Six years, four thousand lives and hundreds of billions of dollars later, we seem at last to have stabilized Iraq. This weekend’s elections occurred peacefully, and the US goal of an Iraq that does not threaten its neighbors or its people now looks within reach. Yet we all have to be haunted by the question: Did it have to take so long and cost so much?
Inspector General Stuart Bowen’s damning study strongly suggests the answer: No.
Oh dear. I already fear where this is going: now that we know what mistakes not to make, next time we can avoid them!
This is not the lesson I was hoping for. When it comes to the Middle East, the lesson I was hoping for was: don't get any of it on you.