Iraq to the future: How Trump’s Syria reversal reflects the unlearned lessons of America’s forever wars
In May 2003, just two months after the U.S. military invaded Iraq and ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, then-Presidential Envoy Paul Bremer and his senior advisor Walter Slocombe drafted the Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2, a diplomatic document that effectively disbanded the Iraqi Army.
The text was purposefully benign, according to Slocombe, because “There was no intact Iraqi force to ‘disband'” in the first place. For Slocombe and Bremer, the order was more a symbolic demolishment of Hussein’s legacy — a demonstration, in Bremer’s own words, “that neither Saddam nor his gang is coming back.”
Now, more than 15 years later, Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 (CPA Order 2, for short) is widely seen as one of the U.S.’s biggest blunders in Iraq, a hasty decision that led us right to the current “Forever War” predicament. And, with President Donald Trump’s surprise withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria on Monday, the lessons of the decree remain unheeded and unlearned.
The last remaining U.S. military forces drove across the Iraqi border per the Iraq and U.S. 2008 Security Agreement that required all U.S. service members to be out of the country by Dec. 31, 2011.
(U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
The U.S. on Monday announced the withdrawal of forces from northeast Syria in favor of a joint U.S.-Turkish “security mechanism” based on continued U.S. control over Syrian airspace. As my Task & Purpose colleague Jeff Schogol rightfully pointed out, the …read more
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