important lesson from the war is that the United States did not win the war, as it did not achieve its purpose for the war (Walt 4). Another lesson is that it is easy to engage the United States in a war indicated by the few individuals, mainly neoconservatives that instigated the war (Walt 4). Similarly, from the war, it was clear that the U.S. lands in big trouble if the leadership and the public fail to have open debates about issues. Likewise, the initiators of the war overrated the secularism and the behavior of the middle class in Iraq. Equally, the United States blundered by listening to the claims of Iraqis who were in exile and acting on their account. Subsequently, improvising an occupation in a foreign government is harder than U.S. officials thought before the war. Correspondingly, it is not unusual for adversaries to act to defend their interests using undesirable methods, a lesson learned from the aftermath of the downfall of the Baathist regime (Solana 2). Moreover, counterinsurgency combat is unpleasant and inevitably results in war delinquencies, atrocities and different forms of exploitation. Additionally, the Iraq war taught us that better planning is not the solution to war, but rather it is the decision makers during a battle that matter. Lastly, the U.S. should revise its grand strategy and not just the methods.

The latter lessons imply that the U.S. should not engage in such battles in future, as it is unclear if any approaches would have led to better outcomes at an acceptable cost. Markedly, the U.S. army has numerous virtues, but running in other nations is not among them (The Economist 7). Our army is capital intensive and places a premium on firepower. Correspondingly, the history of the U.S. has made the nation less sensitive to issues regarding the enduring power, ethnicity, nationalism and other native forces. Successively, the United States is a secure country, as such, it is impossible to maintain public support for extensive and oppressive battles of occupation (Schmidt 27). Respectively, the undesirable outcomes of the Iraq war were not because of the lack of a proper plan, as there were extensive preparations, occupation and reconstruction plans before the war, but the problem was the actions of the decision makers. Moreover, the U.S. went into the war unprepared since there were no serious debates before the Iraq battle, considering the high stakes involved in the initiation of the war, lack of thoughtfulness was a bipartisan failure. As such, the United States did not win the war since only a single group, neoconservatives, made crucial decisions in the war (Kahl 5). Consequently, it is important for U.S. administrations to involve the public and stakeholders before engaging in wars of occupation.

Considering the lessons learned from the Iraq war and its implications for the United States, I would recommend the current Trump government. Specifically, the inbound secretary of the state, Mike Pompeo, to regard the latter lessons and apply the acquired knowledge in addressing the escalating Iran situation. Notably, there are rising tensions between the United States and Iran emanating from Iran's expanding regional power, which is a result of America's faults in Iraq, beginning with the neglect of international relations (Porter 6). Consequently, Trumps administration should avoid the option of warfare (Stott 8). Applying a similar violent approach on Iran would only achieve another war that would lead to a generation of more turmoil in the Middle East and advanced effects on the U.S.


In conclusion, it is evident from the aftermath of the Iraq battle that war only results in undesirable effects to both parties involved in the conflict and that it easy to engage the U.S. in a war. Mainly, one of the detrimental impacts of a conflict is when the opponents threaten national security as in the case of the 9. 11 bombing (Times 2). Although the security and defense departments of the U.S. are capable, addressing the Iran situation using violent means may put the nation's security at stake leading to controversies among the public and different stakeholders (Fallows 5). Subsequently, affecting the stability of the country, as such, Trump's government should implement non-violent methods in dealing with Iran and correcting the negative effects of the Iraq war as a way of controlling Iran.

Works Cited

-. "Top 10 Lessons of the Iraq War." Foreign Policy. 20 March 2012.

Fallows, James. "The Right and Wrong Questions About the Iraq War." The Atlantic. 19 May 2015.

Fujisaki, Ichiro. "The Trump Administration-Four Myths-." Asia-Pacific Review 24.2 (2017): 37-43.

Kahl, Colin and Jon Wolfsthal. "John Bolton Is a National Security Threat." Foreign Policy 23 March 2018.

Porter, Gareth. "The Untold Story of John Bolton's Campaign for War with Iran." The American Conservative 22 3 2018.

Schmidt, Brian C. and Michael C. Williams. "The Bush Doctrine and the Iraq War: Neoconservatives Versus Realists." Security Studies. 14 June 2008.

Solana, Javier. "Lessons from the Iraq War after 15 Years." Project Syndicate. 22 March 2018.

Stott, Lewis. "The Iraq Invasion: The Neoconservative Perspective." E-International Relations Students. 17 September 2015.

Thakur, Ramesh. The United Nations, peace and security: from collective security to the responsibility to protect. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

The Economist. The Decision to Invade Iraq: History's Second Draft. 1 October 2010.

Times, The New York. Analysis: Britain's Iraq War Inquiry. 6 July 2016.

Walt, Stephen M. "How to Start a War in 5 Easy Steps." Foreign Policy 2 4 2018.

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Lessons from the Iraq War and the Way Forward. (2022, Jun 19). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/lessons-from-the-iraq-war-and-the-way-forward

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