i just posted a great deal touching on the reality of the iraq war here. I would encourage you to read through it.
also, watch No End in Sight.
short answe: no. We went and screwed up an extremely screwed up place, which I can’t imagine is easy to do.
the war was built on what has been proven beyond debate falsified intelligence by a group of people that can either be considered conspirators or simply criminally negligent.
most of the pre-war fudged data was provided by Chalabi, who had his own political agenda and who has since been indicted for criminal wrongdoing on a massive scale. He was an exiled iraqi national who was poised to take over as PM of Iraq as soon as we deposed Saddam. A lot of the falsified intelligence came from his sources, and a lot of this data was considered extremely dubious by high ranking officials (most of whom were ignored or, in many cases, fired).
So basically from the start we embarked on a bogus journey with a lot of clandestine ulterior motives–motives we’re left to speculate on…
Granted, there is a positive humanitarian aspect, but even arm-chair level researching will immediately provid you with prove we didn’t care about the people or their well-being as a first-tier priority. We did not institute an interim government nor did we provide enough intitial ground troops to propperly secure Baghdad. Many of these failings were not just foreseeable but were actually addressed by various members of the administration. Again, these people were ignored or in some cases fired.
The people who were initially put in charge of the transitional occupation of Iraq (ORHA) had policies that would have made the nation stable and could have potentially prevented the entire insurgency. However, before they could do anything effective, Bremmer took over, dismantled ORHA and started the CPA. Most of these decisions involve Condi, Bremmer, Rumsfeld, Powell and Cheney. Even Bush was out of the loop on many matters.
Under Bremmer’s immediate control, several sweeping decisions were instituted that shoved Iraq into a quickly spiraling hell.
We did nothing to secure cultural heritages (such as the national library or national museum) nor did we do anything to stop the widespread and severe looting.
Pleas for US intervention went unheeded. Martial law was not instituted until things were an absurd mess way, way too late.
Bremmer’s edict to deBa’athicate Iraq virtually dismantled the entire infastructure of the nation. Teachers, Doctors, officials, municipal employees–all were rendered immediately unemployed.
And finally, we not only allowed Moqtada Al Sadr to seize power after we ousted Saddam, but have allowed him and his army to become a viable (and now legitimate) political entity who openly hates America as much as Saddam–if not more. He already is, and will continue to grow to be a bigger problem than Saddam ever was.
It is important to note that the immediate result of Saddam being removed from power was the sectarian war that broke out between the Shi’a and Sunni. Saddam was hated by the Shi’a as they were persecuted under his dictatorship. The second they were free of it, they turned violent against all the Sunni (who no longer had political protection).
My point is–it’s a civil conflict, a relious, ideological battle that America cannot win. Especially through force.
When you add up the entire cost of all that has happened–the loss of american troop lives, the lost of american contractors, the fact more Iraqi civilians were killed than military or paramilitary (something along the lines of 2/3rds all iraqi deaths were civilians. not civilian insurgents, but honest-to-goodness innocent bystanders), the loss of infastructure, the loss of cultural heritage (7000 years of artifacts were looted or destroyed), the financial cost here and abroad, the geopolitical strife, and the loss of America’s integrity on the world-scale—no.
not at all worth it.
Look how differently things could have been handled. Saddam was hated by the Shi’a majority. There’s basically no different polical climate in pre-war Iraq than in Egypt during their revolution last year, or Libya, or elsewhere.
Strategic strikes could have destroyed Saddam much the same as stricks on Gadaffi all without a quagmire of a groundwar.
If we wanted to honestly support the people of Iraq by helping them dispose of a horrible dictator, we could have done so in the same manner as Libya or Egypt or Somalia or Yemen.