AirTalk for March 19, 2013

'Operation Iraqi Freedom' a decade later

IRAQ-UNREST

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Smoke billows from the scene of a bomb attack in Baghdad, on March 14, 2013. A coordinated string of bombings and brazen assault on a ministry near Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone killed 18 people, in the Iraqi capital's deadliest violence this month.

Ten years ago today, the U.S. military and the so-called coalition of the willing unleashed a "shock and awe" bombardment on Iraq. While Saddam Hussein fell from power quickly, the invasion dragged on far longer and cost more lives than had been estimated.

A new study from Brown University puts the civilian death toll at 134,000; the deaths of U.S. military and contractors at 8,000 minimum; and the cost to U.S. taxpayers (before interest) at $2.2 trillion. Polling on American opinions of the war shows a range of opinions. A majority of Americans say the war was not worth the effort and cost, but a smaller majority go so far as to call the war a mistake.

On the ground in Baghdad, political leadership is unstable still. As Christian Science Monitor reports, at the fortified Green Zone that used to be the heart of U.S. operations, concrete walls are being erected once again to protect the Iraqi parliament. Sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni result in regular bombings and bloodshed, but the country has not split as some had warned.

What reflections do you have on the 10th anniversary? Was it worth it? Was it a mistake? How has it influenced U.S. foreign policy at present?

Guest:
Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief, The New York Times


blog comments powered by Disqus